U.S. President Donald Trump (L) has lunch with French President Emmanuel Macron on the first day of the annual G7 Summit at the Hotel du Palais in Biarritz, France on August 24. Pool Photo by Ludovic Marin/EPA-EFE
Sept. 9 (UPI) -- French President Emmanuel Macron has been a primary critic of U.S. President Donald Trump's aggressive policy against the Iranian regime, claiming that it will ultimately lead to war.
Macron is one of the leading European Union appeasers of the religious fascist dictatorship in Iran. He has tried desperately to find ways of overcoming U.S. sanctions, which have crippled the Iranian economy. The French president was the mastermind behind the failed sanctions-busting policy involving France, Germany and the United Kingdom, referred to as an "Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges," which was designed to allow EU businesses to bypass dealing directly with Iran by operating a kind of barter system. The flagship policy was supposed to enable exports to and imports from Iran to be channeled through Instex, thus neatly side-stepping U.S. sanctions. It didn't work.
In June 2018, an Iranian 'diplomat' from its embassy in Vienna was arrested in Bavaria on terror charges. Assadollah Assadi had allegedly handed over 500 gms of high explosives and a detonator to an Iranian couple from Antwerp, Belgium. He allegedly ordered them to drive to Paris and detonate the bomb at a major rally organized by the National Council for Resistance in Iran and the MEK and attended by over 100,000 people, including such prominent politicians as Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich and Bill Richardson.
A combined operation by the German, French and Belgian intelligence services led to the arrest of Assadi and three other conspirators, all of whom are now in prison in Belgium, awaiting trial on charges of terrorism. Initially, Macron tried to hide this information from the media, terrified that it would upset the mullahs in Tehran. But when news of the bomb plot on French soil leaked, Macron quickly tried to place the blame on so-called "hard-line" factions inside the Iranian regime, who he said are keen to undermine President Hassan Rouhani.
Macron's risible attempts to portray Rouhani as some sort of "moderate" and to let the mullahs off the hook, backfired spectacularly when France's foreign ministry said on Oct. 2 that there was no doubt the Iranian intelligence ministry was behind the June plot and exposed Assadi as a senior intelligence agent.
Indeed, there can be little doubt that Rouhani and his foreign minister Javad Zarif, had approved the operation. Macron, embarrassed, quickly reverted to saying that he was awaiting further explanations from Tehran. Macron's feebleness led to an angry outburst from Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who thundered: "I call on the leaders of Europe: Stop financing the terrorist regime that is financing terrorism against you on your soil. Enough with the policy of appeasement and weakness regarding Iran."
But ignoring such calls, Macron persisted with his attempts at appeasement, even inviting Zarif, who has been listed as a terrorist by the U.S. State Department, to the G7 summit meeting in Biarritz, France in August. By turning a blind eye to Iran's acts of terror, Macron and the other appeasers will only succeed in bringing closer the very conflict they so desperately seek to avert. How is it possible that European leaders, for whom human rights have always been a fundamental tenet, can condone a regime that tortures and kills people simply for expressing their view and uses its embassies as terror cells and bomb factories?
Trying to appease the mullahs was a mistake made by former U.S. President Barack Obama. In a new book written by former U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, he reveals how he advised Obama to take tough action against the Iranian regime following the arrest of two Iranian intelligence agents who had plotted to detonate a bomb in the Café Milano in Washington, D.C., in 2011, a popular high-end restaurant regularly attended by the rich and famous, including Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi Arabian ambassador. Had the bomb exploded it would have caused carnage. Mattis says it would have been the most catastrophic attack on American soil since 9/11.
In his book Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead, Mattis claims, "Attorney General Eric Holder said the bombing plot was 'directed and approved by elements of the Iranian government and, specifically, senior members of the Quds Force.' The Quds were the special operations force of the Revolutionary Guards, reporting to the top of the Iranian government." But when Mattis argued forcefully in the Obama administration that this amounted to an act of war and required a hard-hitting response, he says he was ignored.
Obama didn't want to rock the boat with the mullahs. He swept the terror plot under the White House rug, keen to avoid any dislocation of the secret negotiations he had opened with the regime that led eventually to the ill-conceived nuclear deal.
Mattis is withering in his assessment of this blatant act of appeasement and of the nuclear deal. He writes, "In my military judgment, America had undertaken a poorly calculated, long-shot gamble. At the same time, the administration was lecturing our Arab friends that they had to accommodate Iran as if it were a moderate neighbor in the region and not an enemy committed to their destruction. As long as its leaders consider Iran less a nation-state than a revolutionary cause, Iran will remain a terrorist threat potentially more dangerous than al- Qaida or ISIS," referring to the Islamic State.
But these lessons appear not to have been learned by Europe's chief appeaser, Macron. When Rouhani told the Iranian parliament earlier this month that Iran would announce its third step to breach the nuclear deal unless France, Germany and Britain honored their commitments to bust U.S. sanctions, Macron was, unsurprisingly, the first to surrender, outrageously offering the mullahs $15 billion to stick to the flawed nuclear deal.
That a French president could stoop to offering a bailout of French taxpayers' money to a regime that is the world's main sponsor of terrorism, is simply outrageous. He surely must realize that this money will go straight into the coffers of the terrorist Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the vicious Quds Force, the organizations that pour men and resources into backing Bashar al-Assad's bloody civil war in Syria, who fund the terrorist Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthi rebels in Yemen, and who sponsor and command the brutal Shi'ia militias in Iraq. Indeed, the IRGC and the Quds Force will be delighted to use the French billions to mount renewed assassination and bomb plots across Europe.
Macron's surrender to the fascist mullahs has alarming echoes of Marshal Philippe Pétain's servile policy of French appeasement to the Nazis in 1940.
Struan Stevenson is the coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change. He was a member of the European Parliament representing Scotland (1999-2014), president of the Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Iraq (2009-14) and chairman of the Friends of a Free Iran Intergroup (2004-14). He is an international lecturer on the Middle East and president of the European Iraqi Freedom Association.