In light of the Trump administration’s recent attacks on various news agencies for printing “fake news”, discussions have sprung up everywhere, from blogs to social media and even a Wikipedia listing.
The wave of fake news stems from the ability of social media to distribute information as fast as fingers can swipe a touchscreen. As a result, it has been harder for ordinary people to determine what is real and what is not. One example is the Iranian lobby and its opposition to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) being designated a foreign terrorist organization by the Trump administration.
Part of the issue is that many individuals and organizations already think that the IRGC is designated a terrorist supporter, but that is not entirely correct. Past administrations have designated individuals associated with the IRGC and shell companies operated by the IRGC, which sponsors and supports terrorism. As a result, the IRGC have been involved in evading international sanctions.
However, there has not been a sanction or designation put on the IRGC as a whole organization. This is one of the most powerful and pervasive organizations in Iran, and an economic powerhouse with its own businesses in addition to its funding from the Iranian government.
Much of the wealth that it accrues is used to line the pockets of its leaders and their families, as well as supporting a military network used by its Quds Forces to carry out missions throughout the region and terrorist attacks. They also supply arms to hot beds of instability, including Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
The issue for many U.S. administrations is how to confront the IRGC, as it is the heart and muscle that obeys the commands of the regime ruthlessly. The Iran lobby has used the argument that censuring the IRGC as a whole would amount to a catastrophe and ruin any hopes for a peaceful resolution. In fact, groups have used the specter of war as a response to sanctioning the IRGC.
The logic is twisted and perverse, because it argues that if a violent felon is in your house and threatens you and your family, bashing him on the head with a baseball bat may lead to a violent confrontation. So instead, meekly submit and allow that criminal to do whatever they wish and everything will be alright.
It is this logic that led to the nuclear agreement with the regime that did not include provisions to address the human rights abuses nor any political reforms to move Iran towards a freer, open and democratic government. Iranian regime’s lobby in the U.S., The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) issued a statement that indicated legislative efforts by the U.S. could actually be a violation of the 2015 nuclear agreement. He even argues that any new sanctions could kill the nuclear deal. But that ignores the fact that nuclear-related issues are separate from non-nuclear issues.
Yet that ignore what a driver of chaos and instability that the IRGC is within the region. Only direct action against the group and its financial lifelines can end its destructive control within the region.