Post-Sanctions Iran: What Has Changed?

For the past 37 years, the excesses of the Islamic regime, both at home and abroad, have made the Islamic Republic and the Fundamentalist-Revolutionary establishment that brought it to power one of the most hated governments of all time, trying to sustain a way of life based on intimidation through the use of terror and fanaticism. Unfortunately, the people of Iran have never been given the moral support to be able to translate their plight into an all-consuming political movement against this theocracy.

The majority of Iranians have recognized that the resolution of the country's serious economic, political, and social problems is clearly beyond the competence of the theocratic regime.  The clerics who rule Iran today do not include "moderate" men.  There is no moderation in the application of the Law of Vengeance.  There is no moderation in the separation of men and women, nor in the gross domination of men over women.  There is no moderation in denying Iranians their national heritage – art, music, poetry, and literature.  And there is no moderation in teaching children that one is born to look for "martyrdom."

The Iranian people not only have endured years of oppression under the rule of theocracy, but have been isolated throughout the world as a result.  Economically, Iranians are suffering, and the country is in ruins.  The national resources of Iran have been depleted due to the mismanagement and corruption of the Islamic regime.  Today, the majority of people are under the poverty line.  After the Islamic Revolution 37 years ago, not only was freedom lost, but the majority of Iranians have been deprived economically.        

Across the Middle East, Western Europe, and the United States, the reign of terror is felt.  Officials of the Islamic regime applaud the "heroism" of the "martyrs" of those terrorist acts.  To them and their few but fanatical followers, terrorism is a legitimate political tool, justified by a higher cause.

Since 1984, while President Ronald Reagan was in office until the present day, the U.S. government has designated the I.R. a regime of terrorism every year, one that puts efforts toward destabilizing Middle Eastern countries and aids international terrorist groups.  In its annual report on worldwide terrorism released last June 19, the U.S. State Department reported that the Islamic Republic continues to support militant groups in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Gaza and also in South America and Africa.

If there is one thing that truly distinguishes the United States as a great country, it is the profound respect it has for human rights and decency.  Can America reject the behavior of Nazi rulers, Gaddafi's terrorism, and Pol Pot's "killing fields" and yet believe that it can establish a lasting line of communication with a regime that routinely persecutes religious minorities, tortures and executes thousands of political prisoners, teaches schoolchildren to spy on their parents, and promotes international terrorism?  Would America's conscience accept a relationship with such a monstrous regime?

You cannot reason with a regime that does not respect the rights of its own people.  You cannot deal with fundamentalists who believe that the United States of America is the great Satan.  The fact is, the philosophy of the Islamic revolution is the destruction and disappearance of modern civilization from the face of the Earth, and evidently those in charge of it are effecting this with great pleasure.

Therefore, there is no difference between moderate and hard-liners; in the theocratic regime, they are all alike.  Just to mislead the civilized world, they play it as moderate president vs. fundamentalists or hard-liners' "Islamic Parliament."  Hassan Rouhani has a much worse résumé than Ahmadinejad before him – more arrests, more prisoners, more executions, and more oppression.  In addition, Rouhani has made plenty of empty promises for the Iranian people, while it is a fact that he has no authority to do anything.  He was just put in office for his smile and sweet talk to negotiate and end the destructive sanctions, and to release all frozen funds for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard to continue its illegal activities in the region.  Other than that, he is the supreme leader Khamenei's handyman.

The U.S. Navy reported that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard fired rockets near the USS Harry Truman aircraft carrier and the USS Bulkeley guided missile destroyer in the Strait of Hormuz, Persian Gulf, last December.  Immediately, dictators in Tehran shamelessly denied it and called the U.S. Navy report "psychological warfare."  There was no serious reaction when clergy in Tehran on different occasions violated the U.N. resolution by firing nuclear-capable missiles for which, obviously, the only practical purpose is testing to carry atomic warheads.

Recently, the I.R.'s Revolutionary Guard Corps climbed on board U.S. vessels in the Persian Gulf, arrested American sailors, took them into custody, and confiscated their military gear.  Furthermore, the head of the I.R.'s armed forces, Hassan Firouzabadi, proudly said, "This incident should be a lesson to the troublemakers in the U.S. Congress."  How dare a notorious terrorist insult American lawmakers who are representing the people of this great nation and call them troublemakers?  And yet the president of America ignores this affront and calls it good diplomacy.

Then where is the promise of Mr. Obama that the nuclear agreement with Iran would not prevent his administration from imposing new sanctions on the I.R. for non-nuclear issues?  What happened to the Treasury Department sanctioning announcement of last December 11 for individuals and entities that contributed and assisted the I.R.'s ballistic missile program?

Evidently, Mr. Obama is reluctant to do or say anything that would make the Islamic regime unhappy and derail the nuclear agreement, undermining Obama's legacy.  Mr. President, to establish a genuine legacy, put pressure on Islamic leaders in Tehran to accept a visit by Amnesty International and other international organizations to the prisons across the country, which are crowded with innocent men and women of all ages and beliefs crying for liberty and human rights.

Mansour Kashfi, Ph.D., is president of Kashex International Petroleum Consulting and is a college professor in Dallas, Texas.  He is also the author of more than 100 articles and books about the petroleum industry and its market behavior worldwide.

If you experience technical problems, please write to