by Dr. Majid Rafizadeh
Iran will spend every dollar on fighting the "Great Satan."
We just handed over hundreds of billions of dollars to the Islamist regime of Iran and its military establishment -- which shouts “Death to America” from the rooftops. The regime openly threatens US security and scuttles US national interests in the region. This give-away to the Mullahs is going to be marked as one of the most catastrophic deals of our generation.
The ruling clerics of Iran will now begin to receive relief from major United Nations Security Council sanctions as well as unilateral Western sanctions. They will immediately receive roughly $90 billion. European countries will lift sanctions on major industries, such as gold and metal. The White House will remove major Iranian entities and individuals from the sanctions list. More fundamentally, the lifting of these sanctions will allow the Iranian regime to re-enter the international banking world, and sell oil on the global market.
There is also one major loophole. If Iran decided to resume its nuclear proliferation after sanctions are lifted, there is no adequate UNSC mechanism to roll back sanctions. Because of the geopolitical rivalry between the West, Russia, and China, getting Moscow and Beijing back on the same page is not going to be easy.
In addition, as the European firms will be investing in Iran’s oil and gas markets, they will have less incentive to join the US in pushing for re-imposition of sanctions if Iran heads towards building a nuclear bomb. More than 190 waivers have already been granted by the State Department.
Moreover, the one-year breakout time is not an adequate timeframe to react in, even if the international community caught Iran violating the agreement. Finally, after 10 years, Iran will be allowed to enrich uranium or spin centrifuges at any level that it desires, and the embargo on Iran’s ballistic missiles will be lifted.
It is difficult to comprehend how the International Atomic Energy Agency was able to inspect all nuclear facilities in Iran, approve all the aforementioned conditions, and green-light the Islamic Republic’s compliance in only five months.
Will the deal somehow help the West influence the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy, as President Obama suggests? By analyzing Iran’s foreign policy closely, all evidence indicates that Iran’s anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism and reliance on the application of hard power in the region will instead escalate. After the nuclear deal was reached, Iran increased its deployment of its Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) to directly operate, or financially and militarily support, Tehran’s proxies in the region, including Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. After the nuclear deal, the entire IRGC is being transformed to function as the Quds Force -- which is a smaller elite branch of IRGC operating in foreign countries.
IRGC will continue its crackdown on any opposition, execute dissidents, and suppress freedom of speech, expression and press. The Iranian people will not see the economic and political fruits of sanction relief. Most of the financial gains are going to the IRGC and Quds Forces because they have a monopoly over Iran’s politico-economic establishments. IRGC can easily make the case to Khamenei and the Majlis (parliament) that they need the dollars for defending the country’s regional national security at this critical time of conflict.
Iran will continue to manipulate the West, while its ties with other countries in the region is significantly deteriorating. Ranging from the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei’s increasingly inflammatory speeches and tweets to the testing of ballistic missiles in the region, Iran repeatedly demonstrates its defiance.
All of these actions underline the notion that Iran's intentions are the pursuit of its regional hegemonic ambition, and search for regional superiority and pre-eminence. This will exacerbate the regional crisis and potentially turn it into a major conflagration.
With more dollars in its treasury, the Islamic Republic will be more empowered to continue to spread anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism, while supporting Bashar Al Assad and the ruling Shiite politicians in Iraq, Hezbollah, the Houthis, and other Shiite proxies.
Implementation Day is a delightful day for the Islamist regime of Iran (hardliners and the moderates) as well as the Obama administration. But, this is the beginning of imminent regional war and a dire warning of more concerted efforts to scuttle US foreign policy and threaten Washington’s national security and interests.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-American political scientist and scholar, is president of the International American Council and serves on the board of the Harvard International Review at Harvard University. Rafizadeh is also a former senior fellow at the Nonviolence International Organization based in Washington, DC and is a member of the Gulf Project at Columbia University. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@post.harvard.edu. Follow Rafizadeh at @majidrafizadeh.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.