Why Biden can’t release Iran’s Revolutionary Guards
The White House announced on Wednesday that it was imposing new sanctions on an Iranian oil smuggling and money laundering ring made up of ten individuals and nine companies in several different countries. WE the officials specifically alleged that the network’s operations were directed by the regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and that it had also received substantial support from Russia, which is expected to rely more heavily on circumvention Iranian-style sanctions in the face of extensive international sanctions linked to the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine.
To the extent that they target the IRGC, the new sanctions are arguably among the strongest indicators so far that the Biden administration intends to maintain or expand any existing pressures. The administration has already come under fire from various foreign allies and US lawmakers, including some from the president’s own political party, for refusing to rule out the prospect of removing the IRGC from the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations.
This month, Canada canceled a scheduled friendly soccer match with the Iranian national team after a torrent of public criticism of the planned event. Critics say Tehran should be held responsible for the IRGC’s downing of an airliner in January 2020, which killed all 176 passengers on board the plane.
The Iranian regime imposed the delisting request during negotiations in Vienna, which aim to reinstate the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Tehran appeared to be digging its heels in even further in March after negotiations were suspended following Russian demands that new sanctions against Moscow would not interfere with the potential expansion of Russian trade relations with Iran. Russian officials then vaguely proclaimed they had received the requested assurances, but the same pause persists to this day, with Iranian negotiators saying they will only return to Vienna to sign a deal that reflects US capitulation to the demand. delisting from the IRGC.
The prospect of that signing has since faded, and some experts have since come to the conclusion that the Vienna negotiations and the JCPOA are effectively dead, although participating governments still refuse to accept them as such. Nevertheless, some US and European officials have recently abandoned their old optimism and have begun to recognize that it is highly unlikely, although not impossible, that the current impasse will be overcome.
This trend was evident again on Wednesday when Rob Malley, the State Department’s special envoy for Iran, appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and was questioned by lawmakers whose skepticism about nuclear deal has been public knowledge for months. , if not years. Senator Bob Menendez, the Democratic chairman of that committee, said it was an “increasingly clear reality” that there is no imminent return to a deal he considers “not in the USA”.strategic interests.
Meanwhile, Malley himself said the prospect of re-implementing the JCPOA was “diminent” and that the Biden administration was actively preparing for a situation in which the Vienna talks would fail and the deal would ultimately be declared dead. .
The latest assessments from the International Atomic Energy Agency now indicate that Iran has stockpiled ninety pounds of these materials while still refusing to cooperate with investigations into the origin and status of the nuclear materials that were found to have been present at three undeclared nuclear sites, including the Parchin military base.
This base made international headlines again on Thursday when it was reported that an “accident” at a defense research unit had caused the death of an engineer. The incident is likely to raise new questions among Western policymakers about the nature of the military projects currently being pursued within the Iranian regime, as well as the limits that would be placed on oversight of these projects even if the JCPOA were reinstated. work.
Tehran has long presented all US sanctions as aggression against the Iranian people, despite the fact that there are exclusions in these sanctions for the trade in humanitarian goods. The regime’s narrative has apparently been dismissed by the public in a number of recent anti-government uprisings, one of which has been ongoing since food prices jumped 400% in early May. Among the slogans that define the uprisings is a chant that says the enemies of the Iranian people are inside the mullahs’ regime and that “they lie when they say it’s AmericanCalifornia.” The main opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), has openly embraced the idea of expanded sanctions against the Iranian regime, arguing that an influx of foreign capital into the country would only reach not the general public anyway.
The regime has been emboldened by the recent visit to Iran of Alena Douhan, the UN special rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures. Its report last week called for an end to sanctions against Iran after claiming they were hampering the enjoyment of human rights by Iranian citizens. But several human rights groups had warned in advance that Tehran would promote a self-serving narrative during its visit and exploit a favorable conclusion to evade responsibility for systematic human rights abuses. by the regime. During near seventeen years the Iranian authorities have avoided requests for access to the country by UN special rapporteurs, finally extending an invitation to the one and only person whose defined mission is to question the effects of pressure foreign to a given country.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist, Harvard-educated scholar, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council. He can be reached at [email protected].