The Big Win for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards?

September 18, 2015
8:30 am -

Read full transcript here

Event Description:

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) may be one of the top beneficiaries of the Iran nuclear deal. The deal lifts economic sanctions on sectors of the Iranian economy in which the IRGC has significant clout and financial stakes. Moreover, the deal releases funds for infrastructure projects that IRGC companies will win, and it diminishes the likelihood of future designations of IRGC entities. Who are the men leading the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and how are they set to benefit from the Iran agreement? How will they likely spend the windfall? What steps can the U.S. Congress take to mitigate Iran’s ability to use sanctions relief to fund terrorism and regional aggression?

Members of Congress, no matter how they voted on the Iran agreement, have expressed concerns about this aspect of the deal. FDD would be pleased to have you join us for a conversation on this timely Iran policy challenge with IRGC experts Ali Alfoneh, Mark Dubowitz, Emanuele Ottolenghi, and John Hannah.

Kindly find speakers' bios below:

Ali Alfoneh is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a top expert on Iran and the inner workings of its regime. Mr. Alfoneh came to FDD from the American Enterprise Institute, where he worked as a resident fellow specializing on civil-military relations in Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Ali is the author of Iran Unveiled: How the Revolutionary Guards Is Transforming Iran from Theocracy into Military Dictatorship (AEI Press, April 2013) and the originator of the thesis that the Islamic Republic is transforming into a military dictatorship, which he first published in 2005, and has since been adopted by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird. Ali grew up in Tehran, but moved to Denmark with his family in 1988. In 1993, he ran for public office, and served as elected member of the Herlev City Council from 1994 to 1998. He has written extensively on the leadership and inner workings of the Iranian regime.

Mark Dubowitz is the executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where he leads projects on Iran, sanctions, and nonproliferation. Dubowitz is an expert on sanctions and has testified before Congress and advised the U.S. administration, Congress, and numerous foreign governments on Iran and sanctions issues. Dubowitz heads FDD’s Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance and is the co-author of more than twenty studies on economic sanctions against Iran. He also is co-chair of the Project on U.S. Middle East Nonproliferation Strategy. Dubowitz is a lecturer and senior research fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto where he teaches and conducts research on international negotiations, sanctions, and Iran's nuclear program.

Dr. Emanuele Ottolenghi is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Emanuele is known as a leader for his work on Iran. He has advised several foreign ministries in Europe, and testified before the Canadian and European parliaments. His extensive research exposed the connections between Iran's energy companies and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the paramilitary organization responsible for the regime's political repression and international terrorism activities. 

John Hannah is a senior counselor at Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Prior to joining FDD, he served for eight years, during the George W. Bush administration, on the staff of Vice President Dick Cheney, including as the vice president’s national security advisor. He was intimately involved in U.S. policy toward Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and on a range of international issues from the Middle East to North Korea to Russia. Previously, Mr. Hannah also worked as a senior advisor on the staff of Secretary of State Warren Christopher and as a senior member of Secretary of State James A. Baker’s Policy Planning Staff. He has also practiced law, specializing in international dispute resolution.