Monday, July 10, 2017

U.S. Should Turn Up the Heat on Iran - Reza Shafiee




by Reza Shafiee

Not taking into account the mullahs’ brutality at home, which is unprecedented in Iran’s modern history, the destabilizing role it has played in the region since day one is more than enough for the international community to draw the line.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for “regime change” in Iran. He made the comments in a hearing on State Department budget for next year before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Secretary Tillerson’s testimony on Iran coupled with that of near unanimous Senate vote on “Countering Iran's Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017” bill condemning mullahs’ missile proliferation program, human rights record and destabilizating role in the Middle East was received in Tehran as a recipe for disaster. It is for the first time in nearly four decades of mullahs’ rule that a U.S. Secretary of State clearly calls for “regime change.” It might be a coincident that at the same time the strongest U.S. Senate vote to date against Iran’s religious dictatorship is passed with 98 votes out of 100.

The bill is also unique because while it targets most important issues involving the Iranian regime’s provocative actions, it has not violated the nuclear deal or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA) struck by Obama administration. It is an important reminder since the deal is often used as an excuse to give the regime in Tehran a free pass.

Some in the West were falsely led to believe that Hassan Rouhani’s second term would reign in Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) ambiguous missile proliferation program. In the weeks after the sham election and before his official inauguration it is abundantly clear that no such change is in Iranian political horizons.

“They are taken by mistake if the new U.S. rulers think they can pressurize Iran with bills … in the Senate and Congress,” Rouhani said in reference to a new Senate move, IRNA news agency reported on June 21. Earlier in his second term victory speech Rouhani vowed to continue with mullahs’ missile program.

On June 21, the Iranian opposition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the whistle-blower of mullahs’ nuclear and missile programs, held a press conference in its Washington office to give newly obtained information on the regime missile program from sources inside Iran. Its largest affiliate, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (POMI/MEK), first obtained the information that IRGC with the help of North Korean engineers are developing and testing a variety of medium and long range missiles. 

It is no secret that since the 2015 nuclear deal the Iranian regime has stepped up production and testing of ballistic missiles. It has been playing permanent host to scientists from North Korea, which has the know-how to build and launch atomic weapons. The mullahs’ regime sees North Korea’s help and knowledge so crucial to its missile program that it has housed their scientists and technicians in Tehran.

NCRI says that IRGC is working in 42 missile sites. The regime is busy in ‘development, manufacture, and testing of missiles by the IRGC. It also determined that at least one such center, located in Semnan Province, 52 miles southeast of Tehran, was actively collaborating with the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (Persian abbreviation: SPND), which had previously been identified as the institution in charge of nuclear weapons-related work in the Islamic Republic.’

“On the basis of specific intelligence, the IRGC’s missile sites have been created based on North Korean models and blueprints,” the NCRI said. “North Korean experts have helped the Iranian regime to build them. Underground facilities and tunnels to produce, store, and maintain missiles have also been modeled after North Korean sites and were created with the collaboration of the North Korean experts.”

NCRI also exposed in April secret facilities IRGC uses to enrich uranium. Something will never change with this regime. It is constantly looking for back doors when it comes to transparency and coming clean on its nuclear and missile programs. They two are indivisible components of keeping the mullahs’ regime afloat in the turbulent times. 

A close examination of Iranian regime’s ever growing harassment of its neighbors, not to mention its direct involvement in soon to be 7 years old Syrian war, harassment of ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz and especially that of the US Navy vessels, demonstrate that it is not going to back off. General Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an interview recently that Iran is “harassing US and international maritime activities” in the Persian Gulf. There have been reports of vessels originated from Iran carrying weapons for Houthis in Yemen. French navy patrolling the area near Bab-el-Mandeb intercepted a few of them last year.

Not taking into account the mullahs’ brutality at home, which is unprecedented in Iran’s modern history, the destabilizing role it has played in the region since day one is more than enough for the international community to draw the line.

The new sanctions bill is an effective first step to push back. Since its introduction the Iranian regime’s official are terrified of consequences and some have called it ‘mother of all sanctions’ or the ‘black hole.’ It is obvious that a “regime change” policy which does not involve US military intervention requires putting some teeth into it in another way. The bill and similar measures such as outright black listing of IRGC as the main actor in all the regime’s devious activities in Iran, in the region, and beyond requires such drastic measures. Recognizing the legitimate resistance of Iranian people against the regime is another undeniable component of a “regime change.” 


Reza Shafiee (@shafiee_shafiee) is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/07/us_should_turn_up_the_heat_on_iran.html

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