On April 13, the world witnessed yet another escalation of Iranian violence, when 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 objectives, because Israel and a coalition of countries shot down almost all the incoming drones and missiles, it most definitely served as the strongest demonstration yet of what the Iranian regime wishes to achieve and the threat it poses to 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 principles of liberty, democracy, and human rights that form the foundation of the global order.

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These actions, which Israel has long warned against, underscore the urgent need to stand united in the face of Teheran’s tyranny and aggression.

Iran’s primary tool in its war against Israel and the free world is the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which has become de facto the world’s largest terrorist organization. It has half a million men under its command, two-thirds of which serve in the ranks of its infamous proxies: the Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Shiite militias in Syria and Iraq.

The IRGC has a notorious reputation for perpetrating atrocities 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.

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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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The ongoing attacks on free trade in the Red Sea, orchestrated by Iran and executed by its Houthi proxy, represents a brazen violation of international maritime law and a direct threat to global trade. Iran with the Houthi are seeking to assert violent control over strategic waterways and exert economic pressure on the free world.

Iran’s destructive involvement is not limited to the Middle East alone. Iran actively supports the war against Ukraine, providing the Shahed suicide drones used to attack Ukrainian cities and infrastructure, contributing to the violence and bloodshed. 

Iran has also been increasingly engaged in undermining democracies through social media manipulation. It deploys sophisticated disinformation campaigns and cyber operations aimed at sowing discord, spreading fake news, and influencing public opinion in democratic countries. It seeks to create division and amplify existing discord, undermining trust in democratic institutions. Iran does this by exploiting the very same freedom of speech of which the Iranian people at home are deprived.  

In the face of such aggression, the free world must stand firm and resolute. This is a global challenge that requires a unified and coordinated response, and the free world cannot afford to be complacent. We must work together to push back its negative and divisive influence, to ensure that the Iranian regime pays the consequences for its violations of international norms, and support those who seek to resist and oppose its malignant influence.

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Concrete measures must include imposing sanctions against the Iranian ballistic missile program, designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization and holding it accountable for its egregious violations of human rights and its support and promotion of terrorism. The free world must take robust countermeasures to protect the digital public sphere from Iran’s abuses.

Ultimately, the struggle against Iran’s aggression is a battle for the soul of the free world. It is a test of our resolve, our unity, and our commitment to the principles that define us as nations and as peoples. We cannot afford to fail this test; we must stand together in defense of freedom, democracy, and peace. The stakes could not be higher, and the time to act is now.

The views expressed in this opinion article are the author’s and not necessarily those of Kyiv Post.

Michael Brodsky is Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the State of Israel in Ukraine.

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