A damaged installation in Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq oil processing plant is pictured on September 20, 2019. (Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images)
By Raymond Tanter
Thursday, 03 Oct 2019 2:07 PM
Nearly five years after the Iran Nuclear Deal, which was meant to contain the Iranian nuclear threat as well as taming its regional rogue behavior, the Iranian regime remains the biggest threat to the United States and its allies in the region.
Intelligence from the main Iranian Resistance coalition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran Office in Washington (NCRI-US), shows that Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani approved the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) attack on Saudi oil installations from Iranian territory, according to a press conference and report by the group.
The information shows that top IRGC commanders of aerospace force were deployed from Tehran to Omydieh base in Khuzestan province in southwestern Iran to command this operation.
The attack was overseen by the most senior military commander of Iran during the war/crisis situation, namely IRGC Major General Gholamali Rashid, who directly reports to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, according to NCRI official Alireza Jafarzadeh who provided the details at the press conference.
There is mounting evidence that the resistance group is correct, U.S. Government officials said privately about the NCRI press conference on the Iranian attack on the Saudi oil installations, according to the Washington Times.
The information provided by the NCRI is significant because it indicates Tehran is willing to take serious risks to threaten the countries in the region and the free flow of oil in the Persian Gulf, as a means to extract concessions from the Unites States and western nations.
The regime’s behavior in the Persian Gulf region has a high level of risk, because it could trigger a military response and much harsher reaction from the West.
The Supreme Leader seems to be confident that the United States will not get engaged in any military actions. Supreme Leader Khamenei hopes to get the oil sanctions lifted using terrorism and destabilizing activities in the region as a bargaining chip. Khamenei relies on his regime’s past behavior of four decades of terrorism and hostage taking as a profitable tool to gain concession from the west and the central core of its foreign policy.
That device explains why the Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani are in line with such behavior. Zarif has repeatedly boasted about his close ties and friendship and cooperation with notorious IRGC Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani.
The information also demonstrates that in light of internal crisis resulting from systemic corruption engulfing the regime like a cancer, widespread discontent of the population because of poverty and inflation, strikes by workers and other sectors of the society, and continued protests in Iran, Tehran has found no other way but to escalate regional aggression. Such aggressive behavior, if not confronted with decisiveness and power, would boost the morale of the IRGC commanders, and further emboldens the regime.
After Pompeo’s accusations against Iran and Trump’s “locked and loaded” tweet, Trump struck a more oblique posture, including both threats and diplomacy.
Pompeo made trips to Europe to underscore our relationship to transatlantic security and economic prosperity, for which many Americans and Europeans sacrificed across generations to build and safeguard.
President Hassan Rouhani tried to push back against the, “maximum pressure strategy” of Trump and Pompeo.
Looking at the developments in Iran and Tehran’s behavior domestically and internationally, clearly indicates the major weaknesses of the regime and its vulnerability inside Iran. Tehran’s aggressive behavior is more of a sign of desperation rather than its strength.
President Trump’s repeated statements about his reluctance to use military force does not play well with a regime which only understands the language of force and decisiveness. He should continue with the maximum pressure strategy, coupled with sending supportive signals to the people of Iran and their organized opposition.
The administration’s 12-point demands announced by Secretary Pompeo a year ago should remain as the prerequisite if the Iranian regime seeks to end its international isolation. Nothing more, and nothing less.
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, Townhall.com, National Review, The Weekly Standard, Human Events, The American Spectator, and now in Newsmax. To read more of his reports.