ANALYSIS: Understanding Washington’s fast-evolving Iran policy

On the doorstep of US President Donald Trump’s first National Security Strategy speech, the administration launched an unprecedented campaign of pinpointing the crosshairs on the epicenter of all extremism causing havoc across the Middle East: Iran.

This comes following a Wall Street Journal article explaining how in the post-ISIS world Washington will begin pinpointing its focus and resources on the larger and more dangerous threat posed by Tehran.

‘Hard look’

The Trump administration has made it clear that a wide array of destructive policies adopted by Tehran have become unacceptable, a clear indication of the end of Iran’s years of windblown successes, thanks mainly to eight years of the Obama’s unbridled appeasement policy and strategic mistakes of previous administrations.

Described as a “first” by Reuters, last Thursday US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley displayed a detailed exhibition of Iranian equipment used to arm Yemen’s Houthi militias – long known to be backed by Iran – and thus, to destabilize the region, especially its archrival, Saudi Arabia.

“We are not just focused on the nuclear program,” Haley said during a press conference at a US Department of Defense hangar where the Iranian equipment were placed before the media. “We’re also taking a hard look at Iran’s ballistic missile program, its arms exports, and its support for terrorists, proxy fighters and dictators.”

Iran can also be described as the facilitator, and maybe even the godfather, of a slate of malign practices rendering suffering across the Arabian Peninsula, leading to the Levant and eastward to Central Asia.

“It’s hard to find a terrorist group in the Middle East that does not have Iran’s fingerprints all over it,” Haley continued, adding how this regime is “fanning the flames” of conflict.

It is worth reminding that for decades the US State Department has considered Iran the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. We may actually be on the verge of meaningful and long overdue measures against Tehran on this very important and vital subject.

A different Iraq

US policy shifting also faces major decisions regarding the path forward in Iraq, as the three year war against ISIS group begins to wind down and Washington seeks to roll back Tehran’s influence over Baghdad. Disputes between the central government and the Kurdish region, parallel to the May general elections in which Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi seeks reelection, are important subjects for all parties involved.

“Iran simply does not respect the sovereignty of its neighbors,” said Douglas Silliman, the US Ambassador to Iraq, while voicing how Washington is encouraged over recent efforts made by Baghdad to establish stronger ties with Riyadh and Amman.

This adds to Tehran’s troubles in Mesopotamia, as there are signs of growing rifts among its allies in Iraq’s Shiite majority. A stereotype mentality would suggest Iran is seeking the return of Nouri al-Maliki, a former prime minister considered by many as extremely loyal to Tehran.

Maliki, however, would need the unified support of Iraq’s Shiite community. Troubling Iran’s intentions is how various influential figures, such as Muqtada Sadr, have established close ties with Riyadh or signaled their own objectives.

Hadi al-Amiri, commander of Iraq’s largest Shiite paramilitary group, the so-called Badr Organization, called on his fighters on Thursday to begin taking orders from the national military and end their ties with the group’s political wing.

This move, parallel to unconfirmed reports of orders for the group’s fighters to withdraw from cities they currently control, paves the path for Amiri to take part in the upcoming May 12th parliamentary elections.

Back in July, Ammar al-Hakim, a politician known for his links to Iran, withdrew from the Tehran-backed Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq to launch a new party, the National Wisdom Movement. Al-Hakim has claimed to seek Sunni support for his new initiative.

July was the same month of Sadr’s Saudi and UAE visit, and he also raised eyebrows by calling for the controversial Popular Mobilization Forces to dismantle and integrate into the country’s armed forces.

Reports also indicate that Sadr intends to establish a political alliance with Abadi, the al-Wataniya slate of Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi and the Civil Democratic Alliance before May’s elections. Raising concerns for Iran is the fact that all these parties have called for political reforms in Iraq.

Necessary deterrence

With the US military effort against ISIS decreasing in necessity, the Trump administration is also weighing the future of its Syria campaign, with Iran on their mind. Having recently announced the presence of more than 2,000 American forces stationed currently in Syria, the new goal for these units is a highly debated subject.

As we remember the drastic experience of Obama’s premature pull-out of Iraq and the resulting consequences that paved the path for the rise of ISIS, US Defense Secretary James Mattis has indicated American troops have no intention of leaving the Levant in the foreseeable future.

