Ayatollah-Mohammad-Taqi-Mesbah-Yazdi-meeting-Ahmadinejad-in-2007.jpg(Photo: The Blaze)

Sanctions against Iran began in 1979 with the overthrow of the Shah, Reza Pahlavi, and the installation of Ayatollah Khomeini’s anti-Western government. Tensions grew as anti-American sentiment spread within the government and the Iranian people.

The first round of sanctions in 1979 put restrictions on Iran’s ability to import and export weapons; the second round of sanctions in 1995 ended US-Iranian trade. In 2012, with advances in its nuclear program, Iran faced new sanctions from the US and EU. These sanctions froze the assets of Iran’s major banks, which stopped all foreign investment in Iranian markets, and made the Iranian rial lose two thirds of its value.

The most controversial chapter of the 2012 sanctions was the ban on Iranian crude oil, which rocketed global oil prices to $150 a barrel, conveniently allowing the US and Canada to expand their shale-oil programs.

Today, in the nuclear deal with the West (US, Germany, France, Britain, and Russia), one of the clauses concerns lifting these sanctions on the oil sector

But  the challenge of the accord isn’t in its clauses, it’s in the domestic politics of Iran.

Iran’s nuclear sites are maintained and controlled by the Revolutionary Guard, a branch of the Iranian military, commonly referred to as the Sepāh. Officially, the Sepāh’s role is protecting the Islamic system by  blocking foreign intervention (e.g. obstructing foreign inspectors from Iranian military sites).

Alongside the Sepāh, Iranian defence minister Hossein Dehghan, said that he intends to block the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)  from inspecting Iran’s military sites. The nuclear deal that was reached earlier this month granted international watchdog organizations the right to inspect Iran’s military sites, but  Mr. Dehghan’s position, may cause this clause to breakdown.

The nuclear deal is with the Iranian government, but because the Sepāh is autonomous , high ranking officials may still stop the IAEA and other watchdog organizations from inspecting Iran’s nuclear sites. Without these checks the whole nuclear deal may be scrapped, and old tensions will resurface.

The reality is that the nuclear deal is the world’s only hope for preventing a nuclear Iran, and averting war, two goals which would move toward peace in the Middle East. As an Iranian, I am optimistic that the nuclear deal will be ratified by both parties, and that the Sepāh won’t interfere with the nuclear deal. However, there is a chance that this domestic rift between the government and the Sepāh will bring about the failure of nuclear accord.

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