The U.S. Treasury Department officially implemented the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) on October 31st, which officials in Iran call the “mother of all sanctions”, as it targets Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
These new sanctions are aimed at IRGC commanders and affiliates involved in domestic crackdown, plundering the population’s wealth, exporting the regime’s terrorism, and advancing Tehran’s nuclear proliferation and ballistic missile program. The IRGC in its entirety reportedly controls over 40% of Iran’s economy. In fact, the IRGC’s Khatam al-Anbiya Headquarters, involved in large construction projects, has some 5,000 companies under its purview, and is connected with building dams, power plants and refineries.
Recently, 13 prominent U.S. senators wrote a letter calling on the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Senator David Perdue (R-GA) led the initiative, this letter demands a rigorous new international inspections regime to be imposed on Iran’s nuclear program. The main objectives include gaining vital access to Iran’s military sites, up to now considered off-limits by Tehran, and escalating transparency into the regime’s uranium enrichment drive.
Some suspect Iran of taking advantage of military sites to continue nuclear activities that are banned under the nuclear agreement between Iran and the P-5+1. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors have been banned from some sites, or forced to endure a bureaucracy ruling of 54 days to obtain access to other disputed sites. This could possibly provide Tehran with enough time destroy any evidence of illicit activities. When the highly controversial Lavizan-Shian site was razed to the ground in late 2003 and early 2004, according to Western diplomats, Iran went to the limits to cover up undeclared nuclear activities.
The new initiative from U.S. senators, highlights the “shortcomings in the inspection and verification regime.” It is said to have the Trump administration’s full backing. The White House is attempting to resolve any outstanding issues over Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal, as well as close any outstanding loopholes that might provide the regime an opportunity to obtain nuclear weapons.