The U.S Throws the Iranian People in the Hands of the Revolutionary Guard

The ministers of foreign affairs and other officials from the P5+1 countries, the European Union and Iran while announcing the framework of a comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear program — in Switzerland on 2 April 2015.

It is one of the most significant failures of U.S. foreign policy. The U.S. is ignoring the complexity of the Middle East situation and knowingly supporting Sunnites against Shiites. It is a crime against a people that is not responsible for the behavior of its leaders.

It is one of the betrayals of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that Democrats and Republicans renegaded. It is an abuse of the law by the U.S. on its allies who were prohibited from applying their commitment. If the US is back, it must respect its partners. It represents a considerable risk of nuclear conflict now that irresponsible Revolutionary Guards will control.

I speak of experience, having interacted sporadically with the country's financial institutions over the past 40 years. Have we forgotten the lockdown of the US Embassy in Tehran? As sanctions started piling up, the regime got more brutal. The Ahmadinejad years were the theater of State terrorism. When President Rouhani came into power, an opening was offered.

Various Western administrations grossly exaggerated the nuclear threat of Iran. Intelligence evidence found that the development of the Iranian nuclear industry was not aiming at the type of plutonium that would fit a nuclear weapon., contrary to what George W. Bush stated. Will it stay that way?

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was unique in many ways.

  • The parties included China, Russia, the United States, the UK, Germany, and France. Revoking it unilaterally, as Donald Trump did, was not only a humiliation of Iran, but an act of aggression against the allied parties.
  • The control of the development of Iran’s nuclear facilities was excruciatingly defined and executed. All claims that Iran had failed to deliver its part of the bargain were proved false. The US lost its role as an inspector on behalf of the IAEA unilaterally.
  • While Joe Biden and Barack Obama supported the JCPOA, Hillary Clinton, ever an electoral opportunist, in a significant speech at the Brookings Institute during her Presidential campaign, refused to endorse a Treaty that her colleague, US Secretary John Kerry, had spent two years of diplomatic efforts on to follow Obama’s policy. Anthony Blinken was the Undersecretary of State at the time. Have they forgotten what they were aiming for?

The Biden Administration inherits a legacy of betrayals, failures, and lost wars. This is not an enviable situation after Trump licked the boots of the Saudis and Netanyahu.

The deal was clear: against the control of its nuclear industry, Iran was expecting the lifting of sanctions and some economic breathing space for its people. Instead, Donald Trump increased the sanctions unilaterally under false pretexts.

The European partners did hold to their word and tried to create some form of barter that the US condemned. My Iranian interlocutors were frightened at the prospect of what would lead the country backward. If Rouhani could not have economic counterparts, it is the Revolutionary Guard who would take over from the moderate regime. The OFAC and the US Treasury have made it impossible for the European signatories by threatening them with sanctions.

Every single central bank or major bank, and even international companies, refused to engage with Iran. They were scared of the consequences. Meddling with the White House can have consequences.

It’s done. It’s a failure. The new Iranian leader, Ebrahim Raisi, supported by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, already announced that Iran would never use missiles and indicated a hard line. Behind that failure, is the repetitive belief of the United States that they would change the Iranian regime. They failed. So did they in Afghanistan, North Korea, Vietnam, Kosovo, Somalia, and Latin America because they did not understand that a regular Army is not equipped to fight a guerilla war. Behind that belief lies a hubris that the US democracy is the best in the world. Donald Trump destroyed the fragile bipartisan balance without which democracy turns its back to the people and resorts to street fighting.

Will diplomacy make it possible to renegotiate the Treaty? Why would Iranians go back to the table and agree on a deal that the United States will not be committed to implementing? Joe Biden might be convinced that the United States is back: can it be trusted?

The task is steep: one more reason to initiate diplomatic efforts now.

CEO at Galileo Global Advisors and Adjunct professor Columbia Law School.