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Following Iran’s medium-range ballistic missile launch that eventually ended in failure, the administration of President Donald Trump added insult to injury by blasting at Tehran, using language the mullahs haven’t been used to in the past 8 years.
“As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice,” U.S. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn said during a very firm-toned two minutes from the White House podium, resorting to comments that sent shockwaves across the international political spectrum and media.
While neither President Trump nor any of his national security team has elaborated how the U.S. can pursue on retaliatory actions, rest assured Tehran is understanding this new tone quite well. And we should not be concerned about any boasting heard from senior advisors or spokesman in the Iranian regime apparatus.
For now reports show Team Trump gearing to impose a fresh round of sanctions targeting a number of Iranian individuals and entities.
This is quite a contrast for Iran to swallow, following the Obama administration going the limits and bending backwards to such extents as to providing $150 billion under a highly flawed deal that was supposedly aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program and suspicious ambitions in this regard.
Flynn is now seen forcefully condemning Iran’s actions in the first remarks he has made in his new and highly influential post, going on to accuse Iran of threatening America’s allies and provoking instability across the region.
“The Obama administration failed to respond adequately to Tehran’s malign actions — including weapons transfers, support for terrorism and other violations of international norms,” Flynn added.
This clear warning should also be evaluated as a seemingly anticipated manifestation of Trump living up to his campaign promise of adopting a tough perspective on Tehran.
Flynn also targeted another Iran weak point by pressing the mullahs’ support for their proxy Shiite Houthis in Yemen after the group claimed a successful attack targeting a Saudi navy vessel.
To show how important Yemen is for Iran, and how Iranian officials took advantage of Obama’s appeasement policy and lame-duck approach.
“Having naval bases in remote distances is not less than nuclear power,” said Gen. Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, Iran’s armed forces chief of staff. “It is ten times more important and creates deterrence.”
The atmosphere has recently changed significantly. While first denying any ballistic missile testing, Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan was forced to confirm how the regime actually did carry out a missile test.
On the sidelines of the controversial Iran nuclear deal, the mullahs’ are also signatory to an eight-year extension of a U.N. prohibition measure banning the development of ballistic missiles. With the U.N. Security Council taking measures to endorse the pact, the Iranian regime must be made to understand now, and once and for all, that such actions will be responded with significant punitive measures.
Irony lies in the fact that one can easily conclude how Iran is allocating the windfall provided by the Obama administration for measures such as enhancing ballistic missiles and continuing its belligerent meddling in regional countries, including its involvement in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon. And the Iranian people have yet to benefit from their own God-given national riches, despite enjoying the 2nd largest proven natural gas reserves and the 3rd largest prove oil reserves.
Iran’s “nuclear and missile program is against the Iranian people’s interest and must be stopped,” Maryam Rajavi, President of the main Iranian opposition, National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said through a video message presented at a recent U.S. Senate conference.
The NCRI consists of a slate of dissident entities, including the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), and is known to consistently unveil various aspects of Iran’s nuclear program, ballistic missile initiatives, meddling across the region and human rights violations.
As the Trump administration weighs new sanctions on the mullahs, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, being the entity behind all of Tehran’s meddling across the Middle East and spearheading their ballistic missile program and nuclear drive, should be blacklisted as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
Rest assured from this day forward Iran will be treading this path very carefully. And yet the Trump administration will sooner than later realize such rhetoric, backed by meaningful measures, are what will tame the mullahs’ regime.
Heshmat Alavi is a political and rights activist. His writing focuses on Iran, ranging from human rights violations, social crackdown, the regime’s support for terrorism and meddling in foreign countries, and the controversial nuclear program.