Experts: Iran not to change its behavior, while IRGC benefits from country’s political isolation

Posted on March 24, 2012

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The IRGC (Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Council) is benefiting from Iran’s political isolation due to the nuclear crisis, American Enterprise Institute Research Fellow Ali Alfoneh said.

The EU formally imposed an oil embargo on Iran and agreed to a freeze on the assets of the Iranian Central Bank on January 23, but existing contracts will be honored until July 1.

The new sanctions, due to take effect from July 1, have helped boost Brent prices by nearly 17 percent so far this year, stoking fears that higher fuel prices could derail economic growth in the United States, the world’s top oil consumer.

Iran has been suffering, as Western nations continue to isolate the Islamic Republic financially, and force it to demonstrate that it is not trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, but officials in many other countries believe otherwise.

Ali Alfoneh noted that there are certain groups in Iran, that benefit from country’s isolation, which in turn, greatly affects Iran’s future development.

Explaining his point on how IRGC benefits from Iran’s political isolation, Alfoneh brought up an example of National Iranian Oil Company going to the control of the Oil Ministry.

“Iranian parliament subjected the hitherto independent National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) to the control of the Oil Ministry,” Alfoneh said.

“Iran’s Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi is expected to replace many NIOC oil executives with new cadres recruited from the Khatam al-Anbia Construction Base of the IRGC. Qasemi headed the Khatam al-Anbia Construction Base prior to his appointment as oil minister,” he explained.

Recently, Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters signed 12 trillion rial (about $1 billion) contract to build line two of Tabriz subway, according to IRNA.

The IRGC subsidiary has expanded its activities during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency, getting many oil, gas and road building projects with the government’s help. The biggest holder of government contracts, over the last four years the Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters has acquired 1,500 of the government’s most important projects for itself.

U.S. Northeastern University Professor Kamran Dadkhah agrees with opinion that Iran’s leadership is unlikely to change its political behavior, even with increasing sanctions.

No matter the sanctions, loss of income and hardship for the population, Iran’s leadership will not change its course, Dadkhah said.

“Many years ago, Iranian government decided to go nuclear, and no sanctions will chance that decision,” Dadkhah noted.

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