Iran General NewsNew US sanctions will target Tehran ‘dictatorship’

New US sanctions will target Tehran ‘dictatorship’


ImageThe Times: Iran is becoming a military dictatorship, Hillary Clinton said yesterday, as the US prepared fresh sanctions against the Islamic republic that would specifically target the Revolutionary Guard. The Times

Martin Fletcher

ImageIran is becoming a military dictatorship, Hillary Clinton said yesterday, as the US prepared fresh sanctions against the Islamic republic that would specifically target the Revolutionary Guard.

“We see that the Government in Iran, the Supreme Leader, the President, the parliament is being supplanted and that Iran is moving towards a military dictatorship,” the US Secretary of State told students in Qatar during a tour of the Middle East aimed at increasing pressure on the Islamic republic to end its nuclear programme. “The civilian leadership is either preoccupied with its internal domestic political situation or ceding ground to the Revolutionary Guard.”

Analysts agreed, saying that the regime increasingly relied on the guard’s military muscle to stay in power since last June’s disputed presidential election. In return, the guard had been allowed to increase greatly its economic and political power.

“There’s a mutual dependency,” said Ali Ansari, Professor of Iranian History at the University of St Andrews, who said that the guard still needed Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, and President Ahmadinejad as figureheads, and to control other conservatives alarmed by its rise.

Mrs Clinton said that the US was seeking international support for a new set of UN sanctions “particularly aimed at those enterprises controlled by the Revolutionary Guard”.

There is no shortage of targets, as the guard’s tentacles are far-reaching.The 120,000-strong force was created in 1979 to protect the Islamic Revolution — a remit that it has used relentlessly to expand its empire. It controls Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and it runs great swaths of the construction, energy, banking, shipping, mining and manufacturing sectors, along with much of the country’s black market, including illicit alcohol.

It mobilised all of its resources to secure Mr Ahmadinejad’s dubious victories in the presidential elections of 2005 and 2009 and has been rewarded with huge government contracts that have enriched its leaders.

Last September it bought a 51 per cent share of the national telecommunications business after its only rival was disqualified at the last minute. Former guard commanders account for half of Mr Ahmadinejad’s Cabinet.

Britain, France and the US attacked Iran’s human rights record during a four-yearly review by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Peter Gooderham, Britain’s Ambassador, accused Iran of “grave human rights violations”, including the mass arrests of protesters, the rape and torture of detainees, coerced confessions and show trials.

Jean-Baptiste Mattei, the French Ambassador, said that the regime had unleashed “bloody repression against their own people who are peacefully seeking their rights”. Michael Posner, the US Assistant-Secretary for Democracy and Human Rights, condemned the regime’s “violent and unjust suppression of innocent Iranian civilians”.

Mohammad Javad Larijani, Iran’s representative, insisted that “Iranian society is a successful model of brotherly and amicable coexistence”, while another member of the delegation called June’s election “an exemplary exhibition of democracy and freedom”.

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