by Armin Baldwin
Although the international community appears to be divided regarding the United States leaving the 2015 nuclear agreement, now that the Trump administration has decided to not certify Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA, the exit from the deal by the United States is set in motion. Congress has 60 days to decide whether or not if they are going to reinstitute the sanctions on Iran. President Trump has indicated that if Congress does not reinstitute the sanctions, he will remove the United States from the deal.
Previous administrations had been willing to work with Iran, yet, Iran’s leaders have not allowed inspections of its military sites, and opponents of the deal allege that they are not keeping to the limits of the agreement.
President Trump has argued that Iran has violated the spirit of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and that the JCPOA is against U.S. national security interests.
Some Middle Eastern countries agree, and say that Iran’s influence has increased the instability throughout the region. Many point to the problematic economy in Iran, while the regime instead spends billions on military objectives throughout the region. Others declaim Iran’s human rights abuses and the oppression of the Iranian people.
Iran and its lobbies have threatened the Trump administration, and called the security of American troops into question, if the US decertified the JCPOA. Iran needs the JCPOA.
Iranian President Rouhani stated, “Trump’s speech consisted of nothing but vulgar language, allegations, and bogus remarks,” and added, “Trump apparently doesn’t know the JCPOA is not a bilateral document to act however he wishes…the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) is not just a military unit, but the Guards are in the hearts of [the Iranian] people.”
An additional part of Trump’s strategy is to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization. Previously, those individuals associates with the IRGC were given the designation, but not the IRGC as a whole. The IRGC plays such a vital role in Iran’s economy. If Congress re-institutes the sanctions that were lifted under the JCPOA, along with the U.S. Treasury Department and the State Department’s coordination to impose the sanctions and restrictions on those designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO), it would have a great impact.
Commander of the IRGC, Mohammad Ali Jafari declared, “If the news is correct about the stupidity of the American government in considering the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist group, then the Revolutionary Guards will consider the American Army to be like Islamic State all around the world.”
Economic and social unrest, already rife among the Iranian people, will increase, as the IRGC responds to the new designation. The Iranian regime may find itself fighting for its survival, as the international community and the Iranian people call the regime to account.
A federal court ruling lifted the terrorist designation against the PMOI/MEK, which is part of the Iranian resistance known as the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran. Support for the Iranian resistance is a path forward.