Even the US government does not know about the exact presence of IRGC in #Iran economy

Something has been puzzling me: its obviously in Obama’s interest (politically and in terms of his legacy) that the Iran nuclear deal succeeds, and that the moderates are strengthened in Iran through foreign investment in Iran’s economy. So why has the US Department of Justice not provided guarantees to big European banks about doing business with Iranian companies?

A recent article, part of which I am quoting below, may have answered my question. Penned by Republican Congressman Mike Pompeo who is also a member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, the article published today in Foreign Policy states:

I know that the CIA, Treasury Department, National Security Agency, and others work closely to keep tabs on the IRGC’s operations.

And how exactly do they do that? According to Congressman Pompeo (who is also a Tea Party member):

By using a huge, wall-sized poster, the Treasury Department delineates which Iranian individuals, government officials, and military commanders are tied to terrorism and which evasion mechanisms they are utilizing.

The poster’s hard lines and dashed lines map the constantly changing IRGC. It provides an impressive visual representation of the advanced network the IRGC maintains in dozens of critical industries. With this poster and many other tools, our intelligence community tries to keep a pulse on the members of the IRGC’s terrorist regime.

Great, so why doesn’t the Obama administration use this information to state which Iranian companies are “clean” from IRGC connections so that foreign businesses to do business with them? Well, here is where it gets tricky:

But the poster also contains enormous blank spaces and question marks. There are areas that we wish were filled in, but are empty. Despite the incredible amount of U.S. manpower and resources put into the maintenance of this sophisticated chart, there are many unknowns and imperfections.

So by the look of things, the US itself is not exactly sure about the exact extent of the IRGC’s presence in various companies in Iran. Therefore how can the Department of Justice issue guarantees to big banks about doing business in Iran?

You can read the entire article here.

Do you know who will be the next supreme leader of #Iran?

A question I get asked frequently: who is going to replace the current Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei?

Do you know the answer? because I don’t. No one knows. The regime has not mentioned any names. So far, all that we have to go on are guesses and assumptions.

The same applied to the 1989 when Ayatollah Khomeini was about to pass away and people were wondering who will replace him. Although back then it was relatively easier to list the name of those who could succeed him, as it was (relatively) soon after the revolution and there were more notable candidates.

But even then respectable publications such as the New York Times got it wrong. See the below quote from the May 22 1989 article from the NYT:

In the power struggle that consumes Iran’s ruling clergy, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s son, Ahmad, has emerged as a prime contender to inherit his father’s authority.

The NYT got it wrong, with good reason. The process of choosing the next supreme leader was relatively opaque and secretive during Khomeini’s time, now days under Ayatollah Khamenei its far more opaque and secretive.

The quoted NYT article is a must read. It also provides a fascinating insight into a previously unknown 110 page letter published by Ahmad Khomeini against Ayatollah Montazeri, after the latter was dismissed from his role as Ayatollah Khomeini’s successor. Why? because he lambasted Khomeini for executing thousands of MEK prisoners without a proper trial and on dubious grounds.  Among other things (the late) Ayatollah Montazeri tells Khomeini:

”the crimes of your Ministry of Intelligence and those committed in your prisons are far worse than those of the Shah and Savak, and I speak of detailed knowledge.”

Read the entire article here.