Iranian Kurdish rebels urge Washington to keep putting more economic sanctions on Tehran
WASHINGTON — The Kurdish organization that has opposed the Iranian government since the 1979 revolution is applauding new U.S. sanctions against the nation and urging the Trump administration to keep hitting Iran with more economic force.
“They (economic sanctions) should be maximum,” Salah Bayaziddi, the U.S. representative of the Komala Party, told TMN Thursday in an interview. “Now the sanctions do not just take on an individual but will affect all trying to find business across Iran.”
On Monday, sanctions against Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard went into effect as its designation by the U.S. as a foreign terrorist organization took hold.
That Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has massive economic resources and reports directly to Iran’s supreme leader. It is the first time Washington has designated an entity of another government as a terrorist organization.
Iranian Kurds live in four western provinces of Iran and, during the 1979 revolution, fought the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini-led new government militarily and politically. The Iranian Kurds were defeated militarily and have since focused on supporting and seeking support for democratic changes in Iran.
While much attention has been given to Kurds in Iraq and now in Syria, the Iranian Kurds have been struggling against oppressive central governments much longer.
Placing the IRGC on the United States Foreign Terrorist Organizations List (FTO) was one of the steps the Komala Party had pushed to weaken the power of the central government, Bayaziddi said.
He said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s promises to Iranian Kurds during a meeting with them in Texas on Monday gave the Komala Party and others hope that more economic steps are coming.
(“I wanted to be with them to hear their views of how our policy is affecting the lives of the people inside of Iran and how our policy is leading to what we hope, which is a change in the nature and the behavior of the Islamic Republic of Iran and their leadership, and our continued support for the Iranian people in (inaudible) the country in a way that causes them not to have the wealth to export terror around the world,” Pompeo told reporters after meeting with Iranian Kurds, according to the State Department transcript.)
The IRGC was created by Khomeini in 1979 to safeguard the mullah’s takeover. It was charged with crushing all internal resistance to the mullah rulers while spreading the religious influence throughout the Middle East.
Bayaziddi said the new sanctions are the first blow to disrupting the economic vise the IRGC has on many Iranians. He said it is critical that European nations apply similar tight sanctions and that the U.S. continue in a “maximum pressure” campaign.
Such actions may slow or poke holes in the IRGC’s massive money laundering operations, he said.
The IRGC was created to squelch all resistance to central rule at home and to help the theocratic regime spread its fervor throughout the Middle east, according to various analysts.
To achieve the latter, it infused itself throughout the Iranian economy, where it has used money to bankroll proxies in Lebanon, Yemen and Syra, according to various government reports.
Bayaziddi said disgruntlement against the central government in Tehran is becoming more widespread as Iranians realize their standards of living continue to deteriorate.
For example, he said areas of Iran hit with flood waters in March continue to languish — all while money continues to flow to help proxies in Lebanon and Syria.