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Time running out for Iran's nuclear deal

With only days to go before U.S. President Donald Trump must decide if he will grant the Iranian regime compliance with the nuclear deal on Oct. 15, the sands of time are rapidly running out for Tehran's rulers.

Trump told a meeting of the United Nations in September that the deal was "an embarrassment" to the United States. If Trump refuses to certify Iran's compliance with the deal, which seems highly likely, Congress will have 60 days to decide whether to reapply the crippling sanctions lifted by former President Barack Obama after the deal was signed.

 There is increasing speculation that the Iranian regime is financing North Korea's nuclear program, despite worldwide condemnation and the imposition of heavy sanctions against Kim Jong Un's rogue state even by China. A former U.S. senior diplomat has said that when Iran wants nuclear weapons it simply has to write a check and hand it to the North Koreans.

U.S. National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster said in September, "The President has already declared that the Iranian regime is not living up to its obligation. They are certainly not living up to the spirit of this agreement. Instead of contributing to regional peace and security, as the deal calls for, Iran is using proxy forces and a terrorist network to foment violence and victimize innocents across the greater Middle East. The Iranian regime is seeding these networks with increasingly destructive weapons as they try to establish a bridge from Iran to Lebanon and Syria."

Obama's policy of appeasement toward Iran was a huge mistake. The nuclear deal was totally one-sided, giving endless concessions to the Iranian regime. Its leniency made it easy for the mullahs continually to run a cart and horses through the terms of the agreement with virtual impunity. This in turn encouraged the North Koreans to accelerate their own nuclear weapons' program, encouraged by the apparent weakness of the West. There is now a growing awareness that the best way of dealing with North Korea is by taking tough action against Iran.

There is also a growing awareness in the White House that the Iranian regime and its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps are the main bankers and exporters of conflict and terror across the Middle East. The IRGC and its body responsible for extra-territorial operations -- the Quds Force -- both now listed as terrorist organizations by the Americans, are the main vehicles for Iran's aggressive expansionism in the region. The IRGC has for decades been carrying out terrorist attacks across the zone, including in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon. Over the past six years, the world has witnessed in horror how the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has massacred his own people, while enjoying unlimited financial and military support from Iran and air cover from the Russians.

Iran exports terror. This is the real Iran under the theocratic rule of the mullahs, whose so-called "moderate" President Hassan Rouhani the West believes it can do deals with. Rouhani is in charge of a venally corrupt government, which has executed over 3,500 people since he took office in 2013.

America has at long last recognized the Iranian regime as the godfather of terror. They have recognized that the mullahs are behind Assad in Syria, the brutal Shi'ia militias in Iraq, the Houthi rebels in Yemen and Hezbollah in Lebanon. The West's policy of appeasement toward Iran has come to a shuddering stop and the world now looks to the United States, EU and U.N. to show leadership and determination in backing the 80 million beleaguered Iranians who ache and pray for the removal of this corrupt and evil regime and the restoration of human rights, women's rights, freedom, justice and democracy to this long-suffering nation.

This article was first published by UPI. Struan Stevenson, was a member of the European Parliament (1999-2014). During that time he chaired the Friends of a Free Iran intergroup which became the center of pro-democracy campaigns in Europe in support of democracy in Iran. He also chaired European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Iraq (2009-2014). He is now president of the European Iraqi Freedom Association.