The Biden administration's new nuclear deal with the ruling clerics will lift economic sanctions against the Iranian regime the moment the deal enters into effect.
At that moment, the Iranian regime will receive approximately $90 billion. The Biden administration will also instantly be lifting sanctions on the Iranian regime's energy sector, which will also significantly boost the regime's oil and gas revenues.
The ruling mullahs will be able to ramp up their oil exports to pre-sanctions levels, roughly quadrupling their oil sales, thereby bringing billions of dollars in additional revenues to the theocratic establishment. For example, after the implementation the 2015 nuclear agreement (known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action - JCPOA) under the Obama administration, crippling sanctions were lifted and Iran rejoined the global financial system. Iran's oil and gas industries had a fresh start, the regime increased its oil exports from 1 million barrels per day (bpd) to approximately 4 million bpd.
Oil and gas revenues, as is no secret, are crucial for the ruling mullahs: Iran reportedly has the second-largest natural gas reserves and the fourth-largest proven crude oil reserves after Saudi Arabia, Canada and Venezuela. The sale of oil accounts for nearly 60% of the regime's total revenues and more than 80% of its export revenues. Several Iranian leaders have spoken about the country's major dependence on oil exports. Former Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, for instance, acknowledged in 2019 that "Although we have some other incomes, the only revenue that can keep the country going is the oil money."
The Biden administration's removal of sanctions will, in addition, help the ruling mullahs increase their revenues by attracting foreign investments in their energy sector and other industries. After the 2015 nuclear agreement under the Obama administration, for example, Tehran succeeded in signing major agreements with some of the world's largest aviation, oil and gas corporations. The energy producer Total signed an agreement with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) "for the development of phase 11 of South Pars, the world's largest gasfield". Another agreement was sealed with Royal Dutch Shell, which signed a provisional agreement with NIOC "to further explore areas of potential cooperation". The Iranian regime also signed a deal with Boeing -- the first business deal Tehran concluded with an American aviation corporation since the 1970s. Iran also began negotiating to purchase planes from the European company Airbus.
Not only will the Biden administration help the Islamist mullahs to become vastly wealthier, but it will also help the Iranian regime to gain global legitimacy as it rejoins the international financial system. The main beneficiaries of the increased revenues will most likely be the office of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and more importantly the IRGC's elite branch the Quds Force, which carries out extraterritorial operations to advance the revolutionary principles of the Islamic Republic abroad.
A considerable part of the economy and Iran's financial systems are owned and controlled by the IRGC and the Office of the Supreme Leader. The IRGC alone controls between a third and half of Iran's gross domestic product. The IRGC owns several major economic powerhouses and religious endowments, such as Astan Quds Razavi in the northeastern city of Mashhad.
This economic haven means that state and non-state actors, such as the Yemeni Houthis, Lebanese Hezbollah, the Shiite militias in Iraq and Bashar Assad's Syria, will be the next major beneficiaries of Biden's sanctions relief and new nuclear deal.
The Biden administration's nuclear deal will also help the IRGC and Quds Force to more powerfully interfere in other countries, support terror and militia groups that target Americans and their allies, and attempt to kill Americans on US soil. The Biden administration will more likely contribute to increasing tensions between Iran and other countries in the region, and lead to further regional insecurity, destabilization, humanitarian tragedies, and most likely a major war.
Biden's new nuclear deal is the biggest gift that one could give to the world's "top state sponsor of terrorism": unlimited nuclear weapons, no inspections past present or future, the missiles to deliver them, enriched uranium to be held by Russia and returned to Iran or wherever they both decide, "$100 billion per year to spread terror around the globe" -- in short, assured expansion of the "Revolution" not only throughout the Middle East but further, straight into America's soft underbelly, Venezuela.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US Foreign Policy. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.Edu