The Times reported that, amid protests, Iran has withdrawn 275 members of Unit 400, part of the Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force, which had reportedly assisted Assad’s troops in the fight against opposition forces.
The Sunday Times report cited western intelligence officials as indicating that the fighters were flown out of Syria, adding that the report was confirmed by a relative of a member of the Unit 400.
Iran’s economy has been badly hit by U.S. and European sanctions imposed to try to pressure the Iranian leadership to stop pursuing nuclear weapons. The Iranian rial lost a third of its value against the dollar in the past 10 days and as much as 80 percent since the beginning of the year.
Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, a member of the Senate Banking and Foreign Relations Committee, said he plans to push for new penalties on foreign banks that handle any significant transactions with the central bank of Iran. Only oil-related transactions are now covered by sanctions.
Menendez said he is also looking at ways to freeze an estimated 30 percent of Iran’s foreign currency reserves held in banks outside the country.
“It seems to me we have to completely exhaust all the tools in our sanctions arsenal, and do so quickly, before Iran finds a way to navigate out of its current crisis,” Menendez said in an interview.
In Britain, U.S. Treasury Department official David Cohen said Iran has the ability to “relieve the pressure its people are feeling” by resolving concerns over its nuclear work. He blamed the rial’s plunge on Iran’s own economic mismanagement as well as sanctions.
-www.haaretz.com, 7 October 2012
World democracy, although diverse, agrees that Iran is violating many principles. Subsequently, embargos and sanctions will increase until Iran falls in line with world democratic unity.
(For more on this subject, read Democracy Invades Islam, Item 1072.)