London, 10 Feb – The “golden era” of the Obama administration has ended for the Iranian regime. Iran was left to act as it pleased, creating chaos across the Middle East and spreading terrorism – without having to face any consequences. To be fair to Obama’s administration, it did sometimes reproach the Iranian regime’s activities, but it never acted on any threats or did anything but tip-toe around it.
During this time Tehran was able to strengthen its grip in the Middle East – mainly Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq and Syria.
However, the new administration in Washington is heading in the opposite direction. It does not want the regime to do as it pleases any more. The Trump administration is challenging Iran and has already taken measures to contain it.
Michael Flynn, the National Security Advisor, confirmed that Iran was on notice after it test-fired a ballistic missile on 29th January.
Following this, more sanctions were issued – this time to 25 individuals and entities that have links to the Iranian ballistic missile program.
So there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Trump administration is taking a different approach with Iran.
Iran launched the ballistic missile last month to test the waters with Trump’s administration. It wanted to see if Trump has actions behind his words. Trump’s messages to Iran on Twitter support this new approach, and James Mattis, the Defense Secretary, named the regime the “biggest state sponsor of terrorism”.
The Iranian seems to have taken this on board now because reports suggest that it has cancelled a second test-firing of a ballistic missile.
The German Foreign Ministry declared that the ballistic missile testing by Iran is a breach of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 and are a source of “serious concern”.
Appeasement does not work with the Iranian regime. The past three decades of plunging the Middle East into crisis is evidence enough.
During the Obama administration, Tehran’s involvement in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and other nations in the region has gotten more and more serious and deadly. It also took the opportunity to advance its ballistic missile program, safe in the knowledge that it would face no consequences.
The news that Iran cancelled the second missile firing is positive news. It is maybe an indication that firm rhetoric, and the actions to back it up, are the way forward.
At the minute, Washington is deciding whether the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) will be listed as a foreign terrorist organisation. If it was, this would be a tremendous blow to the Iranian regime because the IRGC has a leading role in the country’s ballistic missile and nuclear program, the domestic crackdown on opposition and its military intervention abroad.
The IRGC also pushes most of the country’s policies, so designating it as terrorist would have huge consequences for the survival of the Iranian regime. It would also send a clear message that the US is standing with the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) which wants to bring back human rights for Iran, as well as democracy and freedom.