New Iran dynamic takes shape after US decision on IRGC, Mossad hits - analysis

The US' willingness to walk away from a revived JCPOA means it is open season on the IRGC and Iran’s nuclear program for Israel.

Iranians burn Israeli and US flags during a rally marking the annual Quds Day, or Jerusalem Day, on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan in Tehran, Iran April 29, 2022 (photo credit: WANA NEWS AGENCY/REUTERS)
Iranians burn Israeli and US flags during a rally marking the annual Quds Day, or Jerusalem Day, on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan in Tehran, Iran April 29, 2022
(photo credit: WANA NEWS AGENCY/REUTERS)

The nuclear and terrorism standoff between Israel, the West and Iran has entered a new phase.

Last week, it was finally made official that the Biden administration had taken off the table the idea of removing the IRGC from the US’s terrorism list.

Although this seems like just one of many issues that have been negotiated between the sides, the fact that Washington decided to make its refusal permanent and public signaled a fundamental change of tone by the US.

As of the leaking of that story, the Biden administration was messaging that it is prepared to walk away from its 18-month-long policy of a preference to return to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal.

European External Action Service (EEAS) Deputy Secretary General Enrique Mora and Iranian Deputy at Ministry of Foreign Affairs Abbas Araghchi wait for the start of talks on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in Vienna, Austria June 20, 2021. (credit: EU DELEGATION IN VIENNA/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)European External Action Service (EEAS) Deputy Secretary General Enrique Mora and Iranian Deputy at Ministry of Foreign Affairs Abbas Araghchi wait for the start of talks on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in Vienna, Austria June 20, 2021. (credit: EU DELEGATION IN VIENNA/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

Is a new nuclear deal still possible?

This does not mean there still will not be a deal. However, it means the US was ready to convey to Tehran that this is a make-or-break issue and that it was ready to walk away for real.

The question now is whether the ayatollahs decide it is still in their interest to return to the JCPOA when Biden has only two and a half years left in office and the dynamics of world trade and sanctions have shifted away from a single global marketplace to a much more divided world between the West on one side and China, Russia and other nations on the other side.

These shifts would be historic in and of themselves, but they are only one of the new dynamics.Although the Biden administration’s decision not to delete the IRGC from its Foreign Terrorist Organizations list was only made public this past week, apparently Biden conveyed the decision to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in mid-April.

Escalation of Mossad, IDF operations against Iran

Incidentally, mid-April was when Mossad and IDF operations against Iran escalated, according to foreign sources. This escalation has only increased and was exacerbated in the past few weeks.

What this means is that the US is not only willing to walk away from the nuclear deal, but also that Washington’s willingness to walk away has signaled to Jerusalem – intentionally or unintentionally – that it is open season on the IRGC and Iran’s nuclear program.

Of course, it is possible that the real US strategy is to pretend to walk away and seem to allow Israel to be unleashed against Iran – all with the hope that squeezing the Islamic Republic in this way will eventually lead to a deal on the nuclear issue.

One point of evidence that the US may be playing such a complex chess game would be that it leaked Israel’s involvement in a recent operation against the IRGC – something that would potentially deter Israel from a further operation, or at least allow America to disassociate itself from Israeli actions in terms of its own relations with Iran.

The last fascinating dynamic has been raised by Iran expert Dr. Raz Zimmt, who presented new data in an Institute for National Security Studies paper that suggested Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is under attack for economic mismanagement from within his own conservative camp.

It is unclear if these destabilizing internal political dynamics will freeze any ability of Raisi to return to the JCPOA or make it suddenly more likely for him to return to the deal to change the domestic economic picture.

In the midst of all of this, Iran has blatantly violated its March deal with the International Atomic Energy Agency regarding resolving a number of nuclear controversies.

On June 6, the IAEA Board of Governors will meet and decide whether to condemn Iran. Thus, the current standoff will enter its next chapter.