Eduard Lintner, former Deputy Minister of Interior of Germany, addressed a panel discussion on the subject of “IRGC and Sanctions” in a Paris suburb on June 29, 2018. The event was jointly organized by FEMO and APA. His remarks follow:
Thank you very much for your kind invitation. But I have to apologize because I use the translation because my English isn’t so perfect that I could talk about it without any help. But of course, owing to its key function in the Iranian system of rule, the Revolutionary Guard poses a problem which Europe cannot avoid to engage. It is by no means a marginal issue. Trade is essential for a country’s wellbeing but one has to probe apart when considering opening or maintaining trade relations. Good trade relations are characterized by safety and stability, but precisely these are conditions that the Iranian regime is unable to guarantee since it is threatened in its existence by the relentless protests that have been going on for months. Just before I wrote an article in a very famous newspaper in Germany; they are reporting good and in a good way about the closing of the bazaars and so on, and therefore means that the German press and the German public opinion is informed. And I think we can get help by the public opinion for all those ideas you have to make pressure on the regime, for instance with sanctions.
And of course, I have to go back to my paper, and any principal change in Iran is conditioned by dismantling of the Revolutionary Guards. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s command has an enormous amount of power in the economic and political and security sections at its disposal and is therefore the most formidable obstacle on the way to democratic change. In this light, it is obvious that sanctions against the IRGC and persons connected with it can be a substantial contribution to approaching democracy in Iran. This should be combined with an effective support of the democratic opposition. We are going to do that in Germany.
Time and again it is maintained that the sanctions opposed on Iran affect primarily the country’s population and should therefore be lifted, that’s an opinion which somebody is supporting in Germany. If you look at things more closely we will find that this statement does not apply to Iran. As a result of the 2015 nuclear deal, sanctions imposed on Iran were largely erased. Sadly, $140 billion are disposed of and additionally the oil production was increased from 1.5 million barrels to 2 million barrels a day. The population benefited from none of those means. Rioters, corruption, and enormous spending by the regime on Tehran’s war left no money to be spent for the people. They have to realize the new sanctions will primarily affect the regime. Crimes cost money. A regime that has less money at its disposal than before cannot commit so many crimes as in the past.
Okay, in the view of the key position of the Revolutionary Guard, and in keeping up the representative rule and fostering terrorism in other countries of the region, it must be regarded as an important success for the Iranian resistance that U.S. listed the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terror organization in October 13, 2017. The Canadian Parliament has recommended its government not to establish diplomatic relations with Iran as long as it is ruled by Khamenei and his terrorist Revolutionary Guards. This step was clearly a response by the Canadian lawmakers to an unbiased information on conditions in Iran which the Iranian resistance has been delivering for years. The German government has also shown the respect for the resistance by requesting the Iranian government to respect its right to demonstrate in public. In Germany, German security authorities continuously warn against the Revolutionary Guard and its terrorist Quds Force activities. It is essential for European countries to consider the U.S. and Canadian initiatives as potential examples of the attitudes they should adopt towards the IRGC. And I hope we can in Germany do something for that, that this decision or this opinion comes up within the government and in the public opinion. And then I think that would be helpful for the things you want to realize in Iran.
Thank you very much.