Monday, February 15, 2010
U.S. urges sanctions against Iran's Revolutionary Guards
Could Iran have finally run out of time to comply with Western demands that it stop trying to produce nuclear weapons? Monday's comments threatening international economic sanctions against the country's elite Revolutionary Guards raises the stakes even further by exposing the men behind the curtain. The Revolutionary Guards are the power behind the theocracy -- and now, finally, Western nations have gotten personal. What else to make of Monday's comments by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton threatening to include the group in the next round of economic sanctions aimed at forcing Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program. Speaking in Qatar on her way to Riyadh, the Saudi capital, Clinton said the United States would not "stand idly by" while Iran pursued nuclear weapons, according to the Reuters international news service. "We are planning to try to bring the world community together in applying pressure to Iran through sanctions adopted by the United Nations that will be particularly aimed at those enterprises controlled by the Revolutionary Guard, which we believe is, in effect, supplanting the government of Iran," Clinton said. The Revolutionary Guard group, which was set up after the 1979 revolution to protect the country's rulers, has 125,000 soldiers and includes army, navy and air divisions, Reuters said. The group is separate from Iran's 350,000-soldier army and is under the command of the country's top religious authority, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The group has steadily expanded its reach and is now involved in construction projects, international trade and oil and gas development. Clinton said the United States thinks the Revolutionary Guards group was overpowering Iran's civilian government and aiming to set up a military dictatorship. "We see that the government of Iran, the supreme leader, the president, the parliament, is being supplanted and that Iran is moving toward a military dictatorship," she said. "That is our view." Clinton also made a point of stating that the United States was not contemplating war with Iran. "We are planning to try to bring the world community together in applying pressure to Iran through sanctions adopted by the United Nations that will be particularly aimed at those enterprises controlled by the Revolutionary Guard, which we believe is, in effect, supplanting the government of Iran," she said. But what politicians say is not always what they mean. It should be fairly obvious to everyone where this is headed, unless Iran drops its pretenses and agrees to give up its uranium enrichment programs.