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'Standing Firm Against Iran's Jihad: A Call To Unite For The Free World'

On April 13, the world witnessed yet another escalation in Iranian aggression, when the regime of the Islamic Republic launched a direct attack against Israel, using hundreds of drones, ballistic and cruise missiles. While the attack failed to achieve any military purpose, due to the successful defense efforts of Israel and a coalition of countries, it definitively signaled Iran's destructive ambitions and the threat it poses to regional stability and the free world.

By spreading violence and mayhem—directly, and through its proxies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Gaza—Iran seeks to undermine the pillars of liberty, democracy, and human rights that sustain our global order. These actions, which Israel has long warned against, underscore the urgent need for the free world to stand united in the face of Teheran’s harmful ambitions.

Iran’s main instrument in its assault on Israel and the broader free world is the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), now the world’s largest terrorist organization. With a force of half a million, two-thirds are infamous proxies: Hezbollah in Lebanon, Houthis in Yemen, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas in Gaza, and Shiite militias in Syria and Iraq. The IRGC has a notorious reputation for perpetrating abuses both inside Iran and abroad. Domestically, the IRGC is involved in the brutal suppression of dissent, crackdowns on political activists, and egregious human rights abuses, including arbitrary arrests, torture, and extrajudicial executions. In other parts of the world, the IRGC has been implicated in supporting terrorist organizations, sponsoring proxy wars, and orchestrating attacks against civilian targets. From its role in propping up the Assad regime in Syria to its support for paramilitary groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon, the IRGC's actions have left a trail of destruction and suffering in their wake.

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Iran’s reach extends beyond the Middle East; it undermines democracies worldwide, using social media to sow discord and manipulate public opinion, exploiting freedoms it denies its own people. The ongoing attacks on maritime trade in the Red Sea, led by Iran and its Houthi allies, flagrantly breach international law and threaten global commerce. Moreover, Iran's support for Russia's war in Ukraine, providing weaponry used against civilian targets, further underscores the regime's disregard for international norms.

In the face of such aggression, the free world must stand firm. Diplomatic attempts have faltered in the past, and Iran has exploited these efforts to buy time and strengthen its strategic position. Hence, non-action is not an option. This is a global challenge that requires a unified and coordinated response. We must work together to counter Iran's ambitions, ensure that it faces consequences for its actions, and support those who seek to resist its influence.

Concrete measures must include imposing robust sanctions against Iran's ballistic missile program, designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization and holding it accountable, and taking countermeasures to protect the digital public sphere from Iran's abuses.

Ultimately, the struggle against Iran’s aggression is a battle for the future of the region and the values of the free world. We must stand together in defense of freedom, democracy, and peace. The stakes could not be higher, and the time to act is now.

Ran Yaakoby, Ambassador of Israel to New Zealand

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