Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

What Is the IRGC If Not a Terror Organization?

What Is the IRGC If Not a Terror Organization?

Tuesday, 22 February, 2022 - 06:45
Camelia Entekhabifard
Editor-in-chief of the Independent Persian.

Based on the statements by Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on Monday, it seems that a deal is imminent between Iran and the United States.

The issues pointed out by Raisi as necessary for the deal won’t be easy for US President Joe Biden to deal with. But with Qatar mediating and the need that both sides have for this deal, one can somewhat understand why the temporary two-year deal that has been talked about is now possible.

A two-year agreement means a deal that will last until the end of Biden’s first term. In other words, Iran will have to abide by more serious commitments while it awaits the fate of the US presidential elections in 2024 and see if the next president will abide by the deal. At the same time, this temporary or short-term deal will mean that, at least for now, Iran’s nuclear program will be restricted as desired by Biden.

Raisi took with himself a high-level delegation, including ministers of foreign affairs, oil, roads and urban planning, industry, mines and trade, and, with all the talk about important multilateral meetings, tried to show that Iran has regular relations with countries of the region and doesn’t need a nuclear deal.

By adopting this approach, Iran wants to show that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries back the nuclear deal and thereby increasing the pressure on the US to accept Iran’s demands.

But Qatar doesn’t represent the GCC. The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have a different opinion about the deal and about the Iranian approach in the region.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Monday, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan expressed hope that Iran could seriously try to adopt a new approach in the region.

The planning for a new round of direct Iran-Saudi talks is happening while on Monday night, 16 civilians were injured when a Houthi drone that was attacking King Abdullah’s airport in Jazan was shot down.

Houthi militias are linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and the IRGC’s behavior is terroristic and so is the behavior of Iran: It supports a militia that openly disrupts security and calm of the regional countries and threatens their national security. The Iranian regime shows no responsibility or commitment toward its own citizens; how could it be committed to other pledges and deals?

The Raisi administration has now asked for the removal of the IRGC from the Foreign Terrorist Organization list of the State Department. Logically, this isn’t possible. But Biden already de-listed the Houthis in February 2021 and refuses to accept the demand of Republican Senators, such as Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton, to designate Taliban as a terrorist organization following the fall of Kabul. But it’s unlikely that Biden could politically stand up to the US Congress in delisting the IRGC.

The coming deal with Iran is a way for leftist Democrats of the US to save face and for the Iranian regime to find an escape from the dead-end of its economic and financial crisis.

What can bring down the regime ruling over Iran is not a military confrontation but a rebellion by a hungry people, 60 percent of whom are dealing with poverty, and protests by a nation. A half-formed agreement with the West will give the regime a breathing space to regroup its forces and plan to counter and suppress the protests of the Iranian people.

I don’t support the sanctions that have brought hunger on the Iranian people but the Biden administration had an opportunity to work with US’s regional partners to bring about a deal that would provide for the rights of the Iranian people while also restrict the regime’s nuclear program.

Towards Iran and its people, Biden would do what he did with the terrorists of Taliban when he accommodated them and swiftly gave up Afghanistan to them, destroying the lives and hopes of millions of people who believed in democracy and human rights.

With the deal, the US can limit the regime’s nuclear program but it won’t be able to restrict the IRGC and the oppressive regime, in either Iran or the region.

Eighty million Iranians are hostages of the Iranian regime but when a rescue plane will go to Tehran, it will only take four Iranians with dual citizenship in return for cash that will only reduce the economic pressure for a short while. What will come next?

What will follow will probably be similar to the policy of Biden administration that rescued 200,000 from Afghanistan, only to shamelessly leave 30 million to the cave-dwelling terrorists of Taliban.

US troubles won’t be solved with a half-baked deal that Biden and the Democrats cook up with the Iranian regime or with their hasty exit from Afghanistan. The livelihood problems of the Iranian people won’t be solved with this half-baked and shaky agreement either.

Speaking on Iran’s big demand in the Vienna talks, Israel’s foreign minister Yair Lapid had a good point: “If the IRGC isn’t a terrorist organization, what are they – a folk-dancing troupe? The world cannot agree to these audacious conditions. It cannot allow tens of billions of dollars to flow to Iran nor allow it to continue to spread terror around the world.”

Other opinion articles

Editor Picks