It is vital to ensure ISIS is prevented the ability to morph into a dangerous new entity with the potential of raising new threats in this already hostile region. Furthermore, rest assured Washington is taking into considerable consideration the presence of Iranian proxies across the Levant, and how the stationing of US troops on the ground acts as a major deterrence element against Tehran’s treacherous initiatives.

Times have changed

Advocates of engagement vis-à-vis Iran are accusing the Trump administration of trailing the path of launching a war with Iran. Their intentions are far from preventing the US from entering a new war, but to protect Tehran from any strong measures, including international sanctions that target the regime and actually benefit the people by weakening the ruling system.

This piece is not a call for war with Iran, and there is a logic that needs understanding for those concerned about Iran responding violently to a US policy shift. Tehran’s support for militias in Iraq back in the 2000s enjoyed the support of two key elements:

1. A completely unified Iranian regime with former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad acting as the puppet of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

2. Billions in revenue rendered by skyrocketing oil prices soaring up to nearly $140 a barrel in June 2008.

This is not the case today, as Iranian politics is a scene of unprecedented internal quarrels described locally as “dogfights,” and the lowered price of oil and increasing sanctions leveled against Tehran are disrupting the regime’s efforts, seeking to maximize its regional bellicosity.

‘Global threat’

As emphasized by Ambassador Haley, it is high time for the international community to take decisive action, such as crippling sanctions targeting the regime and its belligerent institutions, to finally bring an end to what has become “a global threat.”

The Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran, known for blowing the whistle on Tehran’s clandestine nuclear program, indicates how a “firm policy hinges on the following practical measures:

– Evicting the IRGC and its proxy militias from Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Afghanistan, and preventing the transfer of Iran’s weaponry and troops to these countries;

– Imposing comprehensive sanctions on Iran and the IRGC, especially preventing their access to the global banking system;

– Referring Iran’s human rights violations dossier, particularly the 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners, to The International Criminal Court, and placing the regime’s senior officials responsible for these crimes before justice;

– Imposing previous UNSC resolutions covering Iran’s nuclear weapons program, banning uranium enrichment, and launching unconditional inspections into the regime’s military and non-military sites.”

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ANALYSIS: The ball is rolling in Syria, against Iran

Developments over Syria following recent collaborations between leaders of the United States and Russia have gained significant momentum. This also signals a decreasing Iranian role and a prelude to further setbacks for Tehran.

An hour long phone call last Tuesday between US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin followed the latter’s meeting with Syrian regime leader Bashar al-Assad.

After allocating billions on its Levant campaign, Iran is witnessing its hegemony fading as measures aimed at bringing the Syria war to a close gain momentum.

Political flexibility

The leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran agreed last week to facilitate a full-scale political process in Syria and to sponsor a conference in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi to end the war.

While some may consider this a victory for Iran, jumping to early conclusions blinds us from understanding how Tehran sought full hegemony in Syria. Today, circumstances account to major setbacks.

Putin’s hosting of talks on Syria inclines that Moscow calls the shots. This leaves Tehran deeply concerned, especially following its six-year long campaign to maintain Assad in power. The mere fact that Iran is sitting at the table with Russia, also in talks with the US over different issues, and Turkey, a Syrian opposition supporter, leaves no doubt Tehran will need to display political flexibility.

After allocating billions on its Levant campaign, Iran is witnessing its hegemony fading as measures aimed at bringing the Syria war to a close gain momentum. (Reuters)

Many would argue a pact between Washington and Moscow will define the blueprint of finalizing Syria’s crisis. Did the Sochi talks place Tehran and Ankara in line with Moscow and Washington? Doubts remain in this regard and Iran understands clearly how a post-ISIS Syria will come at a heavy price.

And with Russia significantly scaling down its military presence on the ground in Syria, Iran’s dreams of a Shiite crescent are endangered, to say the least. Moreover, the mere fact that China is considering a role in reconstructing post-war Syria means more players in the future of this country, and a declining part for Iran.

Seeking to safeguard its interests in Syria, Iran’s terrorist-designated Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) is also eyeing a share in Syria’s reconstruction. This should sound alarm bells, especially since such a role would provide a front for Iran’s efforts to maintain a foothold in the Levant.

Higher global interests

Certain is the fact that Russia’s reservations are not limited to Syria. On the international stage Moscow and Washington enjoy a certain stature. This said, it is quite obvious Moscow will not sacrifice its higher global interests for Syria.

The phone call between Trump and Putin is a sign of coordination between their two countries in Syria. With Washington playing an observer role in the Astana talks weighing Syria, one can conclude their role in the Levant is not eliminated.

