Nuclear deal will more likely prop up repressive Iranian regime by providing resources to hardliners and the IRGC
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President Obama responds by saying that, nevertheless, the deal is indeed a poison pill for Iran’s hardliners. As the president himself explained, “It is possible that if we sign this nuclear deal, we strengthen the hand of those more moderate forces inside of Iran.” Even if the deal seems disadvantageous to the U.S. today, in the long run it will unlock a new relationship. Once international investment begins to flow, and the benefits of cooperation grow tangible, Tehran’s hardliners will find themselves enmeshed in a policy of engagement.
Our allies characterize this sort of argument as the worst kind of wishful thinking. Their attitude is much more in tune with Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz who recently asked, “What gives us the confidence that we will prove more astute at predicting Iran’s domestic course than Vietnam’s, Afghanistan’s, Iraq’s, Syria’s, Egypt’s or Libya’s?” The Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, oversees a ruthless security state that has endured countless challenges, including an eight- year war with Iraq and the Green Revolution of 2009. Time after time, it has squelched domestic dissent. It is highly implausible to believe that the flooding of the country with cash will simply wash the regime away.
In fact, our allies say, it makes much greater sense to assume that the nuclear agreement’s actual, tangible benefits will immediately prop-up Iran’s hardliners. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)—which acts as the custodian of the 1979 Revolution, both at home and abroad—commands an economic empire whose tentacles reach into the key sectors of the Iranian economy. It will certainly benefit greatly from the lifting of sanctions and the rush of international investments that will follow a nuclear accord. In fact, it is so deeply entrenched in Iran’s economy that it will probably profit more than anyone else from the new era of international investment.
"Testimony of Michael Doran: Implications of a Nuclear Agreement with Iran (Part I)
." Testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Relations, July 9, 2015. [ More (3 quotes) ]
There is no clear indication that passage of the nuclear deal will empower Iranian moderates and it is just as likely that the reverse -- the deal will embolden Iranian hardliners to reassert themselves. -- will be true. Additionally, the nuclear deal will shore up the repressive Iranian regime and give it new life by freeing it from the sanctions regime.