Iranian President Rouhani: “Today, the American soldier is in danger, tomorrow the European soldier could be in danger.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has threatened the European troops stationed in the region.
“Today, the American soldier is in danger, tomorrow the European soldier could be in danger,” the Iranian leader warned on Wednesday.
Rouhani was referring to the attacks on the U.S. bases in Iraq following the recent killing of Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s chief terror operative, in an American drone strike early January. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei declared “jihad” to avenge the slain terrorist.
The first casualty of the jihad was the civilian Ukrainian jetliner. Tehran pinned the blame for downing the plane that killed 176 passengers on board on a “human error,” after efforts to hide its guilt failed.
The news website Times of Israel reported Rouhani’s comments:
President Hassan Rouhani’s remarks in a televised Cabinet meeting represent the first direct threat he’s made to Europe as tensions remain high between Tehran and Washington over President Donald Trump withdrawing the US from the deal in May 2018.
In Tehran, Rouhani issued his threat in a wide-ranging speech that criticized Britain, France and Germany for starting the so-called “dispute process” of the 2015 nuclear deal.
“Today, the American soldier is in danger, tomorrow the European soldier could be in danger,” Rouhani said. He did not elaborate.
On Tuesday, the European nations reluctantly triggered the accord’s dispute mechanism to force Iran into discussions, starting the clock on a process that could result in the “snapback” of UN and EU sanctions on Iran.
The latest Iranian threat comes a day after European powers began a disciplinary inquiry against Iran for violating the nuclear deal. Germany, France, and the United Kingdom — the three European signatories to the 2015 agreement — launched a formal dispute mechanism against Tehran on Tuesday, which could end in reinstating of international sanctions on the regime.
The Europeans had been very accommodating to the Islamic Republic so far, sticking to the deal despite President Donald Trump withdrawing the U.S. in May 2018. Germany, France, and the UK were forced to take the extreme measure after Iran openly started enriching weapons-grade uranium. The regime was not going to comply with the restrictions set under the nuclear deal, Iranian state TV declared last Sunday.
Rouhani, repeatedly described by the New York Times and other liberal news outlets as the “moderate” voice of the regime, has a history of bullying the Europeans. He previously threatened to flood Europe with drugs and immigrants if the European Union leaders failed to deliver the economic perks promised under the Obama-Kerry deal.
“You are obliged,” the Iranian President said in May 2019, “for your own security, for protecting your youths against drugs as well as controlling influx of immigrants.”
The Iranian threats had their intended effect. While Tehran continued to expand its nuclear missile delivery system, the EU and the European leaders rushed to appease. An international payment mechanism devised to circumvent the U.S. sanctions was rolled out. Belgium, the Netherlands, and the Scandinavian countries joined the Iran trading mechanism sponsored by Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. With U.S. sanctions tightening around Iran’s state-owned oil, shipping and banking sectors, French President Emmanuel Marcon offered a generous loan of $15 billion. The Franco-German bailout efforts failed, and anti-regime protests began in full swing in November, triggered by a sharp fuel hike and rationing of oil and gas. The regime gunned down more than 1,500 protesters to quell the November uprising only to see it resurface in January.
It needs to be seen if the threats work this time to save the regime, which faces financial bankruptcy and widespread unrest.
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