Commentary Magazine


More Leverage with Iran

The European Union has just de-listed the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq from its terror list. The MeK is an Iranian opposition group) that claims to have renounced violence in 2001), and the Iranian government is angry — which in and of itself is a very good thing. As a matter of fact, they are so angry that — according to my source inside the EU — they pleaded with the Europeans to reconsider, citing the fact that the Americans — not Tehran’s likeliest go-to for policy precedent — are keeping the MeK on their list. To have Iran cite the State Department as an authority on terrorism speaks volumes.

MeK members are neither Mayflower pilgrims nor Salvation Army volunteers and de-listing the group might not be principled or expedient — but plain silly. However, now, alongside an expected toughening of EU sanctions, the Iranians have something else to concern them, which Europe could use as leverage against Tehran’s bid for nuclear weapons. One question lingers for Europeans: what will President Obama do with Iran? Some in Europe are using the uncertainty generated by the transition from the Bush to the Obama administration to stall progress on new sanctions. The sooner President Obama announces his new policy guidelines on the matter and makes it clear who’s in charge, the better.