The recent assassination attempt on author Salman Rushdie should prompt Western countries to reevaluate their tolerant attitude towards Tehran’s subversive activities.
In 1982, Salman Rushdie, a British-American author of Indian origin, published a novel called “The Satanic Verses”. The book was considered blasphemy by Iran’s then-Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, who in 1989 issued a fatwa ordering worshipers to kill Rushdie. The fatwa was confirmed by Khomeini’s successor, Ayatollah Ali Khameinei.
The Encyclopedia Britannica defines a fatwa as follows: “In Islam, a formal ruling or interpretation on a point of Islamic law given by a qualified jurist. Fatwas are usually issued in response to questions from individuals or Islamic courts. Although considered authoritative, fatwas are generally not treated as a binding judgment.
Whether or not one believes the book to be in good taste, inciting to kill its author amounts to calling for terrorist acts in Western countries. And indeed, recently, Mr. Rushdie was seriously injured by an attacker in New York. A 24-year-old man, Hadi Matar, stabbed the novelist to carry out the fatwa. The attack was widely welcomed in Iran, especially in the media, which is entirely controlled by the government.
Brussels has planned to sanction companies that respect the UN sanctions reimposed by Washington.
In Europe as in America, politicians and the media seemed shocked. However, the incident was not surprising. The Tehran regime is the biggest sponsor of terrorism in the world. Hezbollah, a terrorist organization operating in Lebanon, is openly supported by Iran. Iranian leaders are behind the civil war in Yemen. Their goal is to secure access to the Red Sea and ultimately the Suez Canal, and to have a base to destabilize Saudi Arabia from the south.
The terrorist attacks in Iraq and the armed interventions in Syria are also supported, even initiated and ordered by the Iranian regime. Tehran openly calls for the total annihilation of Israel and does not hesitate to support terrorism in Europe and the United States, as the attack in New York showed.
Nevertheless, after several years of negotiations, in 2015 the United States and the other permanent members of the UN Security Council (China, France, Russia and the United Kingdom) as well as Germany and the European Union concluded the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Tehran. Tehran has agreed to dismantle most of its nuclear program and open its facilities to closer international inspections in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief. However, the deal only delayed Iran’s construction of nuclear warheads by 13 to 15 years.
The agreement does not mention or attempt to prevent Iran’s subversive activities in the region or its sponsorship of terrorist activities. Nor does it address Tehran’s stated intention to annihilate Israel. The most affected countries were not included in the negotiations. These issues led the Trump administration to rescind the JCPOA and reintroduce sanctions. Meanwhile, the EU has done everything to salvage the deal and normalize relations with Iran, completely neglecting the terrorist threat. Brussels has even planned to sanction companies that respect the UN sanctions reimposed by Washington.
The thousands of victims in the Middle East were not enough to convince Western politicians and media of the need to combat Iran’s dangerous subversive activities.
Then the Biden administration, along with European countries, began to renegotiate the JCPOA. Generally, the Iranian regime has pushed for even looser conditions on nuclear development. Terrorism remains unanswered. Surprisingly, Western countries continued to negotiate under these conditions.
Iran already knows that Europe, and probably also Russia and China, will offer their support to Washington in the upcoming negotiations. They seem to be resuming their nuclear development before the talks. Perversely, neighboring countries that bear the brunt of the Iranian threat, such as Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, are excluded from the process.
The thousands of victims in the Middle East were not enough to convince Western politicians and media of the need to combat Iran’s dangerous subversive activities. But perhaps the New York attack will ultimately spur the West to make sure Tehran ends its campaign of terrorism and destabilization in the Middle East and the Western world before striking a new deal.