Q: Does the deal empower the moderates in Iran? A: No.
The Obama administration claimed that the agreement would empower the moderates in Iran and reign in the country’s domestic human rights abuses. Unfortunately, the deal has strengthened hardline elements, most notably the notorious Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) with powers that reaches into nearly every sector of the Iranian economy, making the IRGC a major beneficiary of the agreement and the sanctions relief entailed.
Anti-Americanism and the intention to wipe Israel off the map are not mere rhetoric, but remain part of the regime’s core DNA. Persecution, violence, and outright murder have also gotten worse under Rouhani’s tenure, with at least 966 people being put to death in the country in 2015—the highest number since 1989, twice as many as in 2010, and 10 times as many as in 2005.