Portrait Dr. Remko Leemhuis
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The West should not sign a nuclear deal with Iran

This article first appeared in WELT.

For four weeks now, protests have continued in Iran. Led by courageous women, more and more people from all over the country and from all sectors of society are joining in, and they are not interested in reforms. What they are fighting for an end to the clerical-fascist and misogynist dictatorship.

Just as it has in the past, the regime is using unbridled force against its own population. At the same time, the mullahs are providing weapons to support Russia's war against Ukraine. Until now, Putin's army has mainly deployed Iranian drones to target civilian infrastructure and terrorize the Ukrainian civilian population.

However, the latest reports indicate that the regime in Tehran is now preparing to deliver short-range ballistic missiles to Moscow, which would represent a significant escalation. It is therefore clearly laudable that the EU has imposed new sanctions, and that the German government, together with other states, is stepping up its efforts to supply Ukraine with missile defense systems more quickly.

However, in view of the fact that the regime is seriously wavering, probably for the first time since 1979, and that it is openly participating in a war against a European country, it is simply irrational that representatives of all democratic parties in Berlin, with the exception of SPD co-chair Saskia Esken, are even talking about renewing the nuclear deal with Iran at this point.

As welcome and overdue as the new EU sanctions against eleven individuals and four organizations are, they pale in comparison to the billions that the regime would gain from sanctions relief under a new deal.

Anyone who is serious about supporting the Iranians' struggle for freedom, supporting Ukraine in its war against Russia, and supporting Israel's right to exist must conclude that now is the time to increase pressure on the regime and not to stabilize it economically with a new agreement.

As a first step, the so-called Revolutionary Guard, the most important force supporting the regime, must be placed, in its entirety, on the sanctions list. Furthermore, either all UN sanctions should be immediately reinstated, or the regime should be isolated politically and economically in the same way that Russia has been.

However, this can only be achieved if it is finally recognized in this country that the mullahs have long since declared war, not only on their own people, Israel, Ukraine and the majority Sunni world, but also on the entire West. And this did not just begin with the open military support of Russia's war against its neighboring country. It has been the case since the "Islamic Revolution" in 1979.

Ukraine is currently paying the price for the cautiousness and reality denial that have characterized policy towards Russia over the past twenty years. In the case of Iran, it is becoming clear once again these days that the "critical dialogue" that has been pursued for decades has failed across the board, and that here, too, a Zeitenwende (historic turning point) is necessary to prevent the regime from wreaking even more havoc.

The author is Director of American Jewish Committee Berlin.