On August 2, John Kirby, the US National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the White House, stated that the US government will not delist the Iranian regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) while the nuclear agreement, known as the JCPOA, is being revitalized.
In his press conference at the White House press briefing, he said, “The Iranian State is a state supporter of terrorism and they support terrorist networks throughout the region…and when I asked if he (US President) would be willing to lift the FTO designation of the IRGC as a function of negotiations with Iran over the nuclear deal the president said no.”
The truth is that the Iranian regime is pressuring the negotiating parties to remove the IRGC from the US’s FTO, to be able to continue its malign activities. This regime has a long history of aggression, against its own people, against neighbors, and indeed against international peace and security.
From harboring al-Qaida, to backing Hezbollah, Hamas, Houthis, and its militias throughout the region, it has provoked an endless war that has continued for over 40 years.
Therefore, any ease of sanctions and appeasement will be an aid to the regime’s aggressions. The bad part of the story is that since the start of the new rounds of the JCPOA negotiations, the regime has been able to ramp up its illegal oil trade, which is the IRGC’s main financial support.
This year the regime was able to sell more than $25 billion worth of its oil. Compared to the year before its revenue from oil sales has tripled according to the ISNA news agency.
The regime’s tanker fleet includes about 143 ships, capable of carrying more than 102 million barrels of crude oil or fuel and 11.8 million barrels of liquefied natural gas, worth over $7.7 billion per day. This is a significant amount of money pouring out that will greatly increase its foreign currency resources.
Also, this amount of revenue will definitely boost the regime’s malign activities, from its nuclear and missile program to its support of international terrorism.
On August 2, in reference to the regime’s malign nuclear activities, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Mariano Grossi said that ‘goods words’ from the regime are not enough to satisfy international inspectors. He then asked the regime to be transparent about its nuclear program, which was “moving ahead very, very fast.”
A day earlier, the US Department of the Treasury (DOT) announced that its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has acted against companies “used by Iran’s Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industry Commercial Co. to facilitate the sale of tens of millions of dollars’ worth of the regime’s petroleum and petrochemical products from the regime to East Asia.”
Under the action, the following companies are being designated: Blue Cactus Heavy Equipment and Machinery Spare Parts Trading L.L.C.; Farwell Canyon HK Limited; Shekufei International Trading Co. Limited; and PZNFR Trading Limited.
DOT also outlined that, in a separate but related action, it was designating two entities “that have engaged in the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of Iranian petroleum and petroleum products, including providing logistical support to the Iranian petroleum trade, pursuant to E.O. 13846”.
These actions alone are not strong enough to prevent the regime from its malign activities, resembling the act of locking the stable door after the horse was stolen. Insisting on negotiating and appeasing the regime’s dangerous nuclear project is not the answer either. The international community and the Western countries must wholly support Iran’s people’s struggle against the regime, which is the only real solution to the issue with Iran and the four decades of crisis in the Middle East.