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Iran’s Impasse and the “Sanctions Black Hole”

Sanctions
Iran’s Impasse and the “Sanctions Black Hole”

The current plan for sanctions against Iran leaves the regime between a proverbial rock and hard place, since its choices are comply or die.

The adoption of “Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017” by the United States Senate has rendered a variety of reactions from Iran resembling the terrified status of the regime’s senior ranks. Iranian media have widely referred to this new bill and the resulting authorizations as the “mother of all sanctions” and the “sanctions black hole.”

“Section 5 of this bill is related to new sanctions against the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). This new bill is dubbed the ‘sanctions black hole’ considering the fact that based on Executive Order 13224, any individual providing services to an identified organization in this Executive Order, that individual or his/her entity will be placed on the US sanctions list or the SDN… with the adoption and implementation of this bill, we can forecast that a few thousand individuals will be placed in the SDN sanctions list…,” according to IRGC-affiliated semi-official Fars news agency.

Based on the articles of this new bill, any individual or entity in cooperation with the IRGC will be sanctioned. Iran’s concerns are not over the mere military aspect of the IRGC sanctions, as the economic impact is of grave importance.

For decades the IRGC has monopolized most of Iran’s economy – extracting oil, taking over a large percentage of Iran’s imports/exports and a number of airliners. As a result, these new sanctions bear the potential to literally paralyze Tehran’s entire economy. From the mullahs’ perspective, the new sanctions will be imposing economic suffocation and regime experts believe these new measures enjoy a far broader reach than the pre-Iran nuclear deal sanctions.

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These sanctions don’t officially blacklist the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization. However, Iranian experts have said the end result of these sanctions mirror such a designation. The most important outcome of an individual or entity being blacklisted is the imposition of widespread sanctions, and this is realized through the new Senate sanctions. Moreover, these sanctions act as the first step for blacklisting the IRGC in its entirety.

Tehran has retaliated by dubbing this move as in violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), being the Iran nuclear deal. The mullahs’ lobbies in the West and the pro-appeasement camp are heard warning Washington that these measures may provoke Iran to pull out of the JCPOA, and advising the US administration to refrain from any action against Iran.

Iran’s intimidation and warnings issued by such appeasers are hollow threats. These new sanctions are not in violation of the JCPOA as they cover Iran’s ballistic missile development, support of terrorism and human rights violations in Iran, and have nothing to do with the nuclear program.

Secondly, Iran pulling out of the JCPOA will leave it as the losing party. The slightest move considered in violation of the nuclear deal will automatically snap back all lifted sanctions imposed previously under six United Nations Security Council resolutions prior to the nuclear deal. Iran will also once again be placed under Article 7 of the UN Charter, legitimizing international military action.

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As a result, any such move by Tehran is nothing but “political suicide.” Thus, such a scenario is highly unlikely for Iran. Regime experts are also acknowledging the fact Iran lacks any response to the new US Senate sanctions and the JCPOA has provided no solutions for Tehran in such circumstances.

Iran is engulfed in domestic crises and escalating popular dissent. Any measure even slightly provoking Iran’s already powder keg society and sending people into the streets is considered a red line.

During the past few months, supporters of the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) have increased their activities in cities across the country. They are seen putting up images of Maryam Rajavi, President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the mother coalition of the PMOI/MEK, in public places and writing slogans on walls expressing their support for Rajavi’s 10-point plan.

Iranian opposition (PMOI/MEK) supporters are also busy spreading the word about the upcoming NCRI convention in Paris scheduled for July 1st. Millions of Iranians are awaiting this year’s event.

The NCRI holds this annual convention in which over 100,000 Iranians from across the globe gather to evaluate the opposition’s agenda for the year ahead. In this gathering, a long slate of prominent dignitaries takes part from the US, Europe, and Islamic countries.

Tehran is terrified this rally will act as a launch pad for the international community to recognize the NCRI opposition movement as the legitimate alternative to the mullahs’ regime.

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Shahriar Kia
About Shahriar Kia 7 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).

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