Monday, 22 April, 2019

Trump Administration Labels Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps a 'Terrorist Organization'

Tehran's landmark Milad Tower is seen through a row of national flags in the center of the Iranian capital Tehran's landmark Milad Tower is seen through a row of national flags in the center of the Iranian capital
Leonard Rios | 09 April, 2019, 02:27

The decision by the Trump administration to designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization marks another unsafe step in the relentless campaign Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton are waging to provoke a U.S.

"This unprecedented step, led by the Department of State, recognises 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".

This move-the first time the US has labeled an entity within another government as a terror organization-means any American conducting business with the IRGC could face criminal charges.

"The Iranian regime remains the world's leading state sponsor of terror, spending almost a billion dollars every year to support terrorism", the White House said.

US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the USA military was taking all necessary steps and had alerted its commanders prior to the announcement.

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

The Revolutionary Guard recruits and trains thousands of fighters overseas through its Quds Force, headed by Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a shadowy but prominent figure whose fighters have fought alongside Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces and against Islamic State militants who view Shiites as heretics.

"In fact, they seek to drag US into a quagmire on his behalf", he said, adding that Trump "should know better than to be conned into another USA disaster".

The announcement comes shortly before the first anniversary of Trump's decision to pull out of a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and to reimpose sanctions that had crippled Iran's economy.

"There is a reason that successive administrations have held off designating the I.R.G.C.as a terrorist organization, and why many of Trump's own military and intelligence officials are said to be highly opposed to the move: The potential blowback vastly outweighs the benefits", Jeffrey Prescott, a Obama-era member of the White House National Security Council, tells the Times. "If you do business with the IRGC you run the risk of bankrolling terrorism", said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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With Israel's election to take place on Tuesday, Netanyahu is likely grateful for the latest public show of USA support for his government.

The Supreme National Security Council said in a statement that "Iran labels the American regime as a supporter of terrorism".

The U.S. action against the entire IRGC had been debated in the Trump administration for months as Washington sought additional ways to pressure Iran and curtail its influence in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

The designation could also open hundreds of foreign companies and business executives to U.S.travel bans and possible prosecution for sanctions violations.

"If reports prove to be true that the stupid United States administration intends to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization, then the IRGC will also specify the U.S. army as a group (and target) like [ISIS] in all parts of the world, especially the Middle East", the commander was quoted as saying in the semi-official Fars News agency.

The intent of Pompeo and Bolton is clear: provoke Iran into bolting from the JCPOA, re-starting its nuclear program, and escalating its regional behavior, thereby providing the United States or its regional partners with a pretext to use military force against the regime.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani ...

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps was formed after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, with a mission to defend the clerical regime, in contrast to the more traditional military units that protected Iranian borders.

Iranian authorities have said the decision is a great mistake that will endanger United States interests in the region, where Iran is involved in proxy wars from Syria to Lebanon. Tehran has warned that it has missiles with a range of up to 2,000 km (1,242 miles), putting Israel and USA military bases in the region within reach.

At home, the Guards have amassed sweeping political and economic influence, with Brian Hook, the State Department´s representative on Iran, citing estimates that they control up to half of the Iranian economy.

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