It is exactly one year since the nuclear deal was signed with Iran.
The ink had barely dried on the agreement on July 14, 2015, before it was being trumpeted as President Barack Obama's big foreign policy breakthrough, guaranteed to be the highlight of his rather lackluster presidency. But the deal was deeply flawed. Obama's spin-doctors mounted an impressive and sophisticated campaign to persuade the world that his administration had struck a groundbreaking pact with the so-called 'moderate' Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
We now know that Rouhani is far from moderate. More than 2,500 people have been executed during the three years he has been in office. Under his leadership Iran has the highest per capita rate of executions of any country in the world.
The smiling Rouhani justifies such barbarity by saying that the death penalty is God's judgment on offenders. Nevertheless juveniles and women are regularly hanged, often in public and medieval punishments such as amputations, eye gouging, lashing and stoning to death are commonplace.
While Rouhani smiles, waves of mass judicial killings are ruthlessly carried out, designed to create an atmosphere of fear in a population increasingly dismayed at rising food and fuel costs, while their corrupt and fundamentalist rulers pour billions into brutal foreign wars. There have been repeated bread riots and mass demonstrations by schoolteachers and others, which have caused panic amongst the ruling mullahs, leading to further savage crackdowns. But none of this seems to attract any criticism from the West. There was not a single mention of human rights during the protracted nuclear talks.
Obama convinced the world that he had struck a good deal with the "trustworthy and moderate" Rouhani. In fact the opposite is true. It was a terrible deal, which far from curtailing Iran's expansionist agenda has significantly strengthened its position in the Middle East.
Iran's efforts to build a nuclear weapon have only been slowed down. Under the terms of the deal, inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency are only permitted to visit Iran's declared nuclear sites. Military bases are off limits and yet according to Western Intelligence, almost all of the nuclear activity is taking place on these military sites.
In addition, important aspects of the deal, such as restrictions on uranium enrichment and the production of heavy water, end after 10, 15 and 20 years.
The deal was also horribly one-sided, lifting sanctions and releasing more than $150 billion in frozen assets. These unfrozen assets do not include the hundreds of billions of dollars that Iran will now earn due to the ending of economic sanctions. This is a windfall for a regime whose biggest export is terror; a regime which funds Hezbollah in Lebanon, President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the Houthi rebels in Yemen and the brutal Shiite militias in Iraq. Even John Kerry has admitted that some of these newfound resources may go toward funding Iran's proxy wars in the region.
Also, under the deal the U.N. arms embargo ends in five years and ballistic missile restrictions are lifted in eight years, allowing the regime to upgrade its conventional weapons through imports from foreign suppliers and enabling it to arm its foreign allies and proxies.
The impact of sanctions on Iran, coupled with the recent collapse in oil revenues, had crippled the theocratic regime. Welfare handouts were being savagely cut, food prices were rising continually; the black market was burgeoning. The regime was teetering on the brink of collapse and the nuclear pact threw them a vital lifeline. Obama's desperate bid to secure a legacy agreement closed his eyes to all the danger signs. By signing the agreement with Iran, the P5 + 1 nations missed a unique opportunity to topple a rogue regime and restore peace and stability to the region.
Instead of demanding an end to medieval torture, executions, the abuse of women and the export of terrorism, America and Europe were jumping at the chance to do business with the fascist theocratic regime. Already Boeing has signed a $25 billion deal to supply Iran with 100 aircraft. Money clearly trumps human rights.
By investing on Iran, the West is committing a dual mistake. It will boost a terrorist regime eager to export terrorism and fundamentalism, while no prospect for financial benefits exists.
The economy remains in the hands of the Revolutionary Guards. Every major company trading with Iran risks having its money funneled to the regional wars and could face fines and punishments by the U.S. treasury.
One year on from the signing of the nuclear deal there is no cause for celebration. Although the deal may have postponed Iran's ability to produce a nuclear bomb, the world is not a safer place.
Iranian expansionism continues apace and the 80 million Iranian citizens who believed the ending of sanctions would offer a glimmer of hope for a better future have had their hopes sorely dashed. July 14 is perhaps not a very happy birthday!
Struan Stevenson is president of the European Iraqi Freedom Association and served in the European Parliament from 1999 to 2014, where he was president of the delegation for relations with Iraq from 2009 to 2014.