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Europe’s Baby Steps on Iran

The European Union on Tuesday imposed new sanctions against Iran for the first time since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action came into effect. This is a welcome, if belated, acknowledgment that the 2015 nuclear deal has failed to change Tehran’s behavior.

Over the summer European authorities prevented a bomb attack on Iranian dissidents in Paris coordinated by Iranian intelligence across the Continent. In October Denmark announced it had stopped a plot to assassinate an Iranian opposition figure on Danish soil. The Dutch government has also accused Iran of assassinating two Dutch citizens of Iranian origin in the Netherlands in recent years.

The new sanctions target an Iranian intelligence unit and two of its agents, including deputy minister and director general of intelligence Saeid Hashemi Moghadam. They have been added to Europe’s terror list and their assets will be frozen. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Twitter tried to justify the attacks: “Accusing Iran won’t absolve Europe of responsibility for harboring terrorists”—his preferred word for anyone who opposes the regime.

That Iran feels comfortable planning terror attacks in Europe after the nuclear deal was signed should be a red flag. Yet the Europeans undermine their own safety by trying to circumvent US sanctions and continue doing business with the mullahs. As Iranian kill teams roam Europe, the Continent’s leaders should rethink why they’re trying so hard to save the agreement.

The better option is to form a united front with the US Europe will be safer if its leaders work with Washington to renegotiate a permanent nuclear deal that also addresses Iran’s malign behavior abroad and its continuing development of ballistic missiles.
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