The new sanctions imposed on Iran’s January 29 medium-range ballistic missile test triggered a variety of international reactions. There is widespread consent that Iran’s actions should not go unanswered.
There are those who believe that while the actions taken by the Trump administration to this point were necessary, they could have gone further. The truth is these new sanctions are a political warning shot without the power to inflict a significant impact on the mullahs.
Following strong remarks by senior U.S. officials in this regard, senior Iranian officials claimed their missile program is merely for defensive purposes. This goes against past tests when missiles were launched with slogans on them calling for the destruction of Israel. Iran is also known for officials making claims of targeting its Arab neighbors and U.S. bases with its missiles.
“Today, the entire area of the occupied territories [Israel] is within range of the missiles of the resistance – meaning the fall of the Zionist regime. Of course, the matter does not end here, and certainly the final liberation [of Palestine] will come about,” said Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) chief Mohammad Ali Jafari on November 24, 2014 at a conference in Tehran.
A week prior to those remarks, the IRGC Quds Force-affiliated Tasnim news agency posted a diagram indicating the range of Iranian ballistic missiles, which reach up to 2,000 kilometers. This places Greece, southern Italy, southeast Europe, Turkey, the Caucasus, Central Asia, southern Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and all the Arab Gulf states in Iran’s missile range, emphasizing the ongoing threat posed by Tehran’s missiles to the region as well as U.S. strategic interests.
As the driving force behind Iran’s ballistic missile production and expansion, the IRGC is also known as the mullahs’ main meddling entity involved in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon. The IRGC provides the necessary finances and training for all of Iran’s terrorist attacks across the globe, parallel to its support for the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.
Iran’s main economic organs are also under the IRGC’s iron grip. The revenue generated is fundamentally funneled for Iran’s terrorist ambitions and meddling throughout the Middle East.
So, what measure can be taken so that the Iranian regime will truly feel the consequences of its recent ballistic missile tests?
Considering the fact that the IRGC enjoys full control over Iran’s missile program, designating the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization is currently the most effective measure. This will place an enormous shadow over Iran’s missile activities and significantly curb the revenues Tehran desperately needs to finance and provide the necessary logistics to continue its terrorist ambitions and meddling in Middle East countries.
The White House is currently weighing the possibility of blacklisting the IRGC. However, there are also voices against such a move, which argue this will boost hardliners in Iran.
This is an old and deceptive tactic resorted to by the Iranian regime and promoted by Tehran’s lobbies which allows Iran to flee the consequence of its belligerence.
If a soft approach is adopted in the face of Iran’s mullahs, they will view such a response as weak and be emboldened to continue their aggressiveness. Yet rest assured Tehran will understand instantly a firm approach and retreat accordingly, as seen recently when Iran called off a major missile test scheduled for February 3.
It is worth recalling how in 1981 Iran held the 52 American hostages from the U.S. Embassy crisis until the last days of the Carter administration due to Carter’s soft approach with the mullahs. Yet Tehran raced to release them the first day Reagan’s presidency, fearing his firmness.
The Obama administration showed extreme flexibility and granted numerous concessions to the Iran nuclear program and the resulting deal, naïvely attempting to win the mullahs’ hearts and encourage Iran to change its attitude in the Middle East.
“….Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif spent more time with each other than with counterparts from any other nation,” according to The New Yorker.
Iran has spread instability in the world for decades. Blacklisting the IRGC is actually a long overdue measure. The mullahs will hear the message loud and clear, and America will place itself on the right side of history by helping to bring an end to Tehran’s atrocities.
Originally posted in The Clarion Project
Shahriar Kia is a political analyst and member of the Iranian opposition, the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI, also known as the MEK). He graduated from North Texas University.