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Return of Sanctions and Activation of Snapback Mechanism: Consequences for Iran’s Regime


The United States activated the snapback mechanism, a proviso of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal with world powers, citing the Iranian regime’s illicit activities and constant violations of its obligations under the terms of the agreement. The reimposition of sanctions will have severe consequences for the regime.

On Monday, the U.S. Secretaries of State, Defense and Treasury, in a joint press conference, announced the reimposition of the first series of these sanctions on the mullahs’ regime. They announced the imposition of new sanctions, following an Executive Order by U.S. President Donald J. Trump, regarding the reimposition of all sanctions on the Iranian regime.

In addition, during their press conference on Monday announcing these sanctions, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo while blasting the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement with world powers, called it “an exercise in appeasement,” which “gifted the regime billions and paved the way for Iran to become the arms dealer of choice for terrorist groups and dictators all across the world in just five short years.”

The Iranian regime was previously under these sanctions, but what is the difference this time? Will the regime’s situation return to what it was before signing the nuclear deal?

  1. As Secretary Pompeo mentioned, the Iranian regime enjoyed the policy of appeasement by the Western governments for years. Because of the appeasement policy, many of the sanctions were not fully implemented, and the regime used this opportunity to continue its illicit activities.
  2. Most importantly the Iranian society’s situation has very much changed. Two major Iran protests in 2018 and 2019 have rattled the regime’s foundations. The Iranian people, particularly during the Iran protests in November by sacrificing over 1500 martyrs, showed their desire for regime change. This desire and determination were also reflected in their slogans such as “death to the dictator.” They also rejected the regime’s warmongering policies by chanting “No Gaza, No Lebanon, my life only for Iran.”
  3. For many years, the Iranian regime used the appeasement policy of Western governments and the wars in the region to continue its warmongering policies and export domestic chaos abroad. By calling Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, and Syria its “strategic depth,” the Iranian regime used the opportunity, particularly the Second Gulf War, to increase its deadly presence and dominance in the region. The Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Quds Force and its commander, Qassem Soleimani, fully advanced the mullahs’ warmongering policies and spread fear across the Middle East. The elimination of Qassem Soleimani, ongoing protests in Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria, as well as the creation of an international front against the regime’s terrorism, have now shattered the regime’s “strategic depth.”
  4. Due to its institutionalized corruption, misusing national wealth for funding terrorism, and wrong economic policies, the Iranian regime is on the verge of economic suffocation. Sanctions have drained the mullahs’ resources for pursuing their illicit activities in the region. The regime’s wrong economic policies and corruption have also pushed more Iranian citizens into poverty, thus turning the Iranian society into a powder keg.
  5. In addition to economic and social crises, both the Iranian regime and people are now grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic. The regime’s policy of using COVID-19 mass casualties to prevent another uprising, as part of which the mullahs have been continuing their criminal policy of inaction and cover-up, has failed due to the people’s rising knowledge and their ongoing protests.

All the above shows the Return of Sanctions and activation of the Snapback mechanism, the consequences for Iran’s regime are quite different from previous sanctions.

Two examples:

Regarding the current social, economic, and COVID-19 crises, it is worth mentioning two articles by the regime’s state-run media, reflecting the outcome and warning the regime’s officials of another uprising.

  1. The state-run Ebtekar Daily on September 6 wrote: “It seems that Hassan Rouhani, for obvious and hidden reasons, has distanced himself from society and people as much as he could. But neither he nor his advisors notice that this behavior is the final nail in the coffin of the people’s trust. They do not understand, or they ignore, the devastating consequences of this action. It is good for the president’s security entourage to remember that since November 2019 until now strange things have happened in our society.”
  2. The state-run Mostaghel daily, while referring to the regime’s misuse of the coronavirus outbreak to oppress the society, on July 13, wrote: “This nation will not forget how it was abandoned during these bitter days. This will affect the upcoming incidents. The Government did not contain and control the coronavirus to relevantly control the anger of defiant people. But I wish that the suffering and illness of the people were not used as a cure for obliviousness and a means of revenge for the events of November and December. Because soon, people will come to their table for eating, and their despair of an empty table will lead them to protest on busy streets.”

Regarding new sanctions on the Iranian regime, Iranian opposition president-elect Mrs. Maryam Rajavi on Friday, September 18 said: “As for sanctions, I must reiterate that the people of Iran were attacked and slaughtered last November for protesting against gasoline price hikes. They want the pipelines that fuel the mullahs’ killing machine and terrorism to be destroyed. According to official reports, billions of dollars of oil revenues disappear every year. In other words, they end up in the coffers of Ali Khamenei.”

As Mrs. Rajavi reiterated, the international community should “boycott the clerical regime. Boycotting the regime helps the fight against terrorism, suppression, and against corruption. But every single dollar given to the regime will turn into a bullet that is fired into the hearts of youths in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Our people do not want uranium enrichment plants. Neither do they want a ballistic missiles program, or the regime’s criminal wars in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon?”

Maryam Rajavi’s speech on the eve of the UN General Assembly summit- September 18, 2020