Far from it, in fact. US Defense Secretary James Mattis said recently how the US is in Syria to stay. “US troops, in Syria to fight Islamic State, won’t be packing their bags now the jihadist group is essentially beaten. They’re staying on,” Bloomberg reported. This comes as the Pentagon is also likely to announce the presence of around 2,000 US troops in Syria, according to Reuters.

Iran understands fully that US presence in Syria is a source of dilemma for any future plans in the region. Considering the drastic consequences of Obama’s premature departure from Iraq, there are doubts Trump will allow such a repeat in Syria.

Riyadh’s reservations

Considering the relations between Russia and Saudi Arabia, one can conclude that Moscow will also be taking Riyadh’s reservations over Syria into consideration. Knowing the Arab world’s support is crucial, Putin will strive to obtain Riyadh’s consent.

In his latest meeting with United Nations special envoy on Syria, Staffan de Mistura, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov emphasized how his government worked with Saudi Arabia to unify the Syrian opposition, also indicating UN’s blessing for this latest push.

Unlike Iran, Assad remaining in power is not a red line for Russia. And Moscow will seek Riyadh’s cooperation to have the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council and regional states jump on the train to bring a final end to the Syria crisis.

This spells into a more significant role for Saudi Arabia, Iran’s Middle East archrival, whose Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has in a recent New York Times interview described Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei “the new Hitler of the Middle East.”

Foreign Ministers, Sergei Lavrov (C) of Russia, Walid al-Muallem (L) of Syria and Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran, attend a news conference in Moscow, Russia, April 14, 2017. (Reuters)

 

The shadow

Fueling more concerns for Iran is the fact that the Sochi talks focused on establishing peace and stability in Syria based on United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254. This platform was even described by Iranian state media as an “American and Zionist conspiracy.”

The shadow of UN-backed solutions for Syria will continue to haunt Tehran. Putin also emphasized changes in the process of Syria’s political agreement will render based on the Geneva agreement framework.

To add insult to injury, the Syrian opposition meeting Thursday in Riyadh agreed to dispatch a single bloc for next weeks’ UN-backed peace talks. Nasr Hariri, a known Syrian opposition figure selected as the new chief negotiator, is heading to Geneva for the talks set to begin tomorrow. The opposition is ready to discuss “everything on the negotiating table,” according to Hariri.

Tehran would have been delighted to continue fragmenting the Syrian opposition, as witnessed throughout the 6½ year war.

Iran’s dilemma

An opportunity is available to end Syria’s fighting, with a high possibility that a final political solution will materialize in the Geneva talks.

Iran, however, thrives on increasing violence across the region. Any decrease in such tensions is against Tehran’s interests as it allows the international community to place its crosshairs on Iran’s belligerence, including a controversial nuclear programdeveloping ballistic missiles, as senior Revolutionary Guards commanders recently threatened, spreading its influence across the Middle East through supporting terrorism and proxy groups across the board, and human rights violations.

In his abovementioned interview, the Saudi Crown Prince reiterated how the world has “learned from Europe that appeasement doesn’t work.” As the international community seeks to bring an end to the war in Syria, appeasing Iran through this delicate process must be strictly prohibited.

ANALYSIS: Is Iran’s intransigence whiplashing onto its population?

Iran’s aggressions across the Middle East and its support for terrorist and fundamentalist organizations have raised strong remarks from senior regional officials and their American counterparts. And the impact is whiplashing back into Iran’s population.

Iran is ramping up its illicit activities across the Middle East, especially in Syria and Iraq, and threatens free navigation in international waters, according to the US military’s top officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, as he explained his concerns to the Senate Armed Forces Committee at a recent hearing.

Last month’s United Nations General Assembly in New York was the scene of many foreign ministers and other senior officials making strong remarks criticizing Iran’s meddling in regional countries and its unbridled backing of proxy groups checkered throughout the Middle East.

“The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy,” said US President Donald Trump during his first UNGA speech. Tehran’s regime is a “rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos,” he added.

Iranian soldiers attend the swearing-in ceremony for Iranian president Hassan Rouhani for a further term, at the parliament in Tehran, Iran, August 5, 2017. (Reuters)

A regional voice

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir condemned Tehran’s belligerence and accused this regime of providing financial support for sectarian proxy groups in Syria and Iraq.

