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Freeiran Gathering: Sanction IRGC and Support Iran Opposition

Sanction IRGC and Support Iran Opposition

By Staff Writer

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) was the major subject of today’s third panel at the FreeIran Gathering in Paris, hosted by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), with the panellists discussing how best to put pressure on the IRGC.


One of the best ways the panel found to target the IRGC for its malign behaviour, both across the Middle East and towards the Iranian people is to put sanctions on the terrorist group. This will not only harm the IRGC’s ability to fund its expansionism or its torture of the Iranian people, but it will also have the side benefit of collapsing the Iranian economy.

Why? Because the IRGC controls roughly 30% of the Iranian economy, according to Bruno Tertrais, Deputy Director of the Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique (FRS), and are present in every industry.

Tertrais notes that although sanctions are not “magic bullets” and the IRGC have been able to evade them in the past, they are still a useful tool. Indeed, they are the reason that Iran came to the negotiating table in the first place.

Ambassador Robert Joseph, the former U.S. Special Envoy for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, said that sanctions can work as long as they are part of a bigger solution.

He also acknowledged that sanctions work best when supported by the people of a country, which luckily they are. The Iranian people, as you can see in the street protests, are not buying the Regie’s lies about sanctions being tough on the people. The only people affected by the sanctions are the Regime and the IRGC. That’s why the Iran opposition wants sanctions.

Joseph agreed with Tertrais about the IRGC’s pervasiveness in the Iranian economy and advised the US to go much further with regard to sanctions. He also advocated that it is best to get other countries to impose sanctions on Iran as well, noting that European companies were already pulling out of Iran and that by working with Europe, we could target the mullahs.

Tertrais also advocated for more EU and US sanctions against the IRGC over non-nuclear issues and said that he hoped both parties could work together to stop the Regime

Michael Pregent, Middle East analyst, Hudson Institute, explained that even with serious sanctions in place prior to 2015, the IRGC was creating chaos in Iraq, but acknowledged that this has grown across the Middle East since the passing of the nuclear deal.

He said that he was pleased that the European private sector is not listening to the EU about investing in Iran and encouraged all EU companies to pull out of Iran to avoid US sanctions, as the US will not be issuing sanctions waivers.
He said: “Iran’s Regime is shedding friends and shedding contracts. If Iran rushes to a bomb, they will lose Europe and Russia will put its foot down.”

Jean-Sylvestre Mongrenier, member of the Institute Thomas More and researcher at the l’Institut Français de Géopolitique, said that security interests should always be more important than economic ones and advised Europe to join the US in imposing sanctions against Iran and the IRGC.

Eduard Lintner, former Deputy Minister of Interior of Germany, also advocated for sanctions against the IRGC, but argued that this must be combined with support for the Iran opposition. He said that almost none of the money gained from the nuclear deal went toward the people of Iran, therefore the sanctions will harm the regime and the IRGC much more than the people.

The Nuclear Deal

One of the things that all the panellists could agree on was that the nuclear deal had not helped to contain the Regime. Many actually thought that the flaws in the deal, like not dealing with Iran’s regional aggression or human rights abuses, had actually aided the Regime.

Joseph said: “There were a number of fatal flaws in the nuclear deal and we could go on and on about it.”

Moderator Lincoln Bloomfield, Ambassador, Distinguished Fellow and Chairman Emeritus at the Stimson Center, former Assistant Secretary of State for Military Affairs, quoted a report from the UN Secretary-General citing numerous Iranian violations of UN resolution 2231, which enshrines the nuclear deal.

Mongrenier said: “We all agree the nuclear deal was a bad agreement, the Iran regime preserved its nuclear facilities, they did not comply with the 2231 resolution, they did not bring democracy to Iran know that it’s not so simple to bring democracy to Iran, but no effort was made on Iran’s part.”

Pregent advised that the nuclear deal gave almost everything away to the mullahs, whilst getting very little in return for the rest of the world, but the nuclear deal would still be alive if the mullahs had not blatantly violated the resolutions. He said that Trump’s withdrawal had not caused the Iranian people and Iran opposition to turn against the US, but against the Regime.

Dispelling the moderate myth

It should be clear that there are no moderates in the Iranian Regime or the IRGC; what moderates would kill the Iran opposition? All of the panellists agreed to this.

Bloomfield said: “We can thank the Iranian people for removing the wrongful perception of the Iranian Regime as divided between moderates and hardliners.”

Joseph said that the regime is corrupt to the core and we should know that it will never reform or moderate. The Regime knows that reform will bring about its downfall.

Tertrais addressed this common misconception and said that he wanted to make it clear that just because Foreign Minister Zarif and President Rouhani smile to the camera and are charming to the international community, that doesn’t make them moderates.

Iran Opposition Protests

By now, we have seen the protests in Iran and we can see that this is different and will soon change the course of history. The panel was clear in the need to support the Iran opposition and the people’s protests.

Joseph said: “There will be a spark, the conditions in Iran are different than they have been for the past 30 years. I don’t know what the spark will be but I know it’s coming. To prepare we can support the Iran opposition. Trump has been very clear about supporting the Iranian people and this is how you overthrow a dictatorship.”

Lintner explained that the existence of the Iranian regime is threatened by the constant protests by the Iranian people.

Tertrais said that change in Iran will come from the Iranian people themselves and the Iran opposition, who are upset over corruption, the economy and human rights abuses.

Pregent explained that the people of Iran wanted Western support. He said that they wanted to tell the protesters to keep up their demonstrations and make it about regime change and not reform. He said the Regime was worried about the protests and scared of their support in the West, which means that the Regime is nearly over.

Joseph agreed.

He said: “We need to work with the Iranian people and the Iran opposition outside of Iran who are determined to get a free and democratic Iran.”