As sanctions continue to destroy the lives of Iranians, it should be noted in the pages of history who brought this plague onto the people of Iran. Just as history has taken note of those who worked with foreign powers to dissemble Iran in the 1800s, or the Qajar kings who gave away Iran’s wealth to Western powers, or those who conspired with foreigners to oust Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq, we should know the names and faces of those who pushed the world to “cripple” Iran.
Let the record show that the ultimate culprits are Ayatollah Khamenei and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Their radical, reckless and ideological behavior made Iran an easy sanctions target. Delusional, they marched right into the abyss and took the “vatan” with them. Even when there wasn’t a war, the 8 years under Ahmadinejad felt like war years.
But even the idiocy of Ahmadinejad and Khamenei could not have brought this disaster unto Iran by itself. They had “partners” on the Western side that made sure that not a single opportunity for sanctions was wasted.
Let their names and faces be known.
Mark Dubowitz is the executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a pro-war neoconservative think tank funded by major pro-Israel Republicans such as Home Depot funder Bernard Marcus, hedge funder Paul Singer and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. Mark is credited in the US media for having been a designer of many of the sanctions the Obama administration imposed on Iran, referring to him as a “sanctions expert.” He has testified before Congress on Iran sanctions issues and briefed the U.S. military, U.S., European and Canadian government officials, members of Congress, and counterterrorism officials. Dubowitz expressed his disappointment on Twitter over Rowhani’s election victory, admitting it would make it more difficult to impose new sanctions on Iran.
Mark D. Wallace, a former Bush administration official, is the CEO of United Against Nuclear Iran, an outfit that focuses on organizing public media campaigns against companies that trade with Iran. UANI is credited for having forced companies to stop legal trade with Iran, such as selling airline tickets to Iran, iPhones, cars etc. UANI’s advisory Board is filled with pro-war figures such as former CIA head Jim Woolsey, Dennis Ross and MEK-supporter Francis Townsend.
AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is considered the most powerful foreign policy lobby in Washington DC. Since the 1990s, it has been behind all sanctions legislation against Iran. Its main allies in the Senate have been Senator Mark Kirk and Robert Menendez, who are pushing to greet Rowhani with new sanctions in the Senate as early as September, and Ed Royce and Brad Sherman in the House. Sherman’s Jewish-Iranian staffer, Siamak Kordestani, has been a link to the pro-war/sanctions group Mujahedin-e Khalq.
Maryam Rajavi and the Mujahedin-e Khalq, a former terrorist organization, is a valuable ally of the pro-war and pro-sanctions groups. The MEK has a strong grassroots machine and have been able to provide “Iranian” support for the sanctions bills in Congress. The fact that it is held in very low regard by Iranians inside and outside of Iran has not hampered its influence.
Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran analyst at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, is often called upon to testify in Congress in favor of sanctions. Sadjadpour has claimed that the Green movement in Iran supports sanctions, and has used that false pretext to assure concerned lawmakers that sanctions are the preferred approach of Iranian pro-democracy activists. Sadjadpour was called out by Professor Muhammad Sahimi in 2010 for his behind-the-scenes maneuvers in favor of crippling sanctions. Sadjadpour famously called sanctions chemotherapy, arguing that they would hurt the Iranian people but would be a price worth paying, a statement that drew ire from Iranian victims of sanctions on medicine.
Mehdi Khalaji is the son of Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Khalaji and himself an Islamic clergy transformed into political analyst. A native of Qom, Khalaji studied Islamic theology in there and at Tarbiat Modarres University. Since 2005, he has been an analyst with the pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a powerful think-tank in DC. Working with an array of pro-Israel groups, Khalaji has written and testified in favor of sanctions, including making the wild claim that sanctions brought about Rowhani’s election victory.
There are plenty others that could be named, but these are the actors in Washington DC that have directly influenced policy in favor of sanctions.
History will judge them.