For the regime in Iran, their nuclear ambition has always been about securing power in the region and on a global scale. They want to be able to keep their people in line, but also keep the rest of the world from pushing too far into their affairs. While the JCPOA of 2015 was meant to curb their ability to create a nuclear weapon, the reality is that the agreement merely kicked a rock down the road for another administration to deal with.
This is evident as the regime’s parliament voted to funnel thousands of pounds into the development of its nuclear missile project in a bid to fight what they called U.S. adventurism. The vote included chants of “Death to America” by members of the parliament. This bill makes Iran’s military budget in the range of $800 million.
This type of decision is focused on keeping the ruling class in power, no matter the cost to the Iranian people. For the average Iranian, this type of decision means less money for social programs, less money being put toward economic initiatives, and less jobs available for their largely educated class of young people. But these were not the people that the regime focused on when it passed this bill.
Instead, they charged Rouhani’s government with the job of addressing the threats to the Iranian theocracy, including the United States. According to the bill, $260 million will be spent on the nuclear program, while another $300 million will be given to the Quds Force, a division of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Other intelligence projects will receive the rest of the funds.
The problem with most bargains struck with Iran is the lack of transparency and this bill demonstrates that they aren’t willing to play straight with the international community even now.
In late July, the U.S. imposed further sanctions on Iran, including a terrorist designation for the IRGC. This bill and its message are seen as a response to the Trump administration’s continued efforts to address the threat posed by Iran.
“In an hour and a day, Iran could return to a more advanced [nuclear] level than at the beginning of the negotiations,” said Rouhani. He also hinted that he might be willing to pull out of the nuclear agreement if the U.S. continues to push forward with sanctions and other efforts to reduce the influence of Iran in the region.
The mullahs’ regime continues to be a threat to the international community, as they export terrorism and division within the Middle East. Their funding of fundamentalism groups throughout the region has continued to cause divisions in countries that are on the edge of instability. Yet, the regime is facing internal challenges related to unemployment and the repression of their people that is causing social unrest.
“One has to bear in mind the Iranian regime is heavily involved in all the major wards that have engulfed the Middle East. It is the main state sponsor of terror and has been the main sources of the ominous phenomenon of Islamic extremism since its inception,” said Hossein Abedini of the London office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
Even former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani warned the Trump administration that the Iranian regime could not be trusted. “Iran is our biggest enemy, Iran is our fiercest enemy. It is the greatest danger to freedom in the world,” said Giuliani in remarks at the NCRI Free Iran rally in early July.