Additionally, the Iranian regime become more aggressive in its behavior. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), escalated its activities in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, have provoked encounters with American warships, and is spending large amount of money on new Iranian military equipment.
This justifies the White House’s harder line on Iran policy. The signing into law of H.R. 3364, titled, “Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017” is a step in the right direction.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) revealed details of the escalation of the Iranian missile program, last June, proving the nuclear threat to be real. They identified more than 40 sites for missile development, manufacturing, and testing, all of them under the control of the IRGC. At least one of the sites is known to be in collaboration with the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, known as SPND, the institution tasked with weaponization activities related to the Iranian nuclear weapons program. SPND activities have continued since the JCPOA.
These revelations clarified that Iran’s nuclear weapons activities continue, and focus on the nuclear issues distracted attention from the Iranian regime’s terrorism sponsorship, regional intervention, and human rights abuses.
As the IRGC gains wealth through its control of the Iranian economy, and access to the nuclear sites of SPND continues to be denied, Iran will be able to deliver a nuclear weapon.
The US. administration is conducting a review regarding designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization. The new Iran sanctions bill is now signed into law, and the administration should expand the sanctions to the entire IRGC, including its affiliate entities and associated financial and economic arms, and the US should work with the UN and EU to evict the IRCG from the combat zones in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.
Isolating and financially handicapping the Iranian regime by the United States is a good start, but pressure must be applied, not just over its nuclear program, but also over illicit missile testing, escalating regional and sectarian conflicts in the Middle East, and the 1988 massacre of political prisoners.The United States should also hold accountable all major human rights violators, including those involved in the horrific 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners. Many of the perpetrators of this crime currently hold leadership positions in the regime.
The future of Iran lies in reaching out to the people and their organized opposition, to further their efforts toward a democratic Iran.