An article in Javan Online, an outlet affiliated with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.), has warned the Trump administration that Iran will undermine U.S. missions in South Asia and the Middle East if Washington imposes new, severe sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The U.S. sanctions would “trigger direct and indirect responses from Iran that would harm America’s fragile position in Western Asia and conflict zones such as in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, the occupied Palestine and Afghanistan in a more serious and strategic manner,” it threatened. “Thus, any planning for new sanctions would have dire consequences for America.” The I.R.G.C. paper further argued that the international community – particularly China and Russia – would not support U.S. efforts to reinstate or impose new sanctions on Iran and the Trump administration would be blamed for “weakening or probably violating” the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Iran would also strengthen its economic and trade ties with Asian powers and Latin America instead of the West, it added.
Comment: The Trump administration said on Tuesday that it planned to conduct an inter-agency review of the nuclear agreement Iran signed with the United States and five other world powers in July 2015. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wrote to Congress that Iran has complied with its obligations relating to its nuclear activities, but the Islamic Republic remained a state sponsor of terrorism and played a destabilizing role in the Middle East. The State Department is required to certify Iran’s compliance to Congress every 90 days.
The article in Javan, which represents the views of the I.R.G.C., is a reaction to Tillerson’s letter to Congress. It cautions against approving a bill on new sanctions against Iran which is being delayed in the U.S. Senate because of concerns it might interfere in Iran’s upcoming presidential elections. While the paper does not mention what retaliatory diplomatic actions Tehran might take in response to the new sanctions if approved, the author makes no secret that the I.R.G.C. and its proxies could undermine the U.S.-led counter-terrorism and stabilization efforts in South Asia and the Middle East. The I.R.G.C. and its proxies are blamed for killing scores of American service members in Iraq before the Obama administration withdrew U.S. troops. The I.R.G.C.'s elite Quds Force has also provided weapons and financial assistance to the Taliban in Afghanistan over the past decade.