Iran Activism

The Optimal Answer to the Iranian Regime’s Belligerence is More Sanctions

 By Masoud Dalvand

After withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018, the U.S. imposed sanctions on the Iranian regime’s commercial, banking, and oil sectors on several reprises in order to block financials sources that the regime uses for development of missile and nuclear programs, increase terrorist activities and destabilize other countries.

The newest sanctions announced on Monday, June 24, are against Iran regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei and his office. The supreme leader in Iran has unlimited power in all matters, and he oversees a huge financial empire that is the source of widespread economic corruption in Iran.

A quick review of the regime’s functions in the past four decades clearly show that increasing sanctions is the optimal answer to this regime’s belligerent behavior.

In the four decades that the mullahs have been ruling in Iran, they have maintained their hold on power through terror, horror, and executions. Intervention in other countries started very soon after the 1979 revolution, branded as the export of the “Islamic Revolution.” The mullahs needed to spread and export their extremist religious ideology to ensure their survival. The idea of Velayat-e-Faqih (rule of the mullah), on which the mullahs’ regime is founded, aims to establish a global dictatorship.

Here are some examples of the regime’s crimes:

  • The bombing of the barracks of U.S. Marines in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1983 and the bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in the mid-90s, and many other bombings and terrorist attacks in other countries of the world, including the bombing of the Jewish community in Argentina in 1994.
  • Terrorist attacks against members and supporters of the Iranian opposition across the world. The most recent example was a failed bombing plot in Paris, France, in 2018 against the yearly convention of the Iranian resistance. The attack was planned by the diplomats of the regime in Europe. Other recent terrorist and espionage plots against the Iranian resistance took place in Albania and the U.S.
  • Abduction and hostage-taking of foreign nationals and using them as bargaining chips to put pressure on their countries of origin. This practice continues to this day.
  • Creation and support of proxy terrorist groups in the Middle East such the Lebanese Hezbollah, the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq and the Houthis in Yemen.
  • Violent intervention in Syria in support of the criminal dictator Bashar al-Assad. The Iranian regime sends weapons, ammunition, and forces from the IRGC and terrorist Quds force to prop up the Assad regime against democratic opposition forces.
  • A costly nuclear weapons program, which started in the early 90s and absorbed billions of dollars from the assets and wealth of the country. This was one of the most destructive projects and policies of the regime. The MEK exposed the mullahs’ illicit nuclear program in 2002. Had it not been for the efforts of the Iranian resistance, the world would have learned about the mullahs’ nuclear program much later, and maybe even too late.
  • The development of weapons of mass destruction, including ballistic missiles, with the aim of targeting neighboring countries and further destabilizing the Middle East region.

This was just a brief overview of the mullahs’ crimes. The full list can continue much longer. After years-long negotiations, a nuclear deal was forged between Tehran and world powers, but the agreement, which became formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was very limited in its reach and gave the mullahs unwarranted concessions. Its most important shortcomings included the failure to address the mullahs’ terrorist activities, their ballistic missiles program and their abysmal human rights records. It also contained loopholes that allowed the Iranian regime to covertly continue developing nuclear weapons and break free of the deal’s constraints after a few years.

After the accord, the regime was granted $100-150 billion in economic deals and access to frozen assets. This amount of money would be enough to rebuild Iran and help its economy flourish once again. But the mullahs used this windfall to continue their ballistic missiles program and to fund their warmongering in Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Palestine, and Yemen.

Inside Iran, the nuclear deal bonanza yielded nothing for the Iranian people. In the three years that followed the accord, the people of Iran continued to reel under economic pressure and deteriorating living conditions. They continued to be deprived of their most basic social and political rights. The regime continued to engage in widespread repression of women and youth.

In December 2017, fed up with the tyranny of the mullahs, the people of Iran poured into the streets of more than 140 cities and triggered a nationwide uprising against the regime. Despite the regime’s widespread efforts to quell the uprising, the people continued their protests throughout 2018.

All of these events prove that the only answer to the regime’s belligerence abroad and its repression at home is increasing pressure against it on all fronts. This has been the policy supported by the NCRI and the MEK in the past four decades.

By imposing comprehensive sanctions against the regime, the international community will cut off Tehran’s source for funding terrorism and weapons programs. This will be a great favor to the Iranian people because it will prevent the regime from squandering their national resources on its evil goals.

Therefore, intensifying sanctions against the regime will limit its destructive policies inside Iran and abroad.

As Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the NCRI said, “Sanctioning Khamenei & his office, the epicenter of crime, corruption & terrorism in Iran, is spot-on & most imperative. These sanctions must be expanded to the mullahs’ Ministry of Intelligence & Security (MOIS), which has blocked the uprising for a Free Iran.”

However, sanctions against the Iranian regime is not enough, and they need to be complemented by supporting the Iranian people’s desire for democratic regime change in their country. The first critical step toward achieving this goal is recognizing the democratic alternative to the mullahs’ regime, the NCRI, and the MEK. Even though the regime has executed and murdered more than 120,000 members and supporters of the MEK over the past 40 years, this organized resistance movement still stands strong and its influence and support inside and outside Iran continues to grow.

In the past weeks, the supporters of the NCRI and MEK have been holding rallies and events in different countries to echo the voices of the people of Iran and to voice their support for the NCRI’s platform for the establishment of a democratic and secular state in Iran.

The 10-point plan of Mrs. Rajavi represents everything that the Iranian people have been dreaming for and the guarantee for restoring peace and security in the Middle East.

It is time for the world to stand by the side of the Iranian people as the write the new chapter in their history.

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