Key Points

Finally, the U.S. should seek agreement with China but be prepared to wield sanctions and other punitive measures. Telecom giant Huawei is already facing federal charges for violating sanctions on Iran and then destroying evidence of it. The president should be wary of hollow promises from Beijing that entail no meaningful change in its behavior.

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The U.S. should not hesitate to reduce Iranian exports substantially by cutting the import allowance associated with each oil waiver. Vigorous enforcement of sanctions will also be essential. A reduction to zero may not be possible in May, yet any substantial reduction will hurt a regime so dependent on oil.

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This move further stigmatizes the Guard Corps by putting them on equal footing with non-state Sunni jihadist groups and places the burden on the IRGC to change their behavior or live with the stigma — and penalties — of the FTO list.

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The lasting presence of the IRGC in Iran’s economy has had ruinous effects on Iranians, driving many companies into bankruptcy18 and leading to the imposition of U.S. and international sanctions on the country. For the last four decades, Iran’s economy has suffered from corruption, high inflation rate, high unemployment rate, high poverty rate, and low economic growth. As a result, an economy which was ahead of South Korea under the Shah, is now failing at all levels. Iran needs structural and fundamental reform of its economy and the exit of the Guard from Iran’s economy and politics is a prerequisite for any successful economic and political. However, over the past two decades, it has become more and more clear that only a revolution can drive the Guard out of Iran’s politics and economy because the IRGC is not just guarding the regime, the Guard is the regime.

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