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan said Iran is disrespecting others’ rights with its expansionist policies and plays a very important role in destabilizing the region through its meddling.

Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa accused Iran of supporting terrorist organizations, including the Lebanese Hezbollah, and emphasized any normalization in relations with Tehran hinges on this regime ending its support of terrorism. Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi said the Iran-backed Houthi militias are executing Iran’s interventionist agendas in the region.

Kuwait’s envoy in the UNGA called on Tehran to bring an end to its measures threatening regional security. he Cairo-based Arab League closed their September 12th session issuing a statement condemning Iran’s “meddling in Arabic countries.”

“We call on Iran to end its hostile remarks, provocative measures and media attacks against Arabic countries as such actions are considered flagrant meddling in the internal affairs of these Arab states. We condemn Iran’s meddling in the internal affairs of Bahrain and the Syria crisis. These interventions can render dangerous results for Syria’s future, security, sovereignty, stability and national unity.”

Maryam Rajavi, (C) founder of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) and president of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) speaks on June 27, 2014 in Villepinte. (AFP)

As concerns also circle over Iran’s recruiting of fighters from as far as Pakistan and Afghanistan for the Syria war, a new Human Rights Watch report indicates how this campaign has involved Tehran’s conscripting of even Afghan children.

This is parallel to US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis accusing Iran and Russia of continuing to provide armed support to the Afghan Taliban, media reports said on Saturday

Slate of challenges

The stances adopted by these countries provide no other conclusion that one of Iran’s red lines and main pillars, being its regional ambitions and initiatives, is clearly threatened.

Many countries, especially the Gulf states, are realizing more than ever before that the Middle East will not experience a single day of stability or security as long as Iran continues to support terrorist groups and prolongs its fundamentalist measures.

Iran’s state-affiliated Arman daily ran a piece on September 14th titled, “Iran’s regional and international challenges,” describing this regime’s foreign ministry facing two super-challenges across the region and abroad.

Holding states hostage

Despite all these setbacks in the region and across the globe, and considering all this hatred targeting Tehran, this regime has no choice other than continuing its destructive meddling and support for terrorism throughout the Middle East.

It is obvious that Iran’s objective is to literally hold these states hostage and to protect its “strategic depth,” mainly referring to their foothold and influence in Syria.

As senior Iranian officials, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei have said time and again, if their “strategic depth” is threatened this regime will have to face its domestic dilemmas. This means a powder keg populace and the Iranian opposition movement in the very streets of Iranian cities.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during Friday prayers in Tehran September 14, 2007. (Reuters)

“Had the ill-wishers and plotters not been prevented from their evil deeds in Syria we would have to prevent them in the Iranian provinces of Tehran, Fars, Khorasan and Isfahan, so it is better we do it there,” Khamenei said back in June. This would be a recipe for disaster and brews a crisis far more dangerous than regional and international isolation.

Iran is known to use its war machine of terrorism and meddling in other countries as means to cloak its domestic crackdown and predicaments. Interesting is the fact that the Iranian people are realizing how Tehran’s regime is becoming weaker by the day. This is seen in their growing number of rallies and the political nature of their demands.

Matters become far worse as Iran enjoys an organized opposition movement seen in the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) able to motivate and guide protest movements to an extent causing major concerns for Tehran.

The semi-official Fars news agency, affiliated to the Revolutionary Guards, even wired a piece warning the entire regime: “… fear the millions, young and old… all waiting for just a spark to set fire to everything… Have fear, and know that when the storm arrives, there will be nowhere to hide. All paths will be closed… you won’t even reach the airplane’s steps as the Shah was able to…” referring to when the Shah of Iran fled only weeks prior to the 1979 revolution.

Is Regime Change Truly The Correct Iran Policy?

Following the recertification of Iran’s compliance with a nuclear deal aimed at curbing its controversial nuclear program, there is quite a stir over the Trump administration possibly adopting a regime change policy in the face of Tehran’s belligerence.

There are those who favor such a trajectory, while Iran lobbyists and apologists have promptly argued otherwise, saying war should not be an option and citing ongoing campaigns in countries across the region to back their opinions.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s strong position of supporting regime change in a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee sent shockwaves in Tehran and beyond.

“Our policy towards Iran is to push back on (its regional) hegemony, contain their ability to develop, obviously, nuclear weapons and to work towards support of those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of that government,” he said.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis, known for his “Iran, Iran, Iran” description of the source of Middle East dilemmas, followed suit.

