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August 18, 2022 10:40 am
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Every American Investor Can Help Stop Iranian Terrorism

avatar by Bob Feferman

Opinion

FILE PHOTO: Iran’s Chief Nuclear Negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani leaves the Palais Coburg, the venue where closed-door nuclear talks take place in Vienna, Austria, August 4,2022. Photo: REUTERS/Lisa Leutner

According to reports in the media, the international community is still aiming to finalize a renewal of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Unfortunately, the agreement, like the original JCPOA, will have two major flaws. First, it will only delay — not ultimately prevent — a nuclear-armed Iran. Second, the deal will not address Iran’s support for regional terror proxies; what’s worse, sanctions relief from the new deal will enable Iran to transfer billions of dollars to its terror proxies, and make the Middle East an even more dangerous place.

The scope of Iran’s malign influence in the region is astounding. It includes Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Kataib Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq in Iraq, the Houthi rebels in Yemen, and of course Iran’s economic and military support for the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. Iran’s military entity that supports these regional terror proxies is Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

The destructive nature of Iranian influence was best described by Middle East expert Karim Sadjapour. He recently wrote in The New York Times that, “The common denominators between Iran and its regional spheres of influence — Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and Iraq — are insecurity, economic failure, and profound unhappiness.”

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I would also add Gaza to that list, where the IRGC provides weapons, funding, and training to both Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The problem with the IRGC is that it’s not only a military organization; it is also an economic empire that controls large sections of Iran’s economy.

Daniel Roth, the research director for my organization, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), says, “Every one of Iran’s major sectors, including energy, construction, metals, banking and finance, transportation, and technology, is dominated by the IRGC — Iran’s terrorist wing. As such, each of these sectors is broadly subject to US sanctions and business is flatly prohibited. In addition, tough US secondary sanctions are designed to deter and punish [Iranian] trade by companies even outside American jurisdiction.”

So what can individual Americans do to curb Iran’s support for terrorism, and prevent a dangerous region from becoming even more dangerous? Track your investments.

Individual investors should ensure that they are not unintentionally or inadvertently providing economic support to Iran through investments in foreign companies that do business in Iran.

How can the individual investor know who does business in Iran?

On our website, UANI provides a very useful tool where investors can see which companies are doing business in Iran. It’s called the Iran Business Registry or IBR.

Through the IBR, investors can be empowered to decide where their hard-earned dollars should be invested. Enabling Asian or European companies to do business in Iran sends the message that we are indifferent to the consequences of our investment decisions.

At the 2018 Munich Security Conference, Lt. General H.R. McMaster, former National Security Advisor to President Trump, gave a warning that we should all heed. McMaster said, “When you invest in Iran, you’re investing in the IRGC. You might as well cut the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a check and say, ‘please use this to commit more murder across the greater Middle East.’”

American investors should now recognize that the IRGC is not just a problem for the people of the Middle East. The IRGC is here in America.

A report on VICE News indicates that the assailant who carried out the recent brutal attack on author Salman Rushdie “had been in contact with members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.” This summer, former National Security Advisor John Bolton was the target of a foiled assassination plot by the IRGC. In August, American-Iranian journalist and human rights activist Masih Alinejad was the target of a foiled and reported IRGC kidnapping plot from her apartment in Brooklyn. And the list of human rights abuses committed by the IRGC inside and outside of Iran is exhaustive.

The late Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel once said: “The opposite of love is not hate … it is indifference.” Through our investment decisions, we have the power to show that we are not indifferent to the growing threats that Iran and the IRGC pose to peace, human rights, and American national security. Each of us can make a difference.

Bob Feferman is Outreach Coordinator for the non-partisan advocacy group, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI).

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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