Irina Tsukerman, a human rights attorney and national security analyst, spoke to Middle East Forum Radio host Gregg Roman on April 22 about the persistence of Iranian aggression in the region amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite the devastating impact of the virus on Iran's population and the regime's disastrous mishandling of the pandemic, Iran's aggressive overseas ventures continue unabated. Ayatollah Khamenei and his ilk have access to "upwards of $200 billion" in a "secret trust" for illicit activities and have been "stealing and diverting humanitarian aid," which European governments are seeking to increase.
Tsukerman contends that the U.S. does not have a viable strategy for defeating Iran. Its pushback against Iran's regional ambitions is "exclusively economic pressure and sanctions," a "limited and non-strategic" approach that its friends and allies do not take seriously.
The U.S. assassination of Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds force, in January was merely intended to "show that there was a red line in attacking and killing US citizens that it will not allow to be crossed." The U.S. has retaliated against Iranian-backed militias for attacks on U.S. targets in Iraq, "but it has not designated [as terrorists] any Iraqi officials who facilitated those attacks." And it has done little to combat Iranian aggression in Syria.
What's needed, said Tsukerman, is "a strategic response to Iran on all fronts" and a U.S.-led regional alliance "premised on common values and vision." Unfortunately, U.S. officials are wary of making firm commitments abroad, particularly in an election year.
Marilyn Stern is the producer of Middle East Forum Radio.