President Trump’s administration just made a bold move against Iran.
Washinton Examiner reported that President Trump’s decision to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group is a long overdue step that will help put the squeeze on one of the leading drivers of instability in the Middle East.
The IRGC is a special branch of Iran’s armed forces that exists to protect the regime’s Islamic government and its global interests. Over the decades, IRGC has helped to squash internal dissent, built up terrorist groups abroad (especially Hezbollah), helped oversee the nuclear program, and played a destabilizing force through proxies in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.
Whenever Iran is working against United States interests, the IRCG is playing a central role, and this includes using terrorism as a tactic.
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The Trump administration is designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization, taking an unprecedented step as it seems to increase pressure on Iran’s regime. The move seems certain to bring a new level of tension between the two countries, as Iran’s leaders have said they will retaliate in kind.
Iranian lawmakers have prepared legislation that would label the U.S. military as a terrorist group, according to Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency.
President Trump announced the designation Monday morning, in a shift from the decades in which the U.S. has viewed Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism.
“This unprecedented step, led by the Department of State, recognizes the reality that Iran is not only a State Sponsor of Terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft,” Trump said, in a White House statement. “The IRGC is the Iranian government’s primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign.”
With the designation, anyone who deals with the IRGC could run the risk of facing criminal charges, such as aiding or supporting a terrorist group.
“If you are doing business with the IRGC, you will be bankrolling terrorism,” Trump said.
It’s the first time the U.S. has declared an element of a foreign government to be a terrorist organization, the Trump administration says. The Revolutionary Guard now joins ISIS, Boko Haram and other groups on the U.S. list of terrorist groups.
Laying out the administration’s reasoning for the designation, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listed a string of attacks and violent plots, which he said gave “ample justification for today’s decision.”
Among the cases cited by Pompeo were two that directly involved the U.S.: the 1996 Khobar Towers apartment complex bombing in Saudi Arabia, which killed 19 American service members and wounded dozens more; and a 2011 case in which the Obama administration said it had foiled a Quds Force plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. in a bombing in Washington, D.C.
Today, the White House sees the IRGC as an “active and enthusiastic participant in acts of terror,” a senior administration official said in a background briefing held shortly before Pompeo discussed the announcement Monday morning.
Accusing Iran of using the IRGC to try to reshape the Middle East in its favor, another official said the group has amassed too much power and money — which he said it then uses to support attacks on Americans and U.S. assets.
“The Middle East cannot be more stable and peaceful without a weakened IRGC,” the official said.