Islamic Regime’s new “Court Tactics” Aim at Extortion of the US

April 22, 2024

by Dr Walid Phares and Gazelle Sharmahd

On April 19th an “Islamic Regime court” ordered the US government to pay $1.9 billion for alleged “subversive activities” during the previous Government of the Shah. This is the second sentencing of the US government this year. Just 1 month ago the “regime court“ sentenced the US government to $2.5 billion threatening to execute an American hostage. 

As we projected in our assessment at #EducateAmerica, the #IslamicRepublic is on steroids, and continues the extortion of billions of dollars of frozen assets in US custody, after it received six billion dollars from the US Administration last September in a “hostage deal” in exchange for 5 US hostages while leaving at least 3 US hostages behind. In March of this year, the regime concocted a new tactic of extortion by sentencing the US Government for so-called “terror activities,” along with US hostage Jimmy Sharmahd (father of co-author Gazelle), who was kidnaped to Iran in the summer of 2020, giving Washington 60 days to pay 2.5 billion dollars before Jimmy is to be executed. 

The regime’s “piracy” appears to have mutated into an industry-like tactic, as the regime’s news agency IRNA reported today that a “Islamic court” announced the sentencing of the US Government again to pay 2 billion dollars for alleged “subversive activities” during the previous Government of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The Islamic Republic claims that the US “trained the Iranian security forces to assassinate and torture members of the opposition then.” The Khomeinists, who are known to have massacred their own opposition for decades, are now pretending to be champions of “plaintiffs” in a reckless lawsuit against the US administration and the former Government of Iran and demand the payment of billions of dollars for “reparations.” The transfer of billions of dollars from the US to the Jihadist regime in Iran is nothing new. 

Since the launching of the #IranDeal in 2015, the US has been transferring the maximum amount of money frozen in Western funds and banks to the Islamic Regime smoothly. However, with the 2022 Revolutionary uprising inside of Iran, which has turned the US Congress and public opinion in America against the transactions embedded in the deal, and the possible change of policy towards the regime that may take place next January, the profiteers of the transactions have set up a new method of extortion: The dictators in Tehran, most likely with the advice of outside “partners” in the Iran Deal, have discovered a lethal strategy to issue “court sentences” against the Administration and increase the pressure on the ground in the Middle East, so that advisors to the administration can argue that the US should continue paying billions to the regime to avoid complications. But the regime hits two birds at the same time with such tactics: One, it makes it easier and more “legitimate” to extract frozen assets from the US. Second, it links its own targets in the opposition to fabricated terrorism or violence. It has done so with Jimmy Sharmahd back in March, and now it is trying to undermine the political campaign of Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi. Tomorrow it will target other symbols in the diaspora systematically. What drew our attention in the decision of the “Islamic court” was the narrative used, which resembled more an “American” legal style instead of the previous more ideological Khomeinist statements. 

 We are compelled to ask: Are there Western or American speech writers or “consultants” advising the backward regime to write these press releases, or even worse, to coordinating plans with them? In other words, is the regime working with Westerners and Americans to set up this “commerce?” Are the Khomeinists working on the embezzlement of funds with parties in the West? They sentence the US Government, receive the money, and on the side, crush their opposition morally and literally. The Administration has the obligation to respond to the regime’s double sentencing of the US Government and one of its nationals. For in the end, there will be a Special Tribunal to prosecute the crimes committed inside Iran by the regime, including the violent suppression, torture, kidnapping, and executions. It is ahistorical that the oppressive junta in Tehran are the ones issuing court sentences, while it should be a Nuremberg-like Tribunal as in Nazi Germany, that will distribute justice to the people of Iran and the world.

Dr Walid Phares is a Foreign Policy Expert.

Ms Gazelle Sharmahd is a Human Rights Activist. 

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