Iran: Sanctions Off (Carrot), DEA's Project Cassandra (Stick)

Relevant sanctions on Iran have been lifted and immediately Europe runs to make business with the Ayatollahs. Sanctions are a diplomatic coercive measure intended to encourage a country to act accordingly to the established rules, but today the Iranian case shows us (as the North Korean does) that even though sanctions may cause a pinch in nations' economies, they don't necessarily encourage countries to behave any longer. Hodie Pacta Non Sunt Servanta. 

Recently a couple of European countries were criticised for having hosted the Iranian president, Mr Rouhani, with the utmost deference naturally granted to Heads of State, since Iran violates the Human Rights of its citizens in a way that they clash with the basic articles of the European Convention of Human Rights:

  • Art. 1 Obligation to respect Human Rights (HR)
  • Art. 2 Right to Life
  • Art. 3 Prohibition of torture
  • Art. 5 Right to liberty and security
  • Art. 6 Right to a fair trial 
  • and so on...

However, the European Convention for Human Rights (ECHR), despite being the only international human rights instrument, pertains only to the parties of the convention (e.g all members of the Council of Europe) and not even international courts view it as binding:
"Regional human rights treaties, such as the ECHR (..) and the jurisprudence developed there, are persuasive authority which may be of assistance in applying and interpreting the Tribunal's applicable law. Thus, they are not binding of their own accord on the tribunal. They are however authoritative as evidence of international custom" - the ICTR Appeals Chamber (quoted in Carsten Stahn & Larissa van den Herik's paper)
Furthermore, in no way or shape does the convention prevent those parties from having trade relations with countries that violate their citizens' rights. That is the price of the Western Life Style.

Europe Sacrifices its Values for a Greater Good

Europe is not exactly in good economic health and we have been recently warned that the economic situation today is worse than in 2007. Therefore, given the ongoing crisis and the migrant crisis that has exerted even greater pressure on European economies and welfare systems, Europe figured that petty things like promoting certain values are counter-productive; thus, at this moment, the European pride is to be shelved for a while...
‘DRAWING INSPIRATION from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of
Europe, from which have developed the universal values of the inviolable and inalienable rights of the human person, freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law,’ -- second recital of the Preamble of the Treaty of the EU (amended by the Treaty of Lisbon) 
The first step was to invite the Iranian President to visit our Museums, for him to get in touch with our culture, with the power of our creativity, with the very expression of our values of covering the nude statues and paintings, in order not to offend President Rouhani the €17Bn trade agreement.

Iran Is Presently a Mighty Weapon

Iran, under the revolutionary regime, has an extensive negative HR record and it has been sponsoring global terrorism for decades. However, it now serves a couple of more pressing purposes, like:

  • It counter-weights the Sunni global ambitions (Saudi Arabia and Qatar were warned against their sponsoring Sunni Jihadist groups, but thought their money could buy their a way out of reproach forever)
  • It has resources that interest Europe (gas and oil – with Russia under sanctions and Israel as the number one European target, they had to turn somewhere [we just wonder why Azerbaijan is not openly on the European agenda though])
  • It has money to spend (a paradox for a country that had been under economic punitive measures for four years - “the harshest ever” according to some) and a highly skilled labour force, probably to replace the Chinese production lines – the Iranian proximity to Europe would make the products cheaper, in their mind?

Project Cassandra: Stick and Carrot

Last week, it was reported that the DEA (in conjunction with 7 other countries), within the context of “Project Cassandra” (that targets and monitors the global network of Hezbollah's activities), carried out a major CT operation against Hezbollah, whose BAC (Business Affairs Component, founded by the late former Hezbollah Senior Leader, Imad Mughniyah ) is responsible for moving large quantities of cocaine into the US and Europe (for more details read JPost's report). What is interesting about this bust is its timing: it took place after the lift of coercive measures against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

It's a known fact that Counter-Terrorism operations take a long time to prepare and everything has to be done in a way that covers all legal basis, so that the caught individuals (terrorists and the network that supports them) won't be able to get away in the court of law. However, given the proliferation of academic papers written on Hezbollah – on their activities in Africa and Latin America, for instance – it could be inferred that the authorities have been on the organisation for quite a while; so the timing of this well succeeded operation may be suggest a typical Western stick-and-carrot move: Iran regains access to its funds, assets and the markets but its dogs (through which it spreads Global Terror) are kept in check. It is an interesting way of keeping Iran under the microscope, control its global reach, slightly decrease its regional might, and place the West in a better bargaining position (backed up by the intel recovered during the operation).


Europe is free to trade with Iran, obviously. However, one must question the wisdom of doing so at a time when the clash of civilisations is getting started – trade is good but must Europe sacrifice its values? Doing so reveals weakness and stirs hornets' nests across the region. Anyone who really grasps politics (beyond clich├ęs and populism) knows how much the perception of weakness in the other can affect international relations.

It was reported that the US will increase its military budget for Europe, with Russian aggression in mind – what if Russia is not the only American concern? Looking at Europe's behaviour, at the situation in the old continent, it's not too far fetched to think that the United States believe they will have to soon rescue Western Europe, once again.

[The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dissecting Society]


  1. Europe is declining slowly. First they sacrifice our values, our culture, our tradition, then they will sacrifice our security, our lives. Wait and see, Max. Iran is a dangerous country and what our politicians have done is to put them a step closer to having nuclear weapons, look at North Korea and her tests! Who do they think the North Koreans are working for? You have yourself mentioned this here, I remember. Good post, Max.

    1. Hi Pietr :D!

      Europe has thrived on dealing with tyrant regimes, so why would it be different now? Besides, it is now an European value to be tolerant towards others (no matter what).
      Good point on North Korea. Yes, yes, remember well.

      Pietr, thank you so much for your awesome comment and support :D.


  2. Oh, people are worried about Iran and human rights, but they don't worry when they support Palestine that also violates human rights, incites to murder and racism! Screw them all. Project Cassandra was an asskicking operation and I congratulate the Americans + 7 for it. I agree that Americans quadrupling their military budget for Europe means something more than a fear of Russia, hell I go beyond that to say Russia may be working with the Americans to protect Europe.

    1. Hi Adam :D!

      I know, right? It's unbelievable.
      Yeah, Project Cassandra is fabulous and I'm happy with its success. Well, Pres. Putin offered himself to work with America recently so...I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case. At least I know that the US military is talking to the Russians and exchanging information.

      Ben Adam, thank you so much for your incredible comment :D.


  3. People think all they need to do is scream human rights and life comes to a halt, without thinking that it's the cost of keeping their life style and values. Too much ado about Iran cause we all know when the military industry gets fed up with their violations of treaties they will bomb Iran and force a regime change.

    1. Hi Anon :D!

      Indeed. Ha, that is so true!
      Thank you so much for your comment :D.


  4. From the western perspective, dealing with Iran brings more benefits than costs. From the Israeli perspective the overture to Iran is a direct threat to her, and justifiably so. But we can always arm Israel, we can always give her concessions in case Iran over steps her boundaries. Let's not panic cause for now Iran is a useful tool. BTW nice touch including China in the mix. China is so buddy buddy with Iran that she's not seeing that Iran will steal her manufactoring business!

    1. Hi Carl :D!

      Great to see you.
      I agree that we should not panic. There's always a solution to problems, even though those solutions may get messy. lol Yes, because people hardly include China in these equations and I think it is necessary to do so. Like the Brazilian song goes: that which has a start, has an ending - and the Chinese business love affair will eventually end, and what then?

      Carl, thank you so much for your great comment :D.


  5. My theory has always been that the IQ's of the Ayatollahs are vastly higher than that of any Western leader. Which isn't to say that the Ayatollah's IQ's are particularly high. The next question is whether or not the moral stature of the Iranian terror mongers and drug dealers is higher or lower than the members of "Human Rights Commissions" along with Western Ethicists and Moralizers. Tough to answer this one. But it is certain that the Ayatollahs are more consistent in their adherence to their anti-principles.

    1. Hi Looney :D!

      lol Well, if it wasn't so a decade ago, it is certainly true now. But I do agree with you that the Ayatollah's IQ is not all that, otherwise they wouldn't be so silly (in lack of a better word).

      "The next question is whether or not the moral stature of the Iranian terror mongers and drug dealers is higher or lower than the members of "Human Rights Commissions" along with Western Ethicists and Moralizers."

      Ah, a million dollar question...

      The Ayatollahs are very consistent in a lot of things, which ironically makes them more reliable than their Arab counterparts.

      Looney, thank you so much for your super comment :D.



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