By Heshmat Alavi
Monday, 6 February 2014
Monday, 6 February 2014
Following a week of high tensions between the Trump administration and Iran, it was quite interesting to see how Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei, the man with the last word on all national security and foreign affairs, remained completely silent.
After Tehran's latest missile test ended in a humiliating failure, with the re-entry vessel exploding, Washington launched a series of actions in a short period.
This was unprecedented for the mullahs after eight years of the Obama administration's failed appeasement policy. And yet there remains a silver bullet-type measure that sends the ultimate message to Tehran.
The Trump White House responded to Iran's ballistic missile test by first placing the regime "on notice." U.S. national security adviser Michael Flynn took the opportunity of his first public remarks to make the warning that sent shockwaves and a clear message.
President Donald Trump also warned the mullahs how he differs significantly from his predecessor.
Iran is playing with fire – they don't appreciate how "kind" President Obama was to them. Not me!
Not allowing the week to end, the Trump administration slapped on a new round of economic sanctions, blacklisting 25 Iranian individuals and entities responsible for enhancing Iran's missile program. There are also signs of more such punitive measures.
"President Donald Trump's press secretary suggested Friday afternoon that more sanctions, and even military action, could be on the way," reports indicate.
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, known for his "Iran, Iran, Iran" remarks, also sent a crystal-clear message to the mullahs by labeling their regime the world's "biggest state sponsor of terrorism."
It has become a custom for senior Iranian officials, including Khamenei, to use Friday sermons as a platform to make remarks about foreign policy issues. And yet there has been no serious reaction from the mullahs' apparatus.
This proves that Tehran has been caught off guard and miscalculated the Trump administration's possible response to its ballistic missile test.
What is also interesting is that those advocating a policy of rapprochement with Iran, especially during the Obama years, refuse to recognize their dismal failures after eight years.
Iran may resort to "terrorist attacks against Americans, attacks by Shiite militias against the thousands of American troops in Iraq, or pressure on the Iraqi government to deny the United States access to the bases where it trains Iraqi security forces," wrote Philip Gordon in the New York Times. Gordon was Obama's White House coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf region from 2013 to 2015.
The Obama Doctrine left the entire Middle East in mayhem, to say the least. After the loss of so many lives, Iraq was gift-wrapped for Iran, and the mullahs' Shiite militias now roam freely, causing havoc using U.S.-provided weaponry.
To this end, no individual affiliated in any way with the Obama Doctrine is fit to voice anything about how the Trump administration should plan its Middle East policy.
One figure close to former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani described Obama's tenure as the "golden era." With a new administration in Washington, this period, Tehran understands, is now over.
Furthermore, the first episode of the Trump-Iran saga, starting with the January 29 missile test and reaching the point of sanctions imposed by the White House on February 3, has many forecasting a stormy journey ahead for Tehran.
The Trump administration is evaluating further measures against Iran. The past two presidencies proved that neither war nor appeasement is the answer to tackling the mullahs.
There is a third route very much available before America and the West: truly supporting the Iranian people as they trek forward in their quest to realize freedom and democracy through regime change.
The main enemy of the Iranian people, and all nations of the Middle East, is none other than the mullahs' Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). Known for its major role in domestic oppression, foreign military intervention with an emphasis on Tehran's involvement in Syria, Iran's nuclear program, and ballistic missile drive, the IRGC should be designated as a foreign terrorist organization.
With the grip the IRGC has gained over Iran's political and economic apparatus, an FTO blacklisting targets the mullahs' core entities and will ultimately bring them to their knees.
As suggested by Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi, president of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), all deals and trade with IRGC-affiliated companies should be banned.
The world remembers how Obama chose to exchange secret letters with Khamenei instead of supporting the Iranian people's 2009 nationwide uprisings. The Trump administration blacklisting the IRGC would encourage the Iranian people, knowing that the new U.S. administration stands beside them in their struggle for freedom.