Calling Tehran

The big story of the day is the administration’s decision to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group under the executive order that authorizes the United States to block the assets of such groups. The Revolutionary Guard has been directly implicated in the deaths of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan the provision of especially lethal explosive devices, yet the Washington Post notes the internal debate on the scope of the designation:

For weeks, the Bush administration has been debating whether to target the Revolutionary Guard Corps in full, or only its Quds Force wing, which U.S. officials have linked to the growing flow of explosives, roadside bombs, rockets and other arms to Shiite militias in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Quds Force also lends support to Shiite allies such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah and to Sunni movements such as Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Although administration discussions continue, the initial decision is to target the entire Guard Corps, U.S. officials said.

If there is some action that can be taken against the Revolutionary Guard short of pulling a trigger, the question that occurs to me is why we haven’t taken it long ago. The Post can’t find anyone who raises that question. Instead, they find “some analysts” who questions the wisdom of a step this drastic:

The administration’s move could hurt diplomatic efforts, some analysts said. “It would greatly complicate our efforts to solve the nuclear issue,” said Joseph Cirincione, a nuclear proliferation expert at the Center for American Progress. “It would tie an end to Iran’s nuclear program to an end to its support of allies in Hezbollah and Hamas. The only way you could get a nuclear deal is as part of a grand bargain, which at this point is completely out of reach.”
Such sanctions can work only alongside diplomatic efforts, Cirincione added.
“Sanctions can serve as a prod, but they have very rarely forced a country to capitulate or collapse,” he said. “All of us want to back Iran into a corner, but we want to give them a way out, too. [The designation] will convince many in Iran’s elite that there’s no point in talking with us and that the only thing that will satisfy us is regime change.”

Who is kidding whom?
UPDATE: Reader Kristofer Harrison writes:

Just wanted to point out that the “analyst” (Joe Cirincione) quoted in the Post’s IRGC designation story works for the Center for American Progress. It’s a new think tank. But around DC, it’s also known as Hillary’s foreign policy team. These are the folks that are building her foreign policy platform, and who would staff her Administration. If you REALLY want to know what her foreign policy would be like, read their stuff…and be afraid.

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