On July 31, 2019, the Trump Administration placed Mohammad Javad Zarif, the foreign minister of the Islamist regime in Iran, on the US sanctions list. As expected, the leftist and liberal media in the West immediately made an outcry against the designation. That is because they typically tend to portray Foreign Minister Zarif as the moderate, peace-seeking diplomat who is at odds with the hardline, somber Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the brutal, missile-toting Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). What they always fail to mention is that Zarif is only an agreeable showcase for the same apocalyptic regime that chants “Death to America,” calls for the destruction of Israel, and is intent upon conquering the Arab world.
In fact, Zarif runs one of the most elaborate influence campaigns in the US on behalf of the Supreme Leader and the IRGC. Zarif’s extended overseas apparatus focuses on lowering the defenses of the democratic world with sleek smiles and false narratives so that the IRGC can more destructively strike. As such, what Zarif does is as deeply disturbing and detrimental to US security interests – as well as Middle East and world peace – as the already-terrorist-designated IRGC and its now-slain Major General Qassem Soleimani.
Zarif’s designation as a terrorist and criminal against humanity is equally important for fighting off the evil empire of the Islamist regime in Iran as is the designation of the IRGC as a terrorist entity.
The Islamic Republic is a totalitarian, isolationist, interventionist, and anti-Western regime. To overcome the problem of a lack of domestic and international legitimacy, the regime has devised a mechanism that showcases the dictatorial and chaotic Islamist regime as “democratic,” “stable,” and “popular,” with a fair degree of internal opposition as guarantee of its dynamism and openness.
The reformist and moderate factions that the regime has been promoting with the help of the leftist and liberal media in the West for over 20 years is precisely the manifestation of that security project of creating a fake, state-run opposition that acts as a safety valve for the regime on the domestic and international stage.
Zarif is the puppet master of the Iranian regime’s fake opposition in the West. While in New York as Iran’s deputy representative in the late 1980s, and then representative to the United Nations in the early 2000s, Zarif and a couple other functionaries, best known as the “New York Boys,” set the foundation stone for the Islamist regime’s lobby network in the US. These interest groups would concentrate on cultivating connections and currying favor with the leftist and liberal media, organizations and politicians in the US. In the meantime, they would plant regime assets disguised as “dissidents” in sensitive strategic areas such as human rights organizations, universities, think tanks, state and private media, and even government agencies in the democratic world.
The Zarif-run fake opposition mostly acts as padding for the Islamist regime abroad. One of its functions is to persuade the West that the “opposition” does not want to overthrow the regime and only wants to reform it. Another is that it constantly scares the Iranian people and the world community from the prospects of a regime change in Iran, and goads them to participate in state-engineered procedures such as elections and negotiations to generate legitimacy for the regime. Another function is to broker deals for the regime, whether with private entities or with governments. The most well-known example of these deals, of course, was the JCPOA, better known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, with the Obama administration, which proved to be a disaster for world peace.
However, faced with the prospect of the collapse of the whole system, the fake opposition is exposed as fake, and the claimed duality of moderate vs. hardliner starts to fade.
This becomes clear when the fake opposition, headed by Zarif himself, constantly lobbies in Europe and the US to keep the Supreme Leader and the IRGC away from the sanctions list and designation for international terrorism and war crimes. A conspicuous instance of this trend took place when Zarif and his network in the West made an outcry against the designation of the IRGC by the US. Some of these so-called moderates in Iran went as far as to put on IRGC garb in a show of solidarity with the terrorist organization. Zarif himself appeared side-by-side with Soleimani, stating that they had a “perfect working relationship.” Later, these same moderates vociferously condemned the killing of Soleimani.
Most recently, during a hearing at the Majlis (the Iranian Parliament), Zarif went out of his way and made an eye-opening admission that should dispel any illusion of his moderation and independence from the criminal core of the regime. Addressing angry Members of Parliament who accused him of disloyalty to the regime’s regional designs, Zarif retorted: “Say whatever you want, but Martyr Soleimani and I would hold a meeting every week and coordinate. Whatever we did regarding regional affairs was in coordination. Those who know Martyr Soleimani, those who consorted with Martyr Soleimani, those who hang around Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and the resistance in Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine know the depth of our relationship, not you!”
Watch: #Iran’s FM Mohammad Javad Zarif appeared to be sleeping as President Hassan Rouhani was delivering a speech in the opening session of Iran’s new parliament, according to a video shared by an Iranian state television.https://t.co/PGK5PvaLyh pic.twitter.com/vZylBO65Kd— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) May 27, 2020
Zarif himself, as Secretary Pompeo once pointed out, has admitted that he coordinated fully with Soleimani when the regime was killing Americans. They also worked in tandem to commit crimes against humanity in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
The Islamist regime in Iran has managed to deceive the West and the Iranian people for two decades with its claims that it is a dual system, made up of supposed pro-Western moderate and reformist factions and the anti-Western hardliner and IRGC group. However, it looks like the free world is finally coming around to see the substance of the sinister regime, looking beyond the feigned legitimacy that Zarif and his fake opposition have for years worked to generate. As such, Zarif’s designation as a terrorist can be the starting point for the dismantling of the Islamist regime’s network of influence in the West and finally the collapse of its evil empire.
Dr. Reza Parchizadeh is a political theorist and analyst. His area of expertise is the Middle East, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia. He defended his doctoral dissertation at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) under the title “The Recurring Progress of English Political Thought in Shakespeare’s Histories,” with a concentration on political thought, history of ideas, philosophy of history, cultural studies and Shakespeare, and passed it with distinction.