U.S. to designate Iranian Revolutionary Guards as terror group, report says

Posted April 09, 2019

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, himself vocal about combating Iran's regional actions, has been a proponent of the tougher line taken by the Trump administration against Tehran and has been active on visits to the region in pushing that message.

The administration of US President Donald Trump is expected to designate the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization as early as next week, according to a US official.

Trump said in a statement Monday that the move "recognises the reality" that Iran is a state-sponsored supporter of terrorism and that the Revolutionary Guard is an active participant.

"It makes crystal clear the risks of conducting business with, or providing support to, the IRGC", Trump said.

After reports of the planned us designation emerged on Friday, Iranian lawmakers warned Tehran will take reciprocal action.

The United States designated Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a foreign terrorist organisation on Monday, an unprecedented step by Washington to put pressure on Tehran and further isolate its regime.

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The IRGC is a paramilitary organization formed in the wake of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution to defend the government. While a number of military, engineering, and oil branches of the IRGC, as well as senior individual members, have already been blacklisted by the United States, the organization itself with over 120,000 serving members has avoided the rap until now.

"A formal designation and its consequences may be new, but these IRGC butchers have been terrorists for a long time", Sen.

Over the decades, the IRGC has amassed strong political and economic influence inside Iran, while its elite Quds Force, named for the Arabic word for Jerusalem, supports Iranian allies, including Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Lebanon's Hizballah movement.

In a subsequent Hebrew tweet, Netanyahu said the move "serves the interests of our countries and of countries in the region", and warmly thanked the United States leader for "acceding to another one of my important requests". Both advisors successfully pressured President Trump to reverse his decision to withdraw all US troops from Syria after proclaiming that USA troops will remain in Syria until "every Iranian boot" is expelled from the country.

The IRGC is estimated to have more than 150,000 active personnel, boasts its own ground forces, navy and air force, and oversees Iran's strategic weapons, including its ballistic missiles.

Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the designation "ends the facade that the IRGC is part of a normal military".

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The CIA had reservations about the move, saying it would increase risks for USA troops without doing much more to damage the Iranian economy, according to The Wall Street Journal.

"The designation of IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization is precedent setting".

President Trump is seen as strongly supportive of the new initiative.

The Pentagon, however, has voiced concerns about the possible designation given the close proximity of US troops in Syria to Iranian forces.

The information the USA government has on their illicit activities is clear: Iran is the largest exporter of terrorism in the world.

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