WILL the appalling attack on Sir Salman Rushdie finally force the West to face down the terrorists in Tehran?
Iran is a rogue state run by religious fanatics and mass murderers.
The “Supreme Leader”, Ayatollah Khamenei, is a medieval religious extremist.
Elections for the President are rigged.
Ordinary Iranians who protest or campaign for freedom are locked up, tortured and executed.
Women are denied basic freedoms. Gay men are hanged from cranes.
And last week’s attack showed Iran is a threat to people who stand up for free speech and religious tolerance in the West too.
Sir Salman has been a target for Islamist extremists since writing his novel, Die Sataniese verse 34 jare terug.
Religious fundamentalists went berserk when it was published.
Iran’s then leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, issued a “fatwa” — an Islamic legal ruling — which demanded that Rushdie and his publishers be killed.
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It was reiterated just three years ago.
Copies of the book were burnt in places such as Bradford.
Rushdie was forced to spend years in hiding. Bookshops were bombed.
A would-be assassin blew himself up assembling a bomb in London. Good riddance to him.
Rushdie’s Japanese translator was murdered and his Norwegian publisher was shot.
Despicably, Iranian state media have been celebrating the attack.
“Let us kiss the hands of the one who tore the neck of the enemy of God with a knife,” wrote one newspaper editorial the day after the attack.
It’s not the first time Tehran has targeted British citizens.
Iranian-sponsored militias have attacked British forces in Iraq.
Laas jaar, an Iranian drone attacked a British-managed tanker in the Gulf.
Two crew members were killed, one of them British.
Charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was kidnapped while visiting her parents and imprisoned for years.
Iran sponsors terrorist attacks around the world and its proxy armies wage wars across the Middle East.
They prop up Assad’s murderous regime in Syria.
Iranian-backed Houthis are waging a civil war that has caused the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
They fund Hezbollah, which has reduced Lebanon to a barely functioning basket case where families struggle to buy food.
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They pour billions into Gaza — not for schools, hospitals or electricity — but for rockets and weapons for Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists to wage war on Israel, one of our closest allies.
They have been trying for decades to develop nuclear weapons to wipe Israel off the map.
In 2015, die VSA, the UK, Rusland, Sjina, France and Germany signed the “JCPOA” nuclear deal which was supposed to prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons.
Of course they flouted the agreement and carried on developing nukes regardless.
As gevolg daarvan, President Trump scrapped the deal and imposed sanctions to bring the regime to heel.
He authorised an attack in Baghdad that killed Iran’s top terrorist, the head of the Revolutionary Guard, Qasem Soleimani.
The Iranians understood the score and just fired a few missiles at empty US bases.
Like bullies the world over, they back down if someone takes them on.
En nou, met Biden in the White House, negotiations on a new deal are back on in Vienna.
Ongelooflik, the Iranians want to put their nuclear equipment in storage instead of scrapping it.
It is even being proposed that Russia is put in charge of making sure they honour the agreement. This is a not a joke.
It is high time we woke up — we might not be at war with Iran, but they and the religious fundamentalists they inspire are certainly at war with us.
And I am sure our possible next PM will rally the West against the fundamentalists in Tehran and the carnage they cause.
It goes without saying we should continue to stand up for the values that make this the greatest country in the world — democracy, [object Window], regverdigheid, tolerance and free speech.
Equality between men and women.
And let’s make clear that we do not believe in burning books or attacking people who write things we disagree with.
To listen to the left and its cancel-culture obsession — we hear more from them about that than Iran’s brutal dictatorship — you could be forgiven for thinking we don’t hold these values dear.
Then instead of polite negotiations in Vienna, we should show them some mettle.
Iran is already subject to sanctions. We should hit them with more.
The Government was right to proscribe Hezbollah and Hamas but Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards fund them both and should be banned in the UK too.
They are already on the US’s terror blacklist.
The country and its leadership’s overseas assets must be frozen and senior figures banned from travelling to the West.
Ban Western businesses from trading with Iran.
We should sever cultural and sporting ties.
Boot the country out of international sporting events, starting with this year’s World Cup in Qatar, where their first match is due to be against England.
Britain has always stood for freedom against tyranny. We know whose side we are on when it comes to facing despots.
It is time for us to rally the West to take a much tougher line with Tehran.