Europeans prop up odious Iranian regime in the face of Trump sanctions
Washington Free Beacon:
Iranian leaders and their European counterparts are scrambling to save the landmark nuclear deal as the Islamic Republic's ruling regime teeters on the brink of collapse amid a severe financial crunch that has sparked popular protests across the country, according to multiple U.S. officials who told the Washington Free Beacon Europe is "poisoning" its relations with the Trump administration.Perhaps the Europeans are motivated by greed. They cannot be that blind to the threat posed by Iran to its own people and to others in the Middle East. The Europeans have chosen badly and it will wind up hurting them and others in the long run.
The European Union gifted Iran over the weekend a $21 million financial package aimed at keeping the hardline ruling regime afloat ahead of the reimposition of harsh U.S. sanctions that will choke off Tehran's access to international financial markets. U.S. officials described the aid package as foolish, saying it will fuel Iran's assassination attempts in European countries and its global terrorism operations.
Top Iranian leaders held a series of phone calls with their European counterparts over the weekend to plot avenues for skirting the new U.S. sanctions and keeping the nuclear agreement intact following President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw America from its commitments under the deal.
These efforts coincided with a new military agreement between Iran and Syria to keep the Islamic Republic's fighting forces in the country over the long-term.
U.S. officials in Congress and the Trump administration have been tracking the situation closely and say they will not permit Europe to avoid new U.S. sanctions, which could target any domestic and foreign entity that continues doing business with the Iranian regime.
On the heels of the EU's $21 million aid package to Iran, top State Department official Brian Hook chastised these governments for using taxpayer money to keep the hardline regime afloat as its people protest for change.
The cash package "between Iran and Europe sends the wrong message at the wrong time. Foreign aid from European taxpayers perpetuates the regime's ability to neglect the needs of its people and stifles meaningful policy changes," Hook said in a statement. "More money in the hands of the Ayatollah means more money to conduct assassinations in those very European countries."
"The Iranian people face very real economic pressures caused by their government's corruption, mismanagement, and deep investment in terrorism and foreign conflicts," Hook said. "The United States and the European Union should be working together instead to find lasting solutions that truly support Iran's people and end the regime's threats to regional and global stability."
Congress also is keeping a close eye on the latest developments with senior officials telling the Free Beacon that continued European outreach to Iran is "poisoning" ties with the United States.