Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the Iranian opposition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), warned almost a decade ago, “the regime’s regional mischief is more perilous than its nuclear program because the theocracy’s fundamental pillar is based on exporting terrorism.” Her prediction was frighteningly on point.
Still, many experts and Western officials express concerns over direct military confrontation between Arab countries or Israel and the regime’s terrorist force IRGC.
Hamid Bahrami, former Iranian political prisoner and human rights and political activist who works as a freelance journalist contributing to The Hill, Al Arabiya and the Daily Caller, writes in his article for Al-Arabiya, “The regime in Tehran practically holds hostage, and hence controls, governments of four Arab countries including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen through its puppets or paramilitary proxies.” He adds, “Countries trying to tackle Iran may not have these kinds of leverage to balance the power. Thus, when necessary, they have to defend themselves by direct confrontation.”
Israel has reportedly already done this several times — it has attacked IRGC’s military bases near its borders. General Hossein Salami, the IRGC’s Deputy, has threatened Israel, “Wherever you are in the occupied land, you’ll be under fire from us, from east and west. You became arrogant. If there’s a war, the result will be your complete elimination.”
But, Israel’s defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman said, “Israel doesn’t want war … but if Iran attacks Tel Aviv, we will hit Tehran.”
Inside Iran, Bahrami writes, is where the solution to defeat and eventually expel the IRGC from the region can be found. Even the Iranian regime admits that the recent popular dissent is the greatest danger to its survival.
Cutting off Iran’s income could limit capabilities of IRGC’s proxies abroad, according to some experts, but action toward this end will have to include punitive measures. Bahrami worries that this would not be enough to counter the regime in Tehran. However, he believes that the Iranian people are determined to overthrow the regime. He highlights the thousands of demonstrators who chanted, “beware of the day we get armed,” during an April 20th anti-regime protest in Fars province.
“When the Iranian people are ready to challenge the regime, despite the heavy price and personal sacrifices, they are worthy of and deserve a helping hand from Western democracies,” writes Bahrami.
If the IRGC is forced to defend the regime’s survival inside Iran, then cutting off the Tehran-Mediterranean corridor without vast military operations is possible. The IRGC may face a certain defeat because Iranians have been chanting during protests, “tanks, machine guns, will no longer intimidate us.”