“Until the Iranian people can get rid of this theocracy, these guys who think they can tell the people even which candidates they get a choice of. It’s going to be very, very difficult,” Mattis said in a special interview.

It is broadly assumed that the diplomatic pressure and sanctions initiative embarked upon by the White House and Congress are aimed at serving a regime change objective in Iran. The next necessary step would be to make this policy crystal clear to Tehran and all relevant parties.

Such strong statements made by Tillerson and Mattis dig deep into the Iran dossier and realize one stark, and very positive, difference between Iran and its neighbors. In contrast to others, the Iran regime change enterprise enjoys a long-term plan presented by a grass-rooted opposition movement, symbolized in the Iranian opposition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

Unfortunately, the campaigns launched in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and even Syria, after former US president Barack Obama said the dictator Bashar Assad must go, all lacked this very necessary element, and the world remains witness in horror of the drastic consequences. Millions left killed and injured, scores more displaced, trillions of dollars literally wasted and entire cities and countries leveled. And the only benefactor has been the mullahs’ regime…, being an entirely different topic of discussion.

Tehran lobbyists stationed in Washington are heard saying Iran also lacks any such organized opposition capable of delivering anything different from what we have witnessed in other countries. For years they have been inaccurately mischaracterizing the NCRI as lacking adequate organization, support and resources.

To spare time, one needs only refer to this coalition’s recent July 1st convention in Paris, held annually, for a glimpse of its social base and international backing. Over 100,000 members of the Iranian Diaspora, joined by hundreds of international dignitaries from all walks of life representing a conglomerate of political trends, shows how the NCRI, and its President Maryam Rajavi, have garnered growing support both inside Iran and abroad to bring about regime change and establish freedom and democracy in their homeland.

Advocates of the appeasement approach vis-à-vis Iran will further continue quarreling over how the West must continue its effort of seeking internal Iranian elements of moderation.

Ever since the 1980s a slate of senior Iranian regime officials, including former prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, former presidents Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami, and now Hassan Rouhani have been naively dubbed as “moderates” or “reformists.”

What deserves comprehension after 35 years of deception is the fact that Iran’s “moderate/reformist” pretext has long surpassed its expiration date. While the Iranian people are yearning for change, there is no such appetite, capacity or potential in Tehran’s ruling mullahs’ apparatus.

  • Mousavi supported the regime’s unnecessary continuation of the war against Iraq, devastating the lives of millions,
  • Rafsanjani supervised a domestic cleansing of dissident voices, and a string of assassinations and terrorist plots abroad,
  • Khatami presided over the 1999 student uprising crackdown and advanced Tehran’s clandestine nuclear weapons drive,
  • and Rouhani’s first term as president rendered the execution of over 3,000 individuals, and the trend continues as we speak with over 100 executions in July alone. Rouhani has also blessed a dangerous spike in ballistic missile advancements by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

As a result, any form of moderation or reform is nothing but a hoax misused by Tehran to continue misleading and deceiving the international community, while threatening the rise of hardliners if the likes of Rouhani are deserted.

Returning to the decidedly significant statements made by Tillerson and Mattis, it is high time such game-changing rhetoric receives deserved backing from President Donald Trump himself.

Iran must feel the heat from Washington’s policies, especially as Tehran prolongs its Middle East belligerence plaguing Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen, and endures its harassing of the US Navy in Persian Gulf waters.

America must take the lead in facing Iran over its fundamentalist nature both inside the country and abroad. The Trump administration should begin architecting an international coalition to back the NCRI’s drive for regime change and peaceful democratization of Iran.

After four decades of utter atrocities, it is the Iranian people’s right to live in peace and prosperity.

Blueprinting the Right Iran Policy

very reluctant US President Donald Trump recently gave the green light for the State Department to recertify Iran as complying with a nuclear agreement signed between international community representatives and Tehran two years ago.

This measure has hurled ongoing debates, launching a faceoff amongst those who consider the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as a liability and seek an immediate exit, and those who argue the world simply can’t live without it.

While there are also calls for renegotiating the deal or implementing the JCPOA to its exact meaning, as mentioned recently by senior US officials such as inspecting Iran’s military sites, there is another option before the Trump White House: supporting the Iranian people and calls for regime change.

What needs understanding is that Trump’s agenda of adopting a firm stance on Iran should not be minimized on the JCPOA. This would play into Iran’s hand, while Tehran continues its belligerence elsewhere.

