On May 2, the White House will cease granting sanction waivers to eight countries that have until now been allowed to purchase oil from the Islamic Republic without penalty. This measure, combined with the series of economic steps taken by the Trump administration, could severely erode Tehran’s ability to export terror and bloodshed, writes Mohammed Alyahya:
[One] point often ignored is the value sanctions have in eroding the regime’s resources. . . . Iran’s extensive regional proxy network—comprising several dozen militias in Iraq and Syria, two in Bahrain, one in Yemen, and its flagship proxy in Lebanon, Hizballah—relies on Iranian funding to sustain operations and buy loyalty. The regime cannot fund these groups with its own currency. It needs U.S. dollars, and because of sanctions, it does not have enough. . . .
This leaves the Iranian regime with two choices. The first: to capitulate to the Trump administration’s list of twelve demands, many of which would strip the revolutionary regime of its raison d’être, and channel the regime’s resources exclusively toward the betterment of the people of Iran. The second: to provoke conventional war in the Gulf or with Israel, an option that would put the Iranian regime at an extreme disadvantage.
With poor conventional military capabilities, Iran does not stand a chance in an all-out conventional war with its well-equipped Arab neighbors, let alone with the U.S. . . . Iran could attack Israel rather than its Gulf opponents in an effort to reshuffle the regional cards. . . . Although Israel [in that eventuality] would likely incur a level of damage and loss of life it has not witnessed since 1948, Iran’s most dependable ally, Hizballah, will surely take a significant mauling in such a war. While it may not be fully destroyed, it is unlikely that Hizballah would be able to rebuild as quickly and at the same scale as after the 2006 war to once again pose a threat to Israel, which would undermine Iranian deterrence.
The regime will [thus] soon find itself in a position where it must choose between firing its weapons and laying them down. If the Iranian regime chooses not to make concessions, it will be forced to martyr itself.