At the time of the October 1983 attack, I served as the Marine Corps Senate liaison in the Russell Senate Office Building. The tragedy began several weeks of intense work to try to understand what had happened, and to respond to the deep concerns of senators, their staffs and the public at large regarding the welfare of the Marines and their families. The country’s pain, which intensified as the magnitude of the losses became clear, remains undiminished to this day.
Since his forced exile began in the United States following the 1979 Islamic Revolution that ousted his father, the well-spoken 58-year-old Pahlavi has consistently used his profile to oppose the policies and actions of the Islamic Republic. Though his message has evolved through the years, Pahlavi has most notably been calling for a referendum through which the Iranian people could decide their form of government within a secular democratic context.
Iran has suggested that Saudi Arabia was behind the abduction, which it believes was aimed at sabotaging its relationship with Islamabad. Pakistan needs Saudi money more than ever as it struggles economically. So just how resilient are Iran-Pakistan ties?
Although US secondary sanctions against Iran’s petroleum sector resumed on November 5, Russia will most likely defy them by continuing to invest in Iran’s natural gas sector. Russia may also seek to influence the flow of Iran’s natural gas into the European market, where it could undermine Russia’s political-economic interests if not coordinated with Moscow.
The sanctions that snap back into place on November 5 largely mirror those that the Obama administration lifted in January 2016. While fewer in numbers than those reimposed on August 6 by Executive Order (EO) 13846 issued by Trump, they are among the most powerful as they expand the primary blocking sanctions available for US designations and represent the bulk of the secondary sanctions on Iran.
Some argue that if Iran shifted to euro-denominated transactions, it could spark a broader shift within energy exporting countries that would eventually weaken the USD as the reserve currency, as well as undermine the impact of future unilateral US sanctions. William Rich of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former Treasury diplomat in the United Arab Emirates, however, argues that the proposed Europe-Iran payment mechanism is “impractical because such a process would be inefficient and costly and could not guarantee European firms protection from US sanctions, reputational damage, or Iranian misuse. It is most effective as public messaging to the Iranians that Europe is trying to resist American pressure.”
It is looking forward to the resumption of US secondary sanctions against Iran’s oil industry and Central Bank on November 5, and the hard blow the Iranian economy is expected to take as a result. The opposition, along with some key members of the Trump administration, appears to hope that the economic pressure will prompt nationwide street protests and ultimately lead to the overthrow of the Islamic Republic and its replacement by a more democratic, secular government.
Here’s what you need to know about this second set of sanctions:
The crime has weakened the position of Iran’s arch rival at least temporarily and severely undermined, if not, destroyed the “reformist image” of powerful Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Subsequent denials and clumsy cover-ups have further damaged Saudi Arabia’s reputation and could indeed upset the power balance in the Middle East.