The Trump administration has before it an opportunity to adopt meaningful leverage on Iran.

We must give credit to the Obama administration for establishing an international coalition and initially ramping up sanctions against Iran. This is what brought Tehran to the negotiating table, as economic strains began reaching the point of no return.

Obama’s mistakes afterwards were treacherous, however, succumbing to Iran’s demands. Tehran came to believe Obama sought a foreign policy legacy at all costs, and took full advantage. Whereas if the US led the international community in pressuring the mullahs, Tehran would have given in to all demands.

Never forget how despite all his saber-rattling remarks, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei ordered the nuclear agreement approved in the regime’s parliament in 20 minutes.

Yet to those who believe continuing with the JCPOA as it is, a look back at the past two years is necessary. Iran has used the deal’s resulting in reportedly up to a $150 billion windfall to expand its Middle East hegemony. Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon are under substantial Tehran influence, leaving the region heavily battered more than ever before.

To add insult to injury, the JCPOA’s sunset articles provide Iran the option of patiently awaiting until they can produce all that is necessary for a nuclear weapon.

Iran is already cheating the nuclear deal due to Obama’s desperate positions in his final years. Tehran exceeded its heavy water production cap. Heavy water is the fundamental ingredient in a plutonium bomb. Iran has been testing more advanced centrifuges, again undermining JCPOA limits. According to German intelligence services Iran has been illicitly procuring highly sensitive nuclear and ballistic missile technology in Germany. Tehran has also exceeded its uranium enrichment cap, another major non-compliance factor.

The deal left the Trump administration little to work with, and no serious building block to build pressure on Tehran.

As a result, abandoning the deal allows Iran make a dash for nuclear weapons capability and leaves the US to blame. In such a scenario, it would most likely take more time for Washington to form an international coalition necessary to re-impose necessary measures.

The Obama approach encouraged the Europeans and other parties to rush to the Iranian market. This effectively has been providing further billions to the notorious Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as this entity controls more than 40% of Iran’s economy. Such a disastrous dogma has also left the Trump administration reluctant, or even unable, to fully overhaul Washington’s comprehensive Iran policy and hold Tehran accountable.

In its first six months the Trump administration slapped three different rounds of sanctions, mostly through the Treasury Department, in response to Iran’s ballistic missile test launches, support for terrorism and regional extremism, and egregious human rights violations. While such action is necessary after all the cost-free concessions provided by Team Obama, they fail in forcing Iran to think twice about its measures. However, there is light at the end of this tunnel.

Congress sent a very powerful message to Tehran recently through the House 419-3 and Senate 98-2 votes, slamming an unprecedented level of sanctions and restrictions on Iran. This bill experienced its share of riddles and obstacles, as reservations and alterations have continuously hovered over the Russia and North Korea sections. The Iran chapter, however, continuously enjoyed vast bipartisan support. And Tehran is receiving the message loud clear.

Hossein Shariatmadari, the editor-in-chief of Keyhan daily in Iran, known to be the Supreme Leader’s mouthpiece, described the new bill as the “mother of all sanctions.”

While long overdue, and despite the fact that the IRGC should officially be designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the State Department, the Guards are now blacklisted amongst the Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT).  “The Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), not just the IRGC Quds Force, is responsible for implementing Iran’s international program of destabilizing activities, support for acts of international terrorism and ballistic missiles,” the text reads in part.

Drastic measures will be implemented following Trump’s signature: all US-based assets and property associated to any individual or entity linked to the IRGC will be seized and frozen. No US individual or entity is permitted to any affiliation, including financial, business or other services, with any individual associated by any means to the IRGC. With all IRGC-affiliated individuals and entities placed under sanctions, this move will have a paralyzing effect for Iran’s belligerent efforts. The IRGC Khatam al-Anbiya conglomerate, currently involved in cooperation with over 2,500 companies, will be targeted severely. A domino effect will launch as sanctions target all related firms. Secondary banking sanctions against the IRGC will ban any and all financial institutions from delivering direct and/or indirect banking services to any individual or entity linked to the IRGC.

These sanctions should be imposed immediately to act as a launching pad for the Trump White House to take the next necessary steps. Iran’s footprints in Syria and Iraq have resulted in utter death and destruction. Tehran’s lethal influence in the Levant and Mesopotamia must be brought to an end. Moving on, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have both spoken of regime change as a forward-looking approach when it comes to Iran.

