May 5, 2021
A chilling fake propaganda video depicting Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) blowing up the US Capitol has enraged officials in Washington, where Congress legislators are increasingly opposing the Biden administration’s efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.
The video was broadcast on Iranian state-run television only a few days after the leak of an audio recording of Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif bemoaning the crushing influence the IRGC enjoys over diplomacy.
US Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, reacted to the video by demanding that the Biden administration resist Iranian calls to lift sanctions put in place by the Trump administration.
“Last week, Iran’s chief diplomat allegedly admitted the IRGC calls the shots in Tehran,” the senator tweeted.
“Now, Iran releases a fake video of the IRGC blowing up our Capitol,” he added, explaining that “the Biden administration’s priority should be ensuring Iran cannot carry out such an attack, not capitulating by removing sanctions.”
In Washington, Republicans and some Democrats are concerned about several potential implications of lifting sanctions on Iran, especially risking the move emboldening regime hardliners.
Many are rallying support behind keeping the sanctions in place, namely through lobbying with Democrats critical of President Joe Biden in hopes of obtaining a two-thirds majority vote to override the presidential right to veto.
A popular Democrat critical of the Biden administration’s approach with Iran is Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Menendez, who openly objects to the US returning to the nuclear agreement without introducing significant amendments to its terms and conditions.
Menendez argues that Zarif’s statements complicated the ongoing course of events by stirring doubts around Iran’s ability to implement its part of the agreement and follow through with its pledges.
It is difficult to establish trust when the IRGC continues to exercise dominance over decision-making circles in government.
Meanwhile, Republicans disprove of even renewing talks with Tehran before Iran changes its hostile behavior.
“It’s impossible at this point to separate the nuclear program from all the other nefarious activities that Iran is undertaking,” Sen. Marco Rubio, the vice-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, had recently said in a brief interview.