New sanctions on Iran are a step towards taking power away from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, but there is much more the US and its allies can do.
By Shahriar Kia
The US House of Representatives on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to rally major new sanctions on Iran, parallel to measures on North Korea and Russia. To impose additional sanctions on Iran’s defense sector, The House voted 419–3, moving the bill forward to be signed by President Trump. Coming after three weeks of negotiations, this bill “tightens the screws on our most dangerous adversaries,” explained House Speaker Paul Ryan.
The bill sanctions anyone associated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) or anyone whom the US determines is complicit in Iranian human rights violations. Anyone sanctioned under the act may later have sanctions removed after a five-year review.
Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi welcome the US House of Reps’ new sanctions and terrorist designation of IRGC as essential to rectifying the policy of appeasement and described the act as a “step in line with the Iranian people’s desires and peace in the region,” especially as it turns up the heat on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
The new administration coming to Washington has promised many things, not least of which includes a reexamination of US policies towards Iran. Though the Obama administration did all it could to sell the nuclear deal as a victory, at best it has deferred the ultimate questions about how to deal with the regime in Iran, and at worst it has emboldened their belligerence in the region.
A successful policy vis-a-vis the regime in Tehran has seemingly eluded Republicans and Democrats for the last 16 years. It may be time to try something new.
Middle Eastern states when confronted with intense instability can result in the spread of insecurity across the globe. This includes the threat of terrorism in Europe and the US, and the increase of sectarian conflicts abroad.
Yet there are no easy solutions to these issues. The prospects of being dragged into another war are not appealing to anyone, yet neither can we afford to sit back and watch radical terror spread throughout the Middle East.
Unfortunately, the appeasement policy by the West for the past two decades has exacerbated this problem, directly or indirectly supporting or engaging Islamic fundamentalists at the expense of their main secular and progressive opposition. The cold war policies of arming jihadists and undermining democratic groups is a direct example of this. It is time to employ a reversal of this policy.
A common denominator underlying the rise of ISIS, and the spread of instability and fundamentalism, is none other than the regime in Tehran. No one can deny this. Yet at every turn, we are told that the only solution is one which engages the mullahs and strengthens their grip on power. The time for such thinking is at an end.
The regime has been reluctant to make good on promises of change and thus far has continued its brutal repression of dissidents while maintaining an aggressive policy in the region.
The question of how to guarantee a long term shift in the behavior of the Iranian regime remains unanswered by Iranian regime apologists.
The only long term policy which can guarantee a fundamental change of behavior in Iran, and sets an example for hope and change abroad, is one which recognizes the legitimate rights of the Iranian people to bring about democratic change and topple the theocratic fascist state in Iran.
It is the time that the United States firmly aligned itself with the Iranian opposition which embraces democratic change, freedom and liberty, and secular governance. The Iranian people and their organized resistance should be the primary negotiation partners and allies, not the ruling mullahs.
The principal opposition to the Iranian theocracy, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its main pillar, People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) is one such organization.
“In history, the name of your president elect, Maryam Rajavi, will go down in the same tradition of fighters for freedom as Washington, Lafayette, and Garibaldi,” said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in a speech at the annual NCRI convention held this year on July 1st in Paris.
Rajavi advocates a new future of Iran. This includes a ten-point plan for a democratic secular republic in Iran, free of nuclear weapons, capital punishment, and tolerant to all religions, ethnicities, and ideas.
About Shahriar Kia 8 Articles
Shahriar Kia is a human rights activist and a political analyst writing on Iran and the MIdlle East. As a member of the Iranian opposition, he dedicated his life for the freedom of his people in Iran. He graduated from University of North Texas (USA).
Originally published at practicalpoliticking.com on July 28, 2017.