A leaked audiotape confirms to the world what Iran watchers have always known: Politicians, including its president, aren’t in charge of that country — the “supreme leader” and his Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are. So why does Team Biden think there’s a point to drawn-out discussions with diplomats for a deal over which they have no dominion?
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is a dictator, so it’s no surprise he dictates all key decisions. The Revolutionary Guard, meanwhile, is an entire state-within-a-state, controlling much of the economy and answerable only (if that) to Khamenei.
And the country’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, admitted it all in a conversation not meant for publication. “In the Islamic Republic, the military field rules,” Zarif said last month, and the Guard often overrules civilian policies.
The tape (whose authenticity Tehran does not dispute) leaked to London-based network Iran International, which shared it with The New York Times.
Zarif said Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani funneled arms to Syria using Iran’s commercial airline and was actively trying to destabilize the region. Zarif added that Soleimani worked with Russia to undermine the nuke deal and revealed Khamenei had just “forcefully rebuked” him for saying Iran was open to working with America on synchronizing a return to the accord.
President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in recognition of these realities. His team designated the Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, noting it uses its profits from its vast holdings not to feed starving citizens but to brutally repress them (and to export terror) while it enriches the elite.
Trump’s administration saw no point to negotiating with those who have no power.
Team Biden pretends it’s important to reach a new agreement before Iran’s presidential election in June. But that won’t change who’s in charge; nor will a deal be with the forces that actually rule Iran with iron fists.