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US to Name Iran’s Revolutionary Guards As Terrorists

WASHINGTON – The United States plans to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization, three US officials told Reuters on Saturday.
They said Washington was likely to make the announcement on Monday.
This is the first time that Washington formally qualifies the army of another country as a terrorist group.
The Pentagon declined to comment and referred the petitions to the State Department. The State Department and the White House also declined to comment.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, an outspoken Iranian hawk, has pleaded for a change in US policy as part of the Trump government’s tough stance on Tehran.
The announcement comes before the first anniversary of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from a 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran and re-impose sanctions that paralyzed the Iranian economy.
The Administration’s decision to proceed with the designation was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
The United States has already blacklisted dozens of entities and individuals for their affiliation with the IRGC, but the organization as a whole is not.
In 2007, the US Treasury designated the Quds Force of the IRGC, its overseas operations unit, “for its support of terrorism,” and described it as “Iran’s main arm to carry out its policy of supporting terrorist and insurgent groups.”
Iran cautioned against an “overwhelming” reaction if the United States accepted this designation.
Iran may put the US military on its terrorism list if Washington calls the IRGC a terrorist, a senior Iranian legislator said Saturday.
“If the Revolutionary Guards are placed on the US list of terrorist groups, we will place the country’s army on the blacklist of terrorism alongside ISIS,” Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, chairman of the committee, said on Twitter.
His tweet echoed the warning issued by the IRGC commander, Mohammad Ali Jafari, in 2017. He said that “the Revolutionary Guards will consider the US military as an Islamic state around the world”, if Washington put the IRGC on a blacklist.
These threats are particularly worrying for US forces in places such as Iraq, where militias aligned with Iran are located near US troops.
Former Under Secretary of State and Chief Negotiator for Iran Wendy Sherman has expressed concern about the consequences for US forces.
“One might even suggest, because it’s hard to see why this is in our interest, if the president is not looking for the basis of a conflict,” said Sherman, director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School.
“The IRGC is already fully sanctioned and this escalation is putting our troops in the area at risk.”
Created after the Iranian revolution of 1979 to protect the clerical system of government, the IRGC is the most powerful security organization in Iran. It controls large sectors of the Iranian economy and exerts a considerable influence on its political system.
The IRGC is responsible for Iran’s ballistic missiles and nuclear programs. Tehran warned that it had missiles with a maximum range of 2,000 km, allowing Israeli and US military bases in the region to be within range.
The IRGC has approximately 125,000 military personnel, including army, navy, aviation units, and responds to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
The impact of the US designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization may have no impact on US activities in countries with ties to Tehran, including Iraq.
A foreign terrorist designation would make any activity of the group toxic to the United States, and any transaction involving US institutions or individuals punishable.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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