This could have been the week that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the 2015 landmark nuclear deal with Iran, should have been terminated by the European powers which negotiated the agreement together with the Obama Administration.
On Tuesday, Denmark announced it had foiled an Iranian plot to assassinate Iranian dissidents on Danish soil.
An Israeli diplomat later revealed the Mossad had tipped off the Danish government about the planned murder of an Arab Iranian opposition leader who Iran suspects of having played a role in the September 22 shooting attack on a military parade in Ahvaz, Iran. The attack killed 25 Iranian military personnel, many of them members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
The foiled terror attack followed an earlier Iranian attempt to target a conference of the Iranian opposition in Paris which was foiled with the help of Mossad intelligence.
“The Mossad’s efforts have led to thwarting Iranian terrorism in France, Belgium, Austria, Germany and now Sweden and Denmark,” the Israeli source was quoted as saying.
The JCPOA was meant not only to curb Iran’s nuclear aspirations, but also to allow it to be become normal nation which would be a responsible member of the international community.
A Wall Street Journal editorial blasted the European Union for not implementing fresh sanctions on Iran as the Danish government demanded after foiling the assassination of members of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz.
“The European Union looks unserious about a real internal threat,” the WJS editors wrote after Frederica Morgerini, the EU’s foreign-policy chief refused to take action against Iran and replied to the Danish demand by saying she was “following events”.
“The European Union is displaying a fundamental lack of seriousness about a country uninterested in distinctions between bombs, missiles and assassinations,” the editorial board of the WSJ concluded.
It’s even worse.
After the US Administration withdrew from the JCPOA and re-imposed sanctions on Iran the EU attempted to throw a lifeline to Iran’s ailing economy updating a ‘Blocking Statute’ which was meant to allow European companies to continue their business dealings with Iran despite the new sanctions.
In July the EU held a meeting with the remaining participants in the JCPOA and vowed to find “practical solutions in order to maintain the normalization of trade and economic relations with Iran.”
It didn’t prevent a host of European companies from terminating their operations in Iran and it also didn’t help to improve the economic situation in the Islamic Republic.
With the Trump Administration set to introduce new sanctions which are meant to strangle Iran’s petrochemical industry the Islamic Republic is bracing for more hardships.
“The situation was (already) hard for people in the recent months, and it may be hard in the next several months too," Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said during a televised Cabinet meeting this week.
The Iranian President accused the Trump Administration of making the Iranians “angry at their government,” but claimed the population of the Islamic Republic is “mad at America and its crimes - not at their government and its ruling system."
The already existing sanctions forced the Iranian government to reshuffle the economy after the Iranian currency Rial hit a new low against the dollar.
One dollar now buys 140,000 Rials down from 50,000 at the beginning of 2018, according to the Central Bank of Iran.
Rouhani acknowledged that part of the huge economic problems in Iran has to do with the “high rate of exchange of hard currencies” but said Iran’s “foreign currency reserves were better than any in the past five years.”
Problems in Iran further increased after the country was struck by a mysterious computer virus earlier this week.
The virus is more dangerous than the Stuxnet virus which targeted Iran’s uranium enrichment industry several years ago.
Iran “has admitted in the past few days that it is again facing a similar attack, from a more violent, more advanced and more sophisticated virus than before, that has hit infrastructure and strategic networks,” the Israeli broadcaster KAN reported on Tuesday.
KAN said Israeli officials refused to comment on the discovery of the virus, but pundits in Israel think the Mossad and perhaps the CIA are behind the operation just as they developed the Stuxnet virus.
The problems Iran is currently facing have yet to effect its belligerent military operations abroad which are mainly targeting the United States and Israel.
On Saturday, the IRGC provoked the US military in the Persian Gulf when two armed IRGC speedboats harassed the USS Essex aircraft carrier while Centcom commander Joseph Votel visited the ship.
CNNreported that at one point the Iranian vessels “crossed in front of the Essex about 300 yards away from the ship.”
Since 2016 there have been 50 of these Iranian attempts to harass US navy ships in the Persian Gulf.
At the same time, the IRGC in Syria ordered Islamic Jihad to launch more than 30 rockets from Gaza at southern Israel, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
The missile attacks brought Israel to the brink of a new Gaza war which was averted only after the Egyptian government intervened.
On Monday, the Israeli air force responded by targeting an Iranian weapons transport in Syria which was bound for Hezbollah.
The transport reportedly contained guided missiles which would allow Hezbollah to launch precision attacks on Israeli population centers and military infrastructure in the Jewish state.
On Thursday, Syrian media reported that Iran is continuing its entrenchment in southern Syria despite that.
Abolfazl Tabatabai, personal representative of Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was spotted in the southern Syria city of Daraa where he conducted talks with Syrian officials and commanders.
Tabatabai’s visit coincided with new reports that Hezbollah is encroaching on the Israeli border at the Syrian Golan Heights while the Iranians are now controlling Syria’s border with Jordan.
According to Adham al-Krad, the former commander of the Free Syrian Army, the Iranians are ‘Shiittizing’ the border region in southern Syria and delivering weapons to “anonymous entities”.
With Russian help the Syrians are forming new divisions in southern Syria consisting of rebels who signed a reconciliation agreement with the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
A Syrian military analyst toldEnabbaladi News that the Iranian forces in southern Syria now threaten the national security of Israel.