DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard is now in the cross-hairs of U.N. penalties over Tehran’s nuclear program, and it’s an elusive target — a master at the sanctions-busting strategies long used by the Islamic Republic.
Iran has used a combination of third-party companies, deals with deep-pocket allies such as China, and the financial cushion of its oil exports to get around sanctions. The Guard is the muscle behind the clerical rulers and has its hand in every level of the country’s economic, military, foreign policy and nuclear planning. It also is at the center of evasive strategies.
Even with two of Iran’s lifelines — Russia and China — backing the latest Security Council measures, Iran denied being boxed in. Commerce Minister Mahdi Ghazanfari said Thursday in Beijing that Iran would find “new ways” to overcome the U.N. action.
These could include simply setting up new companies to funnel equipment to Iran’s nuclear and defense programs or leaning more on friendly states such as Venezuela and perhaps even neighboring Turkey to keep money channels open, experts said.
Mustafa Alani, head of security studies at the Dubai-based Gulf Research Center, said he did not see the Revolutionary Guard suffering a lot.
“The Revolutionary Guard has developed an elaborate system to circumvent the embargo, maneuver illegal trade, bypass restrictions,” he said.