Iran’s deadly diplomacy is no joke, even if it is prosecuted by blundering buffoons. The release of Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert last week from a prison in Iran, in exchange for three Iranian terrorists, who bungled a plot in Bangkok to blow up the Israeli ambassador and blew off their own legs instead, should bring home a few home truths.
Iran used to be famous for its hospitality to foreigners, now it is infamous for incarcerating them and has been ever since the Islamists took over in 1979 and took 52 American diplomats and citizens hostage in their embassy for 444 days.
It uses its embassies to organise terror attacks. The three ‘businessmen’ traded for Moore-Gilbert had C4 high explosives concealed in radios in their villa, which one claimed he found ‘by chance’ and was trying to dispose of by hurling it at a Thai police officer. The plot was orchestrated by former Quds Force chief Major General Qasem Soleimani. At the time, Iran was also engaged in two other bombing attempts in India and one in Georgia targeting Israeli diplomats.
This week, a Belgian court sentenced an Iranian diplomat to 20 years in jail after he flew into Vienna airport with half a kilo of explosives which he gave to a couple who were arrested as they drove to Paris to blow up a convention of exiled Iranians opposed to the regime. As with hostages, Iran has a long tradition of murdering its critics, at home and abroad but the convention was also attended by President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani and former Canadian PM Stephen Harper.
Haggling over hostages to secure the diplomat/terrorist’s release may have already begun. The regime doesn’t just have a stockpile of fissile material, it has a stockpile of foreign nationals, falsely accused of espionage. The joke is that Iran keeps imprisoning innocent foreigners on charges of spying for the US and Israel, while actual spies enter Iran and kill of its top officials without a trace.
The killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh last week is not even the latest example. This week another top Revolutionary Guard soldier was killed while taking weapons into Syria. Three months ago al-Qa’eda’s second-in-command, Abu Muhammad al-Masri, was gunned down in Tehran. In January, the US killed General Qasem Soleimani, former Hezbollah number two Imad Mughniyeh was killed in 2008 and several Iranian nuclear scientists were killed between 2010 and 2012.
Trying to put a positive spin on events, President Hassan Rouhani said the killing of Fakhrizadeh was ‘the result of the repeated failure of the sworn enemies of the Iranian people in the face of our scientific movement and other achievements.’ Nice try but it looked more like a humiliating failure of Iranian security. It seemed to send a message to those in the atomic sector or orchestrating terror attacks, that they should seek other employment. Or as Hillel Neuer, the executive director of UN Watch, an NGO United Nations watchdog, put it, ‘Ayatollah, it looks like your regime was so busy beating up peaceful protesters, arresting women for not covering their hair with the compulsory hijab, and jailing and torturing human rights activists and their lawyers, that you forgot to protect your own nuclear bomb mastermind.’ Farsi social media was abuzz; ‘It seems that Tehran has become a #Mossad street corner,’ tweeted one man.
Fakhrizadeh’s widow said it was her husband’s wish to be ‘martyred’ so it should have been a win-win outcome but Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif called on the international community – especially the EU – to condemn the killing as an act of state terror, which seems pretty rich considering it was the same day the Iranian terrorist/diplomat failed to attend court over the botched bombing in Paris. Nonetheless, the EU dutifully condemned the killing as a ‘criminal act,’ which also seems a little ungrateful since it was only thanks to a tip from Mossad that the Paris bomb plot was thwarted.
It is no surprise that Palestinian terror groups such as Hamas, which have been richly funded by Iran to wage war on Israel, condemned the killing. But there were plenty of Western useful idiots who parroted the Iranian propaganda. Iran’s Press TV quoted Bernie Sanders, who slammed the ‘reckless, illegal killing.’ Obama’s former adviser on counter-terrorism, John Brennan, echoed Zarif saying if a foreign government authorised the murder it would be an act of ‘state-sponsored terrorism’ and ‘a flagrant violation of international law.’
In fact, Fakhrizadeh was a brigadier general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a proscribed terror organisation in the US, which makes him a legitimate target. Also, Iran’s repeated threats of ‘death to America’ and to ‘wipe Israel off the map’ mean that all three countries are at war and the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, the legal arm of the US Army, explicitly says that targeted killing of civilians is legal if they occupy key positions in a weapons program vital to the nation’s national security or war aims, during international armed conflict, as in Project Manhattan. Yet Fakhrizadeh wasn’t Robert Oppenheimer as some claim — the father of the bomb was a brilliant, ethical man — he was Kurt Diebner, the Nazi who ran Germany’s secret nuclear program during the second world war.
According to an archive captured by Israel in 2018, Iranian nuclear scientists have, under Fakhrizadeh, been carrying out clandestine research on weapons up to the present day, as well as stockpiling undeclared nuclear materials, in violation not just of the Obama/Biden Iran Deal but the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Democrat Senator Chris Murphy said this week that Trump’s policy on Iran was a failure because when Trump came into office, Iran’s ‘breakout time’ to a nuclear weapon was twelve months and today it’s two months and when Trump came into office, Iran had 300kg of enriched uranium and now they have 2400kg. What that really shows is that Iran never had any intention of giving up its ambition to possess nuclear weapons and all the Obama/Biden deal was provide convenient camouflage and give them $100 billion to turbocharge terror in the region and around the world.
As former US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley tweeted this week, it would be a huge mistake for Biden to go running back into the arms of Iran’s ayatollahs; peace and normalisation between Arabs and Jews has been fostered by Trump’s policy of not appeasing Iran.
Normally, a diplomat is a person who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip; an Iranian diplomat plots hell in his embassy and personally organises its delivery.
The question for the Australian government is how long will it tolerate the risk such an embassy poses in Canberra? One thing is certain, Israel will not sit on its hands, ‘Biden’ its time, and let Iran go nuclear.
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