No oversight Crucially important to U.S. officials weighing the possibility of sanctions is that the Guard presides over a multibillion- dollar income stream outside the scrutiny of Iran's parliament or the national budgeting process, according to many of those familiar with the Guard's operations.
Such a cash flow, Iranian opposition leaders and some analysts have argued, could be marshaled to finance clandestine military operations, such as support to Iraq's Shiite militias, weapons for Lebanon's Hezbollah fighters or clandestine nuclear development programs.
The controversial uranium enrichment facility at Natanz, which came to light in 2002, was developed under close supervision by the Revolutionary Guard without disclosure under the parliament's public budgeting process. Since then, U.S. officials have attempted to impose a series of sanctions to halt financing of Iran's nuclear and missile development programs.
"Soon, we will see a huge power vacuum in the region. Of course, we are prepared to fill the gap, with the help of neighbors and regional friends like Saudi Arabia, and with the help of the Iraqi nation.”