Lawmakers were outraged, as were pro-Israel groups, and and later, the Trump administration declared the IRGC a terror organization.
Now, a congressional bid that attempts to revise the standard for IRGC ‘control’ by reversing a portion of the sanctions relief, is already said to be gaining support from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC. With their tens of thousands of supporters, AIPAC will help lobby in favor of the legislation, as well as other related efforts to constrain Iran’s growing influence in the region.
“This has been a long time coming,” said a source familiar with the situation, who added, “AIPAC and Congress both called out the back-door sanctions relief at the time and said they’d pursue legislative fixes. A few months later the Trump transition team started taking over and pursuing fixes, and now it’s back over to Congress to put everything into law. AIPAC knows where the bodies on this one are buried, and will be providing invaluable policy and political advice.”
However, AIPAC did not confirm that the push to revise standards for ‘control’ by the IRGC will be on the agenda.
A senior Trump administration official stated, “What we saw in Iran in late December and early January was the extreme dissatisfaction of the Iranian people with an economy that’s being run to service the military, not to help the Iranian people,” the official said. “What tightening this will do is make it clear the U.S. stands with the people with Iran, not the IRGC.”
He added that European allies should be cautious about entering the Iranian economy. “Our friends and allies who are doing business with this regime should think about who they want to interact with: Do they want to interact with the IRGC—which is spreading violent mayhem throughout the Middle East—or do they want an Iran that’s postured to create economic growth, thriving business, and authentic, transparent partners we can work with?”
In Munich this month, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster warned companies that doing business with Iran would enrich the IRGC and risked going against Washington. In response, Iranian officials accused McMaster and the United States of violating the nuclear deal.
“Don’t do business with the IRGC; don’t enrich the IRGC; don’t enable their murderous campaign; don’t enable their threat to our friends in the region and to—especially Israel but also Saudi Arabia and others,” McMaster said. “It’s in everyone’s interest to really work hard on business intelligence to understand who are the beneficial owners of these companies who were, you know, opening up checkbooks and doing business with in Iran.”
As well, in recent weeks, CIA Director Mike Pompeo has also cautioned the international community, saying that doing business with Iran could make it a party to the IRGC’s continued terror operations.