NCRI - Last week, Iranian regime announced that it was imposing sanctions on 15 American companies for their “support of terrorism”. Not a single one of these companies does business in Iran, nor are there any intentions to.
It seems like the Iranian regime is trying to get its own back on the U.S. after it imposed sanctions on a number of Iranian companies and individuals earlier this year following the ballistic missile testing it carried out.
This latest action is just another step in the backwards and forwards that has been going on between the United States and Iran. After all, the Iranian regime has spent a long time of being appeased and being left alone to carry out its malign activities safe in the knowledge that the Obama administration would remain silent. Or even worse, the Obama administration provided concession to the Iranian regime in further acts of appeasement.
However, as the Trump administration has warned, there is a new president in town and things are going to change. Rhetoric is much tougher with the Trump administration and the United States is taking away the leverage the regime once had.
But this odd behaviour from Iranian regime seems set to continue. A senior lawmaker in Iran said that the country is thinking about designating the CIA and the U.S. military as terrorist groups. This would clearly be a retaliation against any designation by the U.S. of the IRGC as a terrorist organisation.
The Iranian regime seems to be concerned about the designation of the IRGC. The Guards have a strong political and economic influence and a designation would have disastrous consequences.
For more than a decade the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has been putting measures in place to strengthen the IRGC. In May 2005 he ordered the government to transfer more than three-quarters of its holdings to “non-governmental public, private and cooperative sectors”, in other words affiliates of his and the IRGC’s companies.
Shortly after this, Khamenei engineered the election so that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became President. Not surprisingly, Ahmadinejad brought many IRGC veterans into the government and there was an internal IRGC restructuring to accommodate its expanding role.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) explains in its latest publication (“The Rise of Iran's Revolutionary Guards' Financial Empire”) that a large number of state-owned assets have been transferred to the Guards. This includes shipping companies, airlines, mines, insurance, foreign commerce and banks, to name only a few.
This has led to the Iranian regime being able to spend huge sums of money on terrorism, war and proxies. It is estimated that Iran spends between $15 and $20 billion every year in Syria. Salaries of proxies in Syria cost Iran around $1 billion, and the same is given to the Lebanese Hezbollah.
Western governments need to accept that business dealings with Iran are effectively business dealings with terrorists. Profit from business transactions with Western countries will go towards funding wars and terrorism.