On Wednesday morning, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that this coming Sunday, October 18, the “cruel arms embargo would be removed,” adding they will be able to “sell weapons to everyone we wish” and “buy weapons from anyone we wish.”
Rouhani’s remarks prompted severe concerns among those familiar with the Iranian government’s malign behavior in the Middle East region and across the globe.
As the world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism, Tehran is behind many terror activities against foreign citizens in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.
“It’s hard to find a conflict or terror group in the Middle East that does not have Iran’s fingerprints all over it,” said the U.S. ambassador to the then-United Nations Nikki Haley back in December 2017.
Recently, Bahraini and Saudi authorities managed to disband Iran-backed terror squads and discover warehouses filled with huge amounts of ammunition and weapons.
Since the ayatollahs took power in Iran, they built up their foreign policy based on expansionism. They reckoned that they must “export the revolution,” preserving it from decaying.
Based on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) statute, one of its “divine mission” is protecting the Islamic Republic and Revolution’s “ideological frontiers.” In this context, they have relentlessly trained, armed, and dispatched extremist forces in other countries.
For instance, Iranian soldiers put their feet on the ground in Bosnia and Herzegovina just six months after the Balkan war. Intelligence reports say that the number of IRGC fighters in Bosnia and Herzegovina reached 3000-4000 men.
Furthermore, Tehran spent $200 million to fund Bosnian Islamic groups. However, the IRGC was pursuing another goal.
“Iranian forces participated in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina just for the sake of establishing a European copy of the Hezbollah in Lebanon,” said IRGC defector Saeed Kazemi.
In Iraq, Iranian authorities also stored significant amounts of weapons and ammunition in different cities. Between 2003 to 2009, the U.S.-led coalition troops in Iraq frequently discovered and impounded Iranian weapons stockpiled in safe houses and workplaces.
“I can tell you there is no question that they were doing this. I firmly believe that Iran bears responsibility because their training and equipping of the Iraqi militia groups was the major factor in sustaining the sectarian violence that swept Iraq in 2006 and 2007. And to me that makes Iran directly responsible for the death of hundreds of coalition forces and thousands of Iraqis,” said Gen. George Casey, former Commander of Coalition in Iraq, on June 30, 2018.
The facts above, along with many other evidence and documents, underscore the imperative of the extension of the UN arms embargo and other sanctions on the Iranian government. In this respect, several American experts attended a webinar hosted by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)- U.S. representative office on October 14.
Panelists, including former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Amb. Eric Edelman, director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies Dr. James Jay Carafano, the JINSA Director of Foreign Policy Jonathan Ruhe, and former US Arms Control chief Amb. Robert Joseph highlighted the sanctions and economic pressures as a practical path to deteriorate Tehran’s atrocities.
However, they mentioned the importance of supporting the Iranian people’s desire for fundamental changes. “Sanctions are a clearly important element of a successful policy toward Iran. But sanctions alone are not going to be enough to get the right outcome… We must help the opposition to the regime,” said Amb. Edelman.
“U.S. officials recognize it’s not punishing the people. There are humanitarian exemptions… Most Iranian citizens understand that ‘They’re not being punished by the United States and the international community—they’re being punished by the regime,’” said Dr. Carafano.
“The JINSA’s ultimate goal is what we call “regime collapse.” This is primarily between the regime and the people,’” said Director Ruhe.
“We must support the democratic opposition inside and outside Iran. Regime change must and will come from within. While apologists try to spin that the current regime is the only alternative to chaos, the ten-point plan of the NCRI provides a pathway to democracy and stability,” said Amb. Joseph.