The office of the Supreme leader and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) (and its associated companies) are controlling the Iranian economy. It is state-led in almost every sector from construction, transportations, telecommunication, and banking. Khamenei and the IRGC are the immediate beneficiaries of extra revenue, using the additional money to strengthen the military complex to try and protect the Islamic Republic. Such an increase in revenue would enable the regime to crack down on dissenters with more ease.
The Washington Office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) released a book in 2017, “The Rise of the Revolutionary Guards Corps Financial Empire” which speaks to how the IRGC controls more than half of Iranian GDP in addition to owning religious endowments and economic power centers.
Aside from the monetary gains, the regime priorities the export of its fundamentalist ideals, such as anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism. The billions of dollars that could be gained from the Biden administration’s theoretical sanctions relief is to be directed into funding terrorism, arming militias, harming US national interests, undermining US allies (especially those in the Middle East), furthering the clandestine nuclear program, and the continual suppression of their own people. This is obviously in direct contention with the US’s wishes.
It is unknown how far the Biden administration will go to appease the regime, in an effort to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. The current negotiations have seen the Biden administration offer increasing concessions to Iranian leaders. This offer is in conjunction with a rollback of nuclear and economic sanctions, even those linked to missile development and human rights.
The Associated Press, commented on this, saying:
“American officials… have said they are open to lifting any sanctions that are inconsistent with the nuclear deal or that deny Iran the relief it would be entitled to should it return to compliance with the accord. Because of the complex nature of the sanction’s architecture, that could include non-nuclear sanctions, such as those tied to terrorism, missile development and human rights.”
Sanction relief would mean the regime would more easily export oil, do business with more countries and bring in foreign investment.
However, the correct regime could do anything with this increased revenue, and gratefulness to the American’s is not a given.
The ideology of the regime insists on exporting their doctrine, as outline in the constitution. Article 11 says the constitution “provides the necessary basis for ensuring the continuation of the Revolution at home and abroad” and “will strive with other Islamic and popular movements to prepare the way for the formation of a single world community.”
The constitution in Article 144 notes that the military is to fulfill these goals:
“The Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran must be an Islamic Army, i.e., committed to Islamic ideology and the people … It will be responsible not only for guarding and preserving the frontiers of the country but also for fulfilling the ideological mission of jihad in God’s way; that is, extending the sovereignty of God’s law throughout the world.”
As a result, state and non-state actors like the Houthis, Hezbollah, Shia militias in Iraq, and the Syrian Alawite-state of Bashar Al Assad will also benefit from sanction relief along with corrupt government officials. Iran is set to gain billions from potential sanction relief from the US, but the reformation of the nuclear deal may not be worth the damage a sanction-free Iran could cause.