It seems that the United States is serious this time in
putting pressure on the Iranian regime in a way that leaves the latter with
three options: change its hostile behavior towards its neighbors, comply with
US conditions, or collapse.
According to the US, the present round of sanctions is the toughest in its history against rogue states, as they put it. Here, I want to clarify a point regarding the eight states exempted from boycotting the Iranian oil trade. This exemption is not permanent but time bound. It means that it would end within a few weeks, as emphasized by US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo. The other thing regarding these exemptions is that the financial return of these sales will be deposited in a bank account outside Iran to ensure that it is spent in the form of goods and services within Iran, so that it is not spent on Iranian militias abroad.
The question here is: Will the sanctions have an immediate effect on Iran’s economic conditions? I do not think so. I do not believe that the Americans expect that either. It seems that the Iranian regime had prepared itself for these sanctions long ago, by stockpiling oil outside its territory. This would enable it to absorb the impact of the crisis for some time. However, this resistance would definitely weaken over time, in a way that would make the sanctions fulfill its goals.
The US, as its politicians mentioned, does not seek to completely overthrow the whole regime; but rather to correct its behavior and curb its ambitions, whether by preventing it from owning nuclear power or ballistic missiles which are an integral part of the these nuclear capabilities. At the same time, the US wants to cut off its militant arms which it uses to threaten its neighbors and fund terrorism with. As for overthrowing the whole regime, I do not believe that the Americans seek that. Overthrowing the regime like what happened with Saddam’s regime in Iraq would create a similar situation to what happened in Iraq, but it would be the Shiite version. This would have dangerous repercussions on the region’s stability and security.
As I said in previous articles, the first people who are going to benefit from clipping the wings of the mullahs’ regime are the Iranians themselves. These strict sanctions would convince them that having this expansionist mentality of the Middle Ages and the neglect of human beings almost completely is impossible in today’s world, and that religious countries with an expansionist mindset cannot be accepted in the modern age. Sooner or later this would make the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist come back to its senses, oblige it to protect the state from failing and forget about exporting the revolution. This latter task was one of Khomeini’s most important wills before he died. It’s also possible for the situation to aggravate as the mullahs may insist on resistance and steadfastness. This is however hardly possible.
The retreat of the mullahs’ regime from its ambitions and its resorting to rationality as well as peaceful coexistence with its neighbors is what the entire world, including the neighboring countries which this regime has harmed for over four decades, hopes for.