US to designate elite Iranian force as terrorist organization

06 Avril, 2019, 11:19 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • US to designate elite Iranian force as terrorist organization

The Trump administration is reportedly preparing to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization, the first such designation of another country's military, as early as next Monday.

Per the US Department of State, designating a group a foreign terrorist organization is "an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to get out of the terrorism business".

The designation might come as early as Monday, three United States officials told Reuters and the Wall Street Journal, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council declined to comment and the State Department did not respond to a request for comment. Such a move would be a major escalation of the Trump administration's policy of pressure on Iran, which began with the pullout from the nuclear deal last May and continued with the reimposition of sanctions suspended under the 2015 agreement.

The United States has already blacklisted dozens of entities and people for affiliations with the IRGC, but the organisation as a whole is not.

In 2007, the U.S. Treasury designated the IRGC's Quds Force, its unit in charge of operations overseas, "for its support of terrorism", and has described it as Iran's "primary arm for executing its policy of supporting terrorist and insurgent groups".

The decision to designate a group a terrorist organization is done in consultation between the secretary of state, U.S. attorney general and the secretary of the treasury.

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IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari warned in 2017 if Trump went ahead with the move "then the Revolutionary Guards will consider the American army to be like Islamic State all around the world".

Defense officials have told CNN that United States troops in Syria and Iraq often find themselves operating in close proximity to members of the IRGC.

Former Under-Secretary of State and lead Iran negotiator, Wendy Sherman, said she anxious about implications for U.S. forces.

"One might even suggest, since it's hard to see why this is in our interest, if the president isn't looking for a basis for a conflict", said Sherman, who is director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School.

The IRGC was founded after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution. It has control over large sectors of the Iranian economy and has a huge influence in its political system.

Brian Hook, the State Department's special representative for Iran, told reporters on Tuesday: "Under the cover of the Syrian war, the IRGC is now trying to plant military roots in Syria and establish a new strategic base to threaten Syria's neighbours such as Israel".

The IRGC has an estimated 125,000-strong military with army, navy and air units and answers to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

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