Ambassador John Bolton, former US envoy to the United Nations, said it most clearly at a recent Iranian opposition rally in Paris: “The outcome of the president’s policy review should be to determine that the Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1979 revolution will not last until its 40th birthday,” come February 2019.

Iran: Rouhani, Mattis & more crackdown reports

Rouhani talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk

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Iranian regime president Hassan Rouhani

Iranian regime president Hassan Rouhani made a number of remarks on Thursday, December 1st, shedding light on the mullahs’ deceptive nature.

“… there is a lot of talking, without any serious meaning. We must fix the sewage system. We must fix the water system. We must fix the hospitals, education and …,” he said.

For once Rouhani was right. In the mullahs’ regime there is only talk about what should be done, yet no actions are ever taken to resolve people’s problems. Now let’s see what solution Rouhani has for the unemployed millions in Iran.

“People should be hopeful in the youths finding jobs,” he said.

So, Rouhani is also just another Iranian regime official who talks the talk, and fails to walk the walk. He is encouraging people to be hopeful.

For those who know this deceptive mullah, they have no expectations and only increase their anger about the entire regime. Even the regime’s own officials are ridiculing him.

“(Rouhani) said today the people should be certain in their youths having jobs in the future. He has been kidding around with the issue of unemployment for some time now,” said Mehdi Mohammadi, a known member of Iranian regime leader Ali Khamenei’s faction.

“Around 30% of the employed have lost their jobs since 2013 during his tenure, and around the same amount are concerned of losing their jobs until the end of his 4 year term. This administration has broken all records of unemployment,” he added.

This regime is founded on plundering and bribes. There is no solution to bring an end to these crises from within the regime. Therefore, the people know very well that the solution lies in bringing an end to the mullahs’ rule in Iran.

 

Mattis considers Iran as sole ongoing threat for Middle East peace & security

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General James Mattis

Iran has been terrified following the announcement of General James Mattis as Secretary of Defense for U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet.

“It is now crystal clear that General Mattis is the individual who had described Iran as the sole ongoing threat for peace and security in the Middle East, and this will be the main line for the new U.S. administration’s policies vis-à-vis Iran. He will also be an individual who will one day provide advice to Donald Trump to use military force against Iran,” said former Revolutionary Guards commander Mohsen Rezaie. He is currently secretary of the Iranian regime’s Expediency Council.

Regarding the Iran nuclear deal Mattis is known to believe the White House made a grave mistake in not placing further hurdles before Iran to prevent this regime from sending weapons, financial aid and military forces to the Assad regime in Syria, and sending a significant amount of weapons to Yemen.

“In my opinion, Daesh (ISIS/ISIL) is nothing more than an excuse for Iran to continue its misbehavior. Iran is not the enemy of Daesh. They are profiting extremely from the unrest brewed by Daesh in the region,” the Tasnim news agency, affiliated to the terrorist Revolutionary Guards Quds Force, reported citing Mattis.

 

Regime agents attack memorial ceremony

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Iran regime agents vicious attack memorial ceremony in Karaj

The Iranian regime’s intelligence agents viciously attacked a memorial gathering held Friday in Karaj, west of Tehran. This ceremony was in memory of Mohammad Jafar Puyaende and Mohammad Mokhtari, two victims of the chain murders that plagued Iran in the 1990s. Many of those attending the gathering were beaten and others arrested.

Intelligence agents first prevented others from joining the initial gathering, and thus staged their attack, eyewitnesses reported. Six individuals were arrested.

Mokhtari and Puhande were murdered by agents of the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence.

 

Political prisoner’s health conditions failing Evin Prison

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Political prisoner Arash Sadeghi

Political prisoner Arash Sadeghi has been on hunger strike for over 40 days in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison. He was transferred to Taleghani Hospital after his blood pressure dropped significantly and “began vomiting blood clots.” Physicians have reported the conditions of this political prisoner as very dire, yet he was returned to Evin Prison as he refused any serum therapy due to his hunger strike.

During the past week Sadeghi has been losing his ability to speak.

Amnesty International warned about Sadeghi’s conditions.

“The health of jailed Iranian human rights defender Arash Sadeghi has deteriorated. He has been on hunger strike since 24 October protesting the imprisonment of his wife, Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, a human rights defender jailed for writing a story about stoning.”

Sadeghi has been on hunger strike since October 24th, protesting inhumane prison conditions and the apprehension of his wife.