In last week’s blog, I reported on the new possibilities raised by the election of cleric Hassan Rowhani, a decided moderate in a nation of extremists. His campaign speeches certainly called for change. Of course, such drastic revisions don’t happen overnight. I noted that his election amounts to a rebuke to the mullahs who actually run the country. So, is there more to be detected?
Of course, it is far too early to make accurate projections or detect significant change. At least, so far the mullahs who run the current regime have not given any signs of change. Iran has always run on disguise and deception. This factor has worried the West and not allowed national leaders to accept statements from Iran about not pursuing nuclear weapons. In fact, a host of attempts have gone on to avoid the sanctions placed on Iran for their pursuit of nuclear power.
This week’s New York Times has reported the attempts of a private group to investigate Iran’s attempts at deception. ‘United Against Nuclear Iran’ is a privately financed group founded by a former American diplomat who understands that Iran is not to be trusted. The purpose of this group is to closely monitor the activities of Iran and detect their crossing the line. Armed with the latest computer equipment, the United group goes after violations of the economic and trade sanctions. So far, they have been amazingly successful. Armed with satellite transmissions from ship transponders, data on speed identity, direction, and destinations, they are able to create profiles that identify questionable activities.
For example, in April an Iranian tanker sailed under a Tanzanian flag, but was forced to abandon their planned voyage to Malta. The United group warned the government of Malta that the ship was black-listed. In turn, the Maltese government turned the tanker away. A similar event happened when three vessels operated by a German company were caught visiting in a Iranian port. The United agency contacted the parent company and a similar rejection followed. Naturally, these efforts continue to push Iran to the wall.
On a different front, the United agency has succeeded in confronting corporations doing business with Iran and pressuring them to back away. For example, a German global banking communications consortium expelled Iran’s financial institutions last year after the United group pressured them. Screws are being tightened by this private non-government United agency. United knows how to bird-dog their opponents.
With both private and government strict oversight, why doesn’t Iran backdown? Wouldn’t it be easier to live and let live? Unfortunately, the mullahs in Tehran are a hard header crew willing to let the everyday man on the street struggle while they live in luxury. The election of Hassan Rowhani will hopefully adjust or correct this bend toward self-destruction that now operates inside the Iranian power structure. That’s a goal the West can aim at.
You can bet the ‘United Against Nuclear Iran’ crew will not letup until change follows.