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Iran: The US To Announce Long-Mulled Decision About IRGC – OpEd

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The United States will designate Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, an unprecedented move that would ramp up pressure on the elite force, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp was formed after the 1979 Islamic revolution with a mission to defend the clerical regime, in contrast to more traditional military units that protect borders.

The Revolutionary Guards have amassed strong power within Iran, including with significant economic interests

In 2007, the US Treasury designated the IRGC’s Quds Force, its unit in charge of operations abroad, “for its support of terrorism,” and has described it as Iran’s “primary arm for executing its policy of supporting terrorist and insurgent groups.”

By law, the power to appoint and remove the commander of the IRGC is given to the supreme leader. The supreme leader also appoints clerical representatives to the various units of the IRGC whose guidance and instructions are binding on commanders. Iranian law makes “belief and practical obedience to the principle of the clerical rule” a condition of membership in the IRGC, further establishing absolute loyalty to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as the IRGC’s guiding principle.

Efforts to normalize the IRGC’s extraordinary role in Iran over the years have resulted in a complex organization chart. Administratively, the IRGC falls under the Joint Armed Forces General Staff, part of the Ministry of Defense. But these layers of oversight do not give Iran’s nominally elected civilian authorities real control over the IRGC, as the entire military remains subordinate to the Supreme National Security Council, which in turn answers to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Iranian opposition President Maryam Rajavi, head of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), has long been calling for the international community to completely end the appeasement approach vis-à-vis the regime in Iran.

On January 11 of this year, Mrs. Rajavi called for the specific IRGC blacklisting as an FTO alongside the referral of Iran’s human rights violations dossier to the United Nations Security Council.

Washington’s recent decision follows months of debates and negotiations and is expected to be announced on Monday. This designation is considered an unprecedented move, especially taking into notice that the IRGC is a military entity of this regime and responds only directly to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton strongly support this measure with the objective of imposing further pressure on the IRGC and the regime