U.S. Designates Iran's Revolutionary Guards As 'Terrorist Organization'

09 April, 2019, 02:28 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • Iranian Revolutionary Guard members arrive for a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution at the Azadi or Freedom Square in Tehran Iran Monday Feb. 11 2019

Donald Trump, the USA president, on Monday designated Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organisation, marking the first time the U.S. has formally labelled another country's military a terror group.

The US move was announced in a statement from President Donald Trump on Monday, stating that it "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".

Senior U.S. military commanders share Trump's concerns about Iran and the IRGC but long opposed the designation due to concern over a potential backlash against U.S. forces in the Middle East and the problems It could create for U.S. partners who have a relationship with Iran, U.S. officials say.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that global banks and businesses "have a clear duty" to not work with the organization.

The United States put Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on its list of terrorist groups on Monday. Senior U.S. officials have previously steered away from such action, despite recommendations by rank and file defense and intelligence experts, because those senior officials anxious about a tit-for-tat scenario playing out on the world stage.

The US has in the past blacklisted dozens of entities and people for affiliations with the IRGC, but not the organization as a whole.

The Trump Organization was informed in 2015 that its partners, the Mammadov family of Azerbaijan, were likely laundering money for Iran's Revolutionary Guard.

He also said that IRGC Gen. Qasem Soleimani was responsible for killing 603 US troops during the Iraq war.

The Supreme National Security Council, in a statement carried by the official news agency IRNA, declared the United States to be a state sponsor of terrorism and both called the US Central Command and forces underneath it terrorist groups.

Iran's top security council designated U.S. military forces a "terrorist organisation" in reaction to Washington's decision.

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Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the move.

"This designation is a direct response to an outlaw regime and should surprise no one", Pompeo said.

It is the first time the USA has designated a part of another government as a terror group.

The IRGC terrorist designation is a political and symbolic decision with no upsides and plenty of potentially unsafe consequences for US interests in the Middle East.

The foreign minister "condemned the possible US measure and emphasized that such measure would create lots of dangers", Khoshroudi said.

"The IRGC's elite Quds Force was previously designated, but this did not dissuade Iran from using its funding, weapons, and personnel to engage in deadly violence around the world", McCaul said in a statement.

In a letter to President Rouhani, Mr. Zarif said the council should designate American forces as terrorists based on Iran's "Countering America's Human Rights Violation and Adventurous and Terrorist Actions" law passed by the Iranian Parliament in 2017. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and other countries have accused the guard of supplying the Houthis with long-range missiles, a charge it denies.

American military commanders were planning to warn USA troops remaining in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the region of the possibility of retaliation.

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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