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In Regard to Iran, the West Hasn't Learned the Lesson of the Dane-Geld

In Regard to Iran, the West Hasn't Learned the Lesson of the Dane-Geld

By    |   Wednesday, 18 September 2019 04:03 PM EDT

During the post-U.S. removal from the Iran deal, the Iranian regime has behaved abysmally, even by its already low standards.

While Iranian President Rouhani was touring Europe, demanding that the Europeans provide funding to Iran, his regime was planning a terror attack in Europe, which might have led to hundreds of European and American casualties.

The Iranian Islamic Republican Guard Corps and their allies have grabbed, harassed, or bombed international shipping in the Strait of Hormuz or in the Bab al Mandab. They have also shot down a U.S. drone, and even grabbed hostages.

The Iranian leadership has continued its ballistic missile testing, which goes hand and hand with nuclear weapons development. The Iranian leadership has refused to cooperate with the IAEA, barring them from inspecting some nuclear weapons development sites that were recently exposed by Israel. The Iranian regime, which is the leading state sponsor of terrorism, has been expanding its support to militia/terror groups in Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen to menace Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and other U.S. allies. And the Iranian regime has been smuggling oil through the U.S. or European sanctions (on Syria).

The Iranian leadership has “partially withdrawn” from the Iran deal, by violating key parts of the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA), most recently by using advanced centrifuges in uranium enrichment. Not that this makes any sense — there is no such thing as a partial withdrawal. A nation may only withdraw, or not withdraw, from a deal. Nevertheless, to cease its partial withdrawal, Tehran has demanded that the U.S. lift the sanctions and return to a 5+1 format involving the nuclear deal parties, and that the Europeans must “either buy oil or give us credit,” within a certain time.

And most recently, Iran was behind the attacks on major Saudi oil facilities that cut global oil supplies by 5%.

So, what is Europe’s response to all this bad behavior? Nothing but more appeasement.

The European Union has promoted the idea of an Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) whose purpose is to facilitate "legitimate trade" with Iran for any EU member and non-EU members as well. INSTEX is a barter system created by the Western Europeans, where, in any trade, money gets paid into the home country’s account, and it doesn’t cross the border in or out of Iran.

Britain has caved on enforcing EU sanctions that barred any oil sales to Syria. Originally, the British seized an Iranian ship that was illegally transporting oil to Syria. The Iranians then grabbed a British ship in retaliation. The British released the Iranian ship, after Iran gave a written promise that the ship would not deliver the oil to Syria. But the promise was insincere, as the Iranian ship eventually dropped off its oil in Syria, thereby breaking the sanctions, and earning themselves $130 million (or giving their puppet Assad a huge gift of oil). Meanwhile, Iran has only released some of the crew from the British ship.

France has offered $15 billion in credit to Tehran for it to end its partial withdrawal and to return to the JCPOA. The entire official budget of Iran is roughly $45 billion, so that would be a huge lifeline for the Iranian regime.

Unfortunately, this European financial appeasement of rogue and dangerous actors is not unique. It is actually steeped in ancient European history. As I once wrote, “(o)ver a thousand years ago, the (then) violent Danes would promise to stop their pillaging and plundering, supposedly permanently, but in practice temporarily, if their prey paid them off… (but) if the victim paid the geld, the Danes were generally not true to their word, and would return to the plundering and pillaging ….” This concept was immortalized by poet Rudyard Kipling in his poem, “Dane-geld,” whose final line was the lesson to be learned: “That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld, You never get rid of the Dane.”

The concept of Dane-geld is directly applicable to European attempts to pay off the Iranian regime today. It won’t work any better this time than it did with the Danes.

In 2015, the Iranians received more than $115 billion from the U.S. and other nations, to agree to the JCPOA. The hope, as President Obama articulated, was “ideally, we would see a situation in which Iran, seeing sanctions reduced, would start focusing on its economy, on training its people, on reentering the world community, to lessening its provocative activities in the region… it is possible that if we sign this nuclear deal, we strengthen the hand of those more moderate forces inside of Iran.”

Despite all this money, none of these hopes were realized under the JCPOA. What resulted was just more Iranian sponsored aggression, terrorism, and other bad behavior.

It's been a thousand years since the Danish Vikings were marauders demanding and receiving the Dane-geld. It has been a hundred years since the Rudyard Kipling poem first articulated the lesson of the Dane-geld. And it has been four years since the JCPOA demonstrated the truth of that saying, as it relates to the Iranian regime.

It would be nice if Europe finally learned its lesson.

Adam Turner is the General Counsel and Legislative Affairs Director for the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET). To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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During the post-U.S. removal from the Iran deal, the Iranian regime has behaved abysmally, even by its already low standards.
iran, dane geld, france, europe
Wednesday, 18 September 2019 04:03 PM
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