Tag Archives: IRGC

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

21 Sep

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.

#Rouhani cuts the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) budget by 20%

20 Jan

Iran’s President Rouhani presented his budget to the Iranian parliament 3 days ago.

One of the very interesting facts from his latest budget is that he has cut the IRGC budget by as much as 20% (from $6.1 billion this year to $4.9 billion  next year).

Even after this cut, the budget of the IRGC which has approximately 125000 active personnel will be twice that of Iran’s armed forces (Artesh) which has approximately 500,000 personnel on active duty. Next year the budget has allocated $2.03 billion for the Artesh, a rise of 9% from this year.

In my latest interview (from 2 days ago) for I24 News I discuss President Rouhani’s latest budget in more details.

On the capture of US sailors & why #Iran hardliners are more scared of #Obama than the GOP

15 Jan

Last night I took part in a TV roundtable on i24 News about the capture of U.S sailors by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, after they had accidentally entered Iranian water. I was joined by Middle East analyst Ali Waked, Tom Harb and news presenter Lucy Aharish.

Topics discussed include:

  • The reaction of the Iranian economy to the news
  • Why the hard-line revolutionaries in Iran would prefer an aggressive tough-talking Republican president to win the next U.S presidential elections
  • and the role of Kentucky Fried Chicken in Iran – U.S relations (yes you read that right)

Was diplomacy the only reason or the biggest reason why a US – #Iran crisis was averted today?

13 Jan

Sorry to be the Party Pooper, but diplomacy and improved relations between Zarif and John Kerry were not the only, nor the biggest reason why the captured U.S sailors were released within 24 hours by Iran.

The biggest reason? The end of sanctions being so close.

The Iranian supreme leader is a realist. He is not going to ruin years of negotiations and sacrifice all the compromises he made to reach a nuclear deal so that sanctions are removed by locking horns with the U.S at this point. Not when he is so close to the finishing line.

And this is what gave the moderates in Iran leverage against the hardliners. The latter would have absolutely loved to turn this incident into something more serious as it would have boosted their “revolutionary” credentials and their defense budgets. Not to mention leveraging it to gain more political room for maneuvering inside Iranian domestic politics.

But today, it wasn’t to be. Lets see how they will react next time, after the supreme leader has received what he has wanted all along: end to sanctions. Then a simple incident like today could get more complicated. And friendly relations between Kerry and Zarif may not be enough to solve things within 24 hours, like today.

Video: The secret army of Iran in Syria

10 Dec

On numerous occasions, some Iranian officials have categorically denied reports that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) has been active in Syria.

A new documentary by the BBC (below) will end any remaining doubt about the presence and activity of Iranian forces there.

In this documentary, you not only see Iranian advisers from the IRGC taking part in some of the fighting, you also see them admitting that pro-Assad militia are being taken to Iran for training.

Iran is one foreign force in this war. There are other foreign forces too. The Saudis and the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) countries have also been helping the Sunni militias.

However until now, the Iranian regime had been very careful not to be seen taking part in the killing of other Muslims in the Middle East. In fact over it has bent over backwards by trying to portray itself as the defender of all Muslims, including Sunnis. This is why it was so happy when it had the support of Hamas.

With its support for Assad and his indiscriminate killing of Sunnis (even using Chemical weapons), those days seem to be over. In the Sunni majority Middle East, the Iranian regime will now be seen as another oppressor of Muslims, despite its religious facade.

You can watch the documentary here

Impact of Assassination Of Iran Official in Syria

15 Feb

A senior Iranian IRGC official was recently assassinated in Syria

Who was he?

What impact will his death have on Iran’s policies with regards to Syria?

My latest article tries to explain these important questions and more.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/02/iranian-general-hassan-shateri-assasinated-syria-hezbollah.html