This is precisely why economic sanctions on Iran are laughable. It was mentioned years ago that you cannot bring down a third-world nation any farther than it already is (See also HERE). The regime running the country remains isolated, shielded and unaffected at the expense of the every day citizen that receives all the aftermath. Plus, add to the fact that there will always be more than one customer in the world needing oil that isn’t a Western nation, which makes diversification a non-issue.
So long as America continues on the path it’s on with help from Barack Obama as he buys it time, Iran will walk indeed.
- The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Praetorian Guard of Iran’s regime, controls most of the economy, as well as the black-market, alternative economy. The IRGC therefore actually benefits from sanctions; it is private firms, such as those involved in international commerce, that suffer. Why would IRGC operatives want to see the playing field made more level by private investment, transparency and a competitive economy?
- Sanctions never hurt the regime’s ruling class; lifting them only helped the regime solidify its power over its people.
- The objective of these two demands [an immediate lifting of all sanctions and no, or severely limited, inspections] is either to have them accepted, or to render it untenable for the Obama administration to offer Congress any deal that could be accepted – thereby shifting blame for the collapse of the talks to the U.S.
- The U.S should also be on guard against the mullahs’ belief that the Obama administration is weak both politically and its aversion to using force. The mullahs might find great pleasure in humiliating Obama, as they did President Jimmy Carter, by dragging out hostage crisis negotiations by running out the clock until his term was over. They clearly believe that the Obama administration, simply to say it got “a deal,” is ready to sign anything.
Most intelligence analysts and journalists assume that because Iran’s leadership endorsed the negotiations and has been the beneficiary of several key concessions by the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany), that an agreement is imminent. Forecasters have been predicting what the likely consequences of such a deal would be: negative.
But what if the Iranians walk?
Sanctions never hurt the regime’s ruling class; lifting them only helped the regime to solidify its power over its people.
A nuclear deal combined with an improvement in the commercial and business relations with the West would be inimical to IRGC interests.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Praetorian Guard of the regime, controls most of the economy as well as the black-market, alternative economy. IRGC-controlled conglomerates operate outside the law and reap huge profits through their control of the black market. The IRGC therefore actually benefits by sanctions; it is the private firms, such as those involved in international commerce, that suffer.
Furthermore, IRCG naval vessels, and private ships under their control, have been engaging in sanctions-breaking deliveries of imports across Persian Gulf waters to Dubai. The IRGC then sells the products at a profit by filtering them through the many foundations they control in Iran.
The most recent example of IRGC’s skirting of sanctions involved the illegal acquisition of aircraft through front-organizations with offices in both Europe and the Arabian Peninsula. Mahan Air, an IRGC front, was able to purchase 15 used commercial aircraft for $300 million. Another front, al-Naser Air, was about to purchase two more aircraft, this time from a U.S. owner. Israeli intelligence, however, passed details of the planned sale to the U.S. government, and on May 21, the deal was scuttled by the Office of Export Enforcement of the Department of Commerce.
Why would IRGC operatives want to see the playing field made more level by private investment, transparency and a competitive economy?
The principal task for the regime is to find a way to back out of the negotiations while avoiding the blame. Iran’s efforts at disengagement may already have been underway for the past few weeks; the pace of decoupling from the talks seems to be accelerating. Iran has been increasing its demands apparently in the hope that they will either be accepted, or else rejected like the “poison pills” they are — such as inspectors no longer being allowed on its military sites.
Another way to make the talks no longer palatable for the Obama administration was to create a hostile incident with the United States in the Persian Gulf, as it has tried to do by aggressively tailing American warships. Iranian ships affiliated with the IRGC Navy also seized a commercial ship, the Maersk Tigris, in the Strait of Hormuz, and temporarily detained both vessel and crew. Then, on May 14, IRGC boats fired several shots across the bow of a Singapore flagged vessel, but it escaped unharmed.
By this type of reckless comportment, the IRGC Navy appears intent on producing a clash with American naval vessels in the Gulf waters. Western negotiators have only to recall the presidency of Mohammad Khatami, when the IRGC and Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security operated independently after they felt that the reformers had gone too far, thus threatening hard-liner control of the regime. The IRGC may have decided that Rouhani along with his American-educated Foreign Minister Zarif have reached a similar tipping point. This independent IRGC initiative is being executed even though a deal would release Iranian monetary assets that would in turn boost the sagging economy.
Iran’s combative posture in Gulf waters against international shipping is also a direct challenge to international maritime law, which guarantees freedom of navigation through the world’s shipping lanes such as the Strait of Hormuz. A key principle of U.S. foreign policy is to enforce this freedom of navigation, if it is challenged by any foreign power, as one also hopes the U.S. will do in the South China Sea.
Full article: Iran Will Walk (Gatestone Institute)