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Jalali in Wonderland

Earlier this week, Gen. Gholam Reza Jalali’s accused Israel of contributing to or causing Iran’s drought by stealing its clouds and snow.

“Over the past four years, the highlands from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean have been studied. The findings are that areas above 2,200 meters were full of snow but our highlands have remained dry,” Jalali, the head of Iran’s Civil Defense Organization, said.

“Joint teams from Israel and one of our neighboring countries make clouds that are entering Iran” which can’t produce rain he continued. Jalali did not specify which neighbor was aiding Israel.

“In addition to that, we have the issue of ‘cloud-stealing’ and ‘snow-stealing,’” Jalali added, but did not elaborate further.

The head of Iran’s Meteorological Organization’s weather forecasting and warnings unit, Ahmad Vazifeh, however, disputed the General’s charge. Vazifeh countered that “it was not possible for a country to steal snow or clouds.”

While Vazifeh acknowledged that Iran was facing a drought, he attributed it to worldwide conditions.

Of course, one need not look that far away for the source of Iran’s water woes.

As Nik Kowsar, a geologist and political cartoonist now living in exile in Canada, wrote in The Tower last year, a cycle of corruption that marked by the building of too many dams across Iran has led to the depletion of the nation’s water resources.

Another factor that has led to Iran’s drought was that in 1979, all the Israeli water experts left as the Shah was about to fall.

It would be easy to laugh off Jalali’s fantasy, as it is empirically false, but he is not alone in constructing conspiracies to explain away Iran’s problems.

This week Belgium, France, and Germany arrested four Iranians, including one diplomat, in connection to a terror plot targeting an Iranian opposition group in Paris.

Instead of owning up to the possibility that the story was true, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif dismissed it as a “sinister false flag ploy,” carried out by the dissident group that was targeted.

Zarif’s claim is being taken seriously by some news organizations, but given Iran’s record of carrying out terror attacks on opponents on foreign soil, as the State Department recently documented, Zarif’s claim should be taken as seriously as Jalali’s cloud fantasy.

Making Zarif’s claim even less believable is the fact that the Netherlands just expelled two Iranian diplomats. Though no reason was given for the expulsion — it might have been related to the attempted Paris terror attack or to the killing of an Iranian Arab opposition figure last November — a Belgian official said, “Practically all employees of Iranian embassies are part of the Iranian Secret Service.”

This week, Iran has been in negotiations with the European Union to keep the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the 2015 nuclear deal is known, viable. Iran has demanded that Europe make up for the business lost due to renewed U.S. nuclear sanctions.

Iran has said that the EU’s package isn’t sufficient and has threatened to increase its enrichment capacity, which was limited to 3.5% by the deal. Iran’s threats to boost its enrichment or to leave the deal did not sit well with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who said, “They must stop the threats so that we can find the solutions so that Iran can have the necessary economic compensations.”

The EU is doing all it can to satisfy Iran’s demands. But again, that is something that is based on a fantasy.

Iran is insisting that it was wronged by the U.S. withdrawal from the deal. A statement released by the Iranian government following the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal said, “Iran, as a country that has remained committed to its legal obligations.”

Iran, of course, has not abided by the JCPOA. For example, in Congressional testimony last year, former weapons inspector and head of the Institute for Science and International Security, David Albright, said that the IAEA had never judged Iran to be fully compliant with the deal. He criticized the agency for a lack of transparency in reporting on Iranian violations. Albright described the violations as “flirting with violations in several areas.” These areas include its development of advanced centrifuges, twice exceeding its limits on heavy water, suspicious nuclear procurement efforts, and seeking to exceed the allowable cap on low enriched uranium.

In January, a United Nations panel found that Iran had violated a UN arms embargo on the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Though the panel was focused on a different resolution governing the conflict in Yemen, the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the nuclear deal, are quite clear.

A recent UN investigation found that Syria used Iranian-made shells in a deadly chemical weapons attack in April.

Iran, according to Resolution 2231, is prohibited from “the supply, sale, transfer, manufacture, maintenance, or use of arms” to other actors until 2020. According to the resolution, Iran is specifically prohibited from the sale or transfer of ballistic missiles until 2023.

Whether the claim is that Israel is stealing Iran’s clouds, that a planned terror attack in Paris was a false flag operation, or that Iran is committed to fulfilling its legal obligations — these are all false.

For the EU to look for ways to side with Iran against the U.S. to evade sanctions is to take Iranian fantasies at face value. The EU, if it is looking to stabilize the Middle East and reduce the Iranian threat, should be siding with the U.S. and give the Iranian regime choose between bad behavior — seeking nuclear weapons, supporting terror, and, generally, destabilizing its neighbors — and solvency.

As President Donald Trump said when he announced that he was withdrawing from the nuclear deal, Iran’s “bloody ambitions have grown even more brazen” since the deal was implemented.

It’s time for the world to unite and make Iran pay for its aggression. Ignoring the danger, and giving Iran the funds it demands, will only perpetuate the bloodshed.

[Photo: Tasnim  News]