As the U.S. sanctions begin to bite into Iranian oil revenue, the Iranian regime is fighting back with its military options in an attempt to push back against the Trump administration. One of these military methods is the hit squads being dispatched into Iraq, thus increasing Iran’s influence on the Iraqi political system.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its Quds Force are said to be behind the attacks by hit squads, which were dispatched to Iraq in May 2018. This dispatch appears to be in response to the lack of success Iranian backed candidates had in the Iraqi elections.
British security officials who work with the Iraqi armed forces have called these developments alarming. Iranian officials are targeting dissidents throughout Iraq’s political spectrum. Adel Shaker El-Tamimi was the most high-profile victim of these squads and was assassinated in September 2018.
“Iran is intensifying its campaign of intimidation against the Iraqi government by using assassination squads to silence critics of Tehran. This is a blatant attempt to thwart efforts by the new Iraqi government to end Iran’s meddling in Iraq,” said one senior British security official.
Despite Efforts to Increase Influence, Regime Flounders
While the regime attempts to quell dissent, the Iranian government recognizes that they are sitting on a social, political, and economic timebomb. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani indicated that his government is prioritizing controlling inflation and unemployment while addressing the needs of its low-income population.
Rouhani’s budget is limited and as a result, his ability to follow through on his promises is limited at best. The increasing protests and demonstrations show that the Iranian people are expressing a growing lack of trust in their government.
The regime is forced to either meet the demands of protesters and risk further protests, or to continue to suppress dissent, thus making it more likely that they will spawn further dissent. Leading officials also talk tough regarding the nuclear deal and Iran’s military options, but the truth is that these options are also limited.
Human Rights Violations Grow
In light of the regime’s efforts at suppression, it should come as no surprise that human right violations and abuses continue to rise in Iran. Individuals are denied their basic rights as the mullahs attempt to make an example of anyone who speaks out.
The internet and social media are constantly being monitored to find those deemed to be part of the resistance and protest leaders. Students are being arrested because they are seen as potential leaders of an uprising.
As a result, the Iranian people continue to fight the repression and receive support from members of the resistance throughout the world. The regime is teetering on the edge but is unlikely to do what is necessary to secure its survival.