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Trump Should Express His Support of Iranian Demonstrators

Trump Should Express His Support of Iranian Demonstrators

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as he arrives for the weekly Senate Republican Policy Lunch at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., March 26, 2019. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 27 March 2019 11:07 AM EDT

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laid out the basis for "The Trump Doctrine" in the November/December 2018 issue of Foreign Affairs:

"Both on the campaign trail and in office, President Trump has been clear about the need for bold American leadership to put the United States’ security interests first."

Consider how President Trump approaches Iran in contrast to how he handles North Korea, in an AP report of March 22.

Trump tweeted he reversed his administration’s decision to slap new sanctions on North Korea, with his press secretary explaining that he “likes” leader Kim Jong Un and doesn’t think they’re necessary.

It was announced on March 22 by Treasury that additional large-scale sanctions would be added to those already existing on North Korea. “Trump wrote that he ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!”

In contrast to Pyongyang, President Trump pursues a “maximum pressure” campaign for Tehran. It is intended to choke off revenues of Iran — and especially the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). It uses Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Assad’s regime in Syria, Houthi rebels in Yemen, Shiite militias in Iraq, and Iran’s own agents covertly plotting around the world.

U.S. policy focuses on pressuring the Iranian regime with increasing economic sanctions. During March, Treasury designated 14 Iranian individuals and entities associated with developing weapons of mass destruction.

November 4, 2018, marked the final day of the 180-day wind-down period following the President’s May 8, 2018, announcement to cease participation in the Iran nuclear deal.

Treasury then reimposed sanctions on Iran that had been lifted or waived under the deal. These are the toughest U.S. sanctions ever imposed on Tehran, and target critical sectors of Iran’s economy, such as energy, shipping, and financial sectors.

Many individuals and entities were exposed by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) is the largest unit within NCRI and led demonstrations that broke out in December 2017-2018 and continue today.

On Friday, March 22, 2019, Treasury and State designated 14 individuals and 17 entities in connection with Iran’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND), which provided support to designated Iranian defense entities and whose key personnel played a central role in the Iranian regime’s past nuclear weapons effort.

1) SPND was first revealed by NCRI-US, based on information provided by its network inside Iran. In an exclusive interview with the Associated Press, on July 23, 2011, Alireza Jafarzadeh provided details of the previously unknown organization, which was created in February 2011.

2) Top two organizations of SPND named by Treasury on its sanctions entities on March 22, Shahid Karimi Group & Fakhar Moghaddam Group, were discussed in an April 21, 2017, NCRI-US press conference showing SPND continued its operations for nuclear weaponization despite the nuclear deal.

Because of IRGC’s expansion of the Iranian Revolution abroad, the people of Iran are rising up in protest against the regime. Chants ring out like, “Get out of Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen. Our focus should be at home not abroad!”

Backstopped by the PMOI, protests are threats to regime survival. The tide is turning against Tehran, yet it clings to power with repressive tools, including torture in the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran.

Meanwhile, Tehran made Baghdad a virtual satrap, exercising control over Iraq via the sale of oil and helping break the U.S. sanctions against Iran.

Jafarzadeh wrote a book entitled "The Iran Threat: President Ahmadinejad and the Coming Nuclear Crisis" (2008). He focused more on the nuclear issue rather than on Iran’s malign activities in the region, e.g., in Lebanon, Gaza, and Yemen.

In view of the Jafarzadeh book, there are three steps Trump might take to increase the likelihood of regime change from within and punish Tehran for meddling throughout the Middle East.

First, Trump could express his support of Iranian demonstrators, as Pompeo did in his article in Foreign Affairs. An interview by Trump in the Wall Street Journal would lend moral and political support to Iranian demonstrators.

Second, Trump might provide technical support to the Iranian protestors, so they can assemble for demonstrations with minimum advance knowledge of Tehran’s Ministry of Intelligence and the IRGC. The app Telegram is one technological fix to keep the MOIS and IRGC at bay, at least until the protestors can assemble.

Third, Trump could instruct State to designate both the IRGC and the MOIS as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) as they both qualify to be designated as an FTO. These two entities, IRGC and MOIS, are already designates as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT). However, the FTO designation would allow the U.S. Government to prosecute any U.S. persons who provide material support to these designated entities, as well as barring any of its members or associates from entering the United States.

Prof. Raymond Tanter (@AmericanCHR) served as a senior member on the Middle East Desk of the National Security Council staff in the Reagan-Bush administration, Personal Representative of the Secretary of Defense to international security and arms control talks in Europe, and is now Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan. Tanter is on the comprehensive list of conservative writers and columnists who appear in The Wall Street Journal,, National Review, The Weekly Standard, Human Events, The American Spectator, and now in Newsmax. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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First, Trump could express his support of Iranian demonstrators, as Pompeo did in his article in Foreign Affairs.
trump, iran, protests
Wednesday, 27 March 2019 11:07 AM
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