Tags: Donald Trump | Iran | Middle East | Trump Administration | option | maximum pressure | sanctions

President Trump, Here's Your 3rd Option With Iran

President Trump, Here's Your 3rd Option With Iran

By    |   Wednesday, 17 July 2019 08:46 PM

It was a marked sign of a potential change in the regime's policy when the Mullah's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an interview with NBC the country's missile program could be a topic for negotiations with the United States.

It took a couple of hours, however, before Iran's representation office at the UN said, "Iran will not negotiate about its missile program with anyone at any time," adding the media got Zarif's remarks wrong.

But it was not a mistake. It is exactly the Iranian Mullah's strategy: make the people of Iran and the international community "confused" and at the same time hopeful about the "coming behavior change," which is never going to happen.

Last month, as tensions increased between the Trump administration and the Khamenei regime, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offered his good offices to defuse the situation, carrying a message from President Trump to Supreme Leader Khamenei. The response to Abe's initiative was immediate: Khamenei refused any exchange of messages and rejected out of hand negotiations with the U.S. government.

Coincidentally, a Japanese-owned oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman was attacked on the day Abe met with Khamenei. This outcome, however, should not have come as a surprise.

The Mullah regime has taken former Obama Secretary of State John Kerry's advice to hold on to power until President Trump is defeated in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, at which time a new accommodating U.S. policy toward Iran would be put in place. Consistent with this strategy, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) elements launched small-scale attacks on ships in the region to provoke a limited military attack by U.S. forces on the Tehran regime.

Khamenei's calculation is a limited attack by the Trump administration would rally international support for the regime and at the same time create domestic political problems for President Trump, thereby helping to defeat his bid for re-election in 2020. Khamenei knows the IRGC is no match for the U.S. military in a full-blown conflict.

The intensity of Khamenei's "No!" to Prime Minister Abe's gesture is testament to the effectiveness of President Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign. The campaign was designed to change the behavior of the regime by applying economic sanctions to cripple the regime's ability to foment violence in the Middle East and elsewhere. Supreme Leader Khamenei refers to this as economic war and by any measure, President Trump is winning that economic war.

Forty years of clerical rule in Iran and funding a global Islamic Revolution drastically depleted the nation's economic and natural resources. The Trump administration's oil sanctions on the regime hastened its bankruptcy as the regime relies heavily on oil export revenues to fund its terrorist activities abroad and to financially sustain its tyranny at home. The month of June will see the failure of the Khamenei regime to meet its government payroll obligations. The regime's proxy forces similarly are feeling the economic effects of U.S. sanctions; their subsidies are all but eliminated.

The Iranian people who have been the victims of four decades of clerical tyranny are determined to be rid of the regime, its proxy militias, and its illicit nuclear and missile programs. Recent public acknowledgment by the regime that the Iranian people cannot be trusted to advance Khamenei's world-wide Islamic Revolution, followed by the deployment of foreign militias in Iran to protect the regime from the people, have further outraged them.

To avoid war with Iran, President Trump's critics propose he lift the sanctions against the Khamenei regime. They contend the only options for President Trump are war or lifting sanctions. Yet it should be clear to all by now that lifting sanctions will simply result in the regime's continuing to pursue its terrorist activities in the region. There is a third option available to the president – support the people's Constitutional Revolution under way in Iran.

In December 2017, the National Iranian Congress (NIC), one of the leading Iranian opposition groups, encouraged the Iranian people to start a new Constitutional Revolution. The Mullahs never suspected the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Republic would herald a nation-wide movement by the Iranian people.

This constitutional movement was designed by NIC to establish a free and democratic Iran under a new constitution approved by the people guaranteeing the fundamental rights and liberty of all Iranian citizens, with free and fair elections of government officials who are sworn to uphold the provisions of that constitution. Paradoxically, 40 years of life under Mullah rule has produced a large young Iranian population that is not hostile to Washington, but friendly; not fanatically attached to fundamentalist interpretations of Islam but alienated from them and often from Islam itself.

Most Americans have no idea that a Constitutional Revolution is under way in Iran. In 2010, with little media notice or public visibility, a group of dedicated Iranian patriots initiated a series of five Iran Democratic Transition Conferences (IDTC) in Washington, D.C., over the next eight years, four of which were held at the U.S. Congress. Conference deliberations explored prospects for political change and paved the way for the establishment of a secular, pluralistic, democratic government in Iran. A number of these Iranians with a strong core belief in freedom and democracy created the National Iranian Congress as a catalyst for organizing a Constitutional Revolution in Iran and establishing an interim Transitional Government.

In May 2017, at the 4th Iran Democratic Transition Conference, the NIC introduced a proposed draft constitution guaranteeing the fundamental rights of the Iranian people and suggested that an Iran Democratic Transition Council to be formed by the various opposition figures. Since December of 2017, millions of Iranian citizens in over 100 cities mobilized against the regime in response to the call for a popular Constitutional Revolution. The momentum continues to build.

The stage is set for President Trump to seize the Iranian Constitutional Change option to avoid military conflict while at the same time continuing to apply rigorous comprehensive sanctions on the regime to cut the revenue sources enabling its violent activities. U.S. sanctions would be discontinued when the Iranian republic is governed by the will of the its citizens and elected representatives through free and fair popular elections. This is the third option and the only real solution to deal with Iran, not negotiations with or war with a small group of fanatic Mullahs who have no legitimacy in the eyes of the Iranian people.

Amir Fakhravar is a former Iranian political prisoner, award winning writer, comparative constitutional law expert and the senate Chairman of the National Iranian Congress.

G. William Heiser is a former Reagan NSC Staff Director and currently is a senior adviser to the National Iranian Congress.

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Iranian Mullah's strategy is to make the people of Iran and the international community "confused" and at the same time hopeful about the "coming behavior change," which is never going to happen, G. William Heiser and Amir Fakhravar write for Newsmax.
option, maximum pressure, sanctions, nuclear weapons
Wednesday, 17 July 2019 08:46 PM
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