The Donald Trump administration’s announcement last Monday that it is ending waivers allowing the eight remaining countries, including India, Japan and South Korea, to keep importing Iranian crude is likely to create a deep economic problem for the Islamic regime in Iran, while creating more tensions in the Persian Gulf region.
According to the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the aim of this move is to push Iran’s oil exports down from the current level of 1.5 million barrels a day to close to zero, in order to end Tehran’s illicit behaviour in the Middle East and the world.
One should point out that this decision comes just two weeks after Trump designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation. The IRGC is and has been, without doubt, for the past 40 years an ideological institution in charge of safeguarding the Islamist regime. However, the Iranian constitution entitles the IRGC to engage at the same time in economic and political activities. As the economic might of the IRGC grew in the past decades, so, too, did its political influence.
Consequently, the IRGC, which has played a crucial role in controlling Iranian politics and preventing democratic development in Iranian civil society, has also bolstered its part in shaping Iranian foreign policy in the Middle East, with its support of sympathetic forces in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. It’s important to remember that the IRGC, now more than ever, is also an economic empire with an annual turnover of $12 billion.
However, the Trump administration is quite aware of the fact that despite its monopoly of violence and its economic gains, the IRGC is deterred by a lack of support at home. So while the Trump administration has become more and more unpopular in Iran because of the new heavy sanctions, it has been glorified, especially by the Iranian diaspora outside Iran, for being tough on the IRGC. The reason is simple: IRGC is represented among Iranians as a corrupted and violent institution which in the past 20 years has practiced repression and torture against Iranian citizens.
Iran Briefing | News Press Focus on Human Rights Violation by IRGC, Iran Human Rights
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