With Iran's nuclear intentions still under suspicion, the EU must get its act together says Birmingham peer Lord Corbett of Castle Vale
The European Union's efforts to convince Iran to suspend its nuclear activities are getting nowhere. Its foreign policy chief Javier Solana visited Tehran last month to offer it a "re-vitalised" package of incentives from the world's major powers in return for a halt to uranium enrichment.
As usual, Tehran said it would give the package serious consideration while reiterating that it would not halt uranium enrichment. As the mullahs continue to play time games with the international community, the centrifuges are spinning in the underground nuclear bunker in Natanz to produce the uranium needed to make weapons.
Fear of Israeli warplanes attacking Iran's nuclear facilities is no sensible basis for EU policy formulation.
What Brussels needs is a comprehensive and coherent principled strategy. In short, the EU needs to appease less and oppose more by tightening the sanctions screw.
The West should not be offering Tehran greater concessions to abandon its unlawful nuclear activities which it is legally obliged to do under International Atomic Energy Agency and UN Security Council resolutions.
Concessions signal weakness and encourage the mullahs to seek even more by upping the ante and continuing at full pace their activities in Iraq to destabilise the region on whose natural resources we in the West are dependent, killing British and US troops in the process.
The EU has an alternative to avoid an Iranian bomb or a bombing of Iran.
The Iranian people are overwhelmingly
opposed to the policies of their theocratic dictators, and it can back their efforts to bring democratic change. Yet the EU has until now been impeding the major force for change in Iran.
The 27-nation bloc had banned the main Resistance movement, the PMOI, in an effort to appease the clerics. The PMOI - 120,000 of whose members have been executed for crying democracy - enjoys vast support among Iranians domestic and in exile, and is backed by over 1,000 European Parliamentarians.
Some 70,000 Iranians and several hundred international parliamentarians rallied in Paris last month in support of having the group's terrorist tag lifted in the EU.
The European Court of Justice annulled the group's ban in 2006, but the EU Council of Ministers ignored that ruling at the United Kingdom's request. Thirty-four of my colleagues in Parliament and
I challenged the UK's proscription of the PMOI. The Lord Chief Justice presiding over the Court of Appeal ordered the Home Secretary to lift the "perverse" ban, and both Houses of Parliament did so. The PMOI is now de-proscribed in the UK, and since the EU-wide ban on the group was based solely on the UK proscription, there is now no legal basis for it to remain.
Lifting the ban will send a message to the mullahs that Europe respects the rule of law. It will also signal that the West is no longer prepared to appease a regime which oppresses its own people and seeks to develop nuclear weapons with which to threaten the West...SUPL: