Several months into the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, the arrangement seems to be working perfectly—for both Iran and the Western companies that joined the Tehran gold rush, that is. Iranian oil is being shipped again to European ports while Western firms are going all out to meet the needs of the Islamist regime and hoping to make a mint from the transactions. Though American laws (which President Obama doesn’t have the power to annul) still prevent U.S. companies from taking part in this bonanza, the exceptions granted to the Boeing Company in the pact have resulted in a contract to supply Iran with commercial airliners and other goods and services. But if you are judging the nuclear pact by whether it appears to be moderating the Iranian government, the deal must already be judged a failure.
Today, the New York Times reports, current Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has purged the head of the Iranian military. Firaz Shirouzabadi had been chief of staff of the Iranian army since 1989. But he has now been replaced by one of his deputies, Mohammad Bagheri. The new guy is the former deputy intelligence and operations director of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. The IRGC is the power behind the throne in Tehran. More than that, the shadowy security/military group operates Iran’s terrorist network abroad.
Putting a former IRGC operative in control of the army can’t be treated as a mere detail, though it can be argued that the separate approaches of the Iranian military and the IRGC are often best defined as distinctions without a difference. Bagheri’s elevation is one more signal that Iran remains every bit the terrorist state that it has been since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. It is an indication that Iran remains committed to its quest for regional hegemony and war on Israel and moderate Arab states, as well as the effort to keep Bashar Assad in power in Syria.
Placing the IRGC in that strong position also has implications for the ongoing efforts by the administration to further economic ties with the regime. The problem with the Boeing Iran deal is that the terror group controls some of the companies with which Boeing will be doing business. But with the military also connected in this fashion to international terrorists, President Obama’s belief that Iran’s goal is to “get right with the world” is farcical.
The reality of post-nuclear deal Iran is a regime that is more radical than ever staffed by leading players that are determined to prevent any true rapprochement with the West. While Tehran is glad to do business with Western firms that can help it, it is the same country that remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. Not only has Boeing gotten into bed with terrorists, the same can be said of those who are counting on all the new business ties changing the nature of a terrorist regime.