General

Iranian Leaders Silent on New Sanctions and Warnings from US

In an article in the American Thinker published on February 6, by Heshmat Alavi, journalist and activist focusing on Iran, he writes that after a week of tension between the Trump administration and Iran, Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei, has remained silent.

Tehran's latest missile test ended in failure. The re-entry vessel exploded. Meanwhile, Washington launched a series of actions in a short period.  It was an unprecedented move, after eight years of the Obama administration's failed appeasement policy.

The new administration in the White House responded to Iran's ballistic missile test by placing the regime "on notice."  Michael Flynn, U.S. National Security Adviser, used the opportunity of his first public remarks to issue a warning that sent a clear message.

President Donald Trump also warned the mullahs how he differs significantly from his predecessor. He said on Twitter, “Iran is playing with fire – they don't appreciate how "kind" President Obama was to them. Not me!” 

The Trump administration then went on to slap a new round of economic sanctions, on Iran, blacklisting the 25 Iranian individuals and entities responsible for enhancing Iran's missile program.  There may also be more such punitive measures to come. "President Donald Trump's press secretary suggested Friday afternoon that more sanctions, and even military action, could be on the way," reports indicate.

James Mattis, U.S. Defense Secretary, known for his "Iran, Iran, Iran" remarks, also sent a message by labeling the regime the world's "biggest state sponsor of terrorism.”

Fridays customarily are for senior Iranian officials, including Khamenei, to use sermons as a platform to make remarks about foreign policy issues.  However, there has been no serious reaction from the them, proving that Tehran was caught off guard by the Trump administration's response to its ballistic missile test.

Iran may resort to "terrorist attacks against Americans, attacks by Shiite militias against the thousands of American troops in Iraq, or pressure on the Iraqi government to deny the United States access to the bases where it trains Iraqi security forces," wrote Philip Gordon in the New York Times.  From 2013 to 2015, Gordon acted as Obama's White House coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf region.

A figure close to former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani referred to Obama's tenure as the "golden era." This period, Tehran now understands, is over. 

Alavi writes, “Furthermore, the first episode of the Trump-Iran saga, starting with the January 29 missile test and reaching the point of sanctions imposed by the White House on February 3, has many forecasting a stormy journey ahead for Tehran.”  He adds, “The Trump administration is evaluating further measures against Iran.  The past two presidencies proved that neither war nor appeasement is the answer to tackling the mullahs.”

Another option is very much available to America and the West. According to Alavi, the main enemy of the Iranian people, and all nations of the Middle East, is the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).  The IRGC is known for its role in domestic oppression, foreign military intervention, Tehran’s involvement in Syria, Iran's nuclear program, and ballistic missile drive. The IRGC should be designated as a foreign terrorist organization, says Alavi, reiterating that, “With the grip the IRGC has gained over Iran's political and economic apparatus, an FTO blacklisting targets the mullahs' core entities and will ultimately bring them to their knees.”

Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi, president of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), suggests that all deals and trade with IRGC-affiliated companies should be banned.

If the Trump administration blacklisted the IRGC, then knowing that the new U.S. administration stands beside them in their struggle for freedom, the Iranian people would be encouraged.