By Alejo Vidal Quadras
On Tuesday September 21, Iranian regime president Ebrahim Raisi addressed the United Nations General Assembly with a pre-recorded speech that purported to send a message of “rationality, justice and freedom” to the world, but although Raisi was in office for less than two months, virtually everything he has said and done so far has contradicted that message. Granted, his administration hasn’t even fully taken shape yet, but much of his cabinet has been vetted by the legislature and each appointment reflects the same ultra-hard ideology and belligerent political strategy that defines Raisi’s own past. .
Shortly after the announcement of the first dozen appointments, Iranian Resistance leader Ms. Maryam rajavi issued a statement in which she described Raisi’s future cabinet as “the embodiment of four decades of the mullahs’ religious dictatorship and terrorism.”
The main mission of the entire Raisi administration, Ms. Rajavi said, would be “to deal with the uprising of the people and plunder the national wealth, to intensify terrorism and warmongering and to expand anti-patriotic programs of nuclear and ballistic missiles “. Each of these allegations is directly supported by at least one of the appointments that have been made in recent weeks. Thus, each nomination undoubtedly provides its own justification for an affirmed response on the part of Western political decision-makers.
Under Raisi, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) will be headed by Mohammad Eslami. Although he has no scientific qualifications, Eslami has been involved in the militarization aspects of Iran’s nuclear program from its very beginnings, having met Abdul Kadir Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program in the 1980s, this which led to Iran’s purchase of nuclear enrichment centrifuge components and designs. Eslami also spent ten years in the Iranian Defense Ministry and later played a major role in spreading disinformation on issues such as the January crash of Ukrainian Airlines Flight 752nd.
This appointment is a clear symbol of the priorities that define the Raisi administration and the regime as a whole, at least when it comes to nuclear issues. The international community should expect Tehran to continue the kinds of procurement activities that Western intelligence services have warned against in recent years, even if this comes at the expense of projects with real scientific relevance to it. the civilian needs of the country. Tehran and the AEOI can also be expected to lie with impunity about this purchase and the underlying efforts to shorten the regime’s “exit time” for a nuclear weapon.
Iran’s new foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, has had decades of contact with the Quds Force, the branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps responsible for foreign special operations and funding and support for regional militants. He had a close relationship with the famous Force Commander Quds Qassem Soleimani before his death in an American drone strike in early 2020. Amir-Abdollahian also focused in particular on operations targeting the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK) and the NCRI which was the subject of an Iranian bomb plot near Paris in June 2018.
Four Iranian members were ultimately sentenced to prison terms in Belgium for this terrorist plot, which could have been one of the worst ever to take place on European soil if it had not been thwarted by the police. . However, neither the European Union nor the international community at large has taken any recognizable action following their trial to hold the regime or institutions known to have been involved in the attack, such as the Supreme Council, to account. national security.
Many critics of Tehran have rightly criticized this inaction for allowing the regime to assume impunity. This impunity is now reflected in Raisi’s cabinet appointments, as well as in the orchestrated election of Raisi himself, whom countless Iranian citizens have condemned as “the henchman of 1988” in reference to his role as foreground in the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners during the summer. of that year. In more than a dozen European and American cities on Tuesday, groups of Iranian expatriates staged rallies to draw more attention to this role and reprimand the UN for giving a public platform to a mass murderer.
Unless the international community takes action to counter this decision in the days and weeks to come, the consequences are sure to affect Tehran’s adversaries, both at home and abroad. The issues raised by the 2018 terrorist plot were never resolved, and the Raisi administration telegraphed its support for the underlying strategy by appointing officials whose history includes not only systematic targeting of the MEK, but also direct attacks against Western targets.
Ahmad Vahidi, Iran’s new interior minister, is even the subject of an Interpol arrest warrant for his direct involvement in the 1994 bombing in Argentina, which left 85 people dead. As commander-in-chief of the IRGC in the 1990s, he was also involved in a number of other attacks. And although his new role is ostensibly limited to domestic politics, his mere presence in the new administration is a sure test of the international community’s willingness to ignore the inherent threat posed by uncompromising domination and consolidation of power within. of the Iranian regime.
The democratic nations of the world cannot allow such appointments to go unchallenged. Besides, they cannot let Raisi’s presidency, as a whole, go unchallenged. They certainly can’t provide his administration with unwanted and undeserved legitimacy on the world stage, but that’s exactly what the UN and its major member states did on Tuesday when they provided Raisi with a global platform. for a speech that falsely represented him as “elected.” of the great Iranian people.
The reality is that the overwhelming majority of the Iranian population boycotted the bogus election, and the Iranians, both at home and around the world, condemned the West’s initial recklessness. According to Nasrollah Morandi, a former political prisoner who spoke at a conference in Stockholm on Tuesday, Raisi’s invitation to speak at the UN was “a betrayal of the ideals of democracy and human rights Supposed to unify the Western world.
Lest this betrayal be repeated, Western policymakers should consult Iranian activists when shaping policy to deal with the new Iranian administration, and they should be prepared to take action that will hold Raisi and his advisers accountable. past human rights violations, terrorist acts and other malicious activities.
Alejo Vidal-Quadras, professor of atomic and nuclear physics, was vice-president of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2014. He is president of the International Committee in Search of Justice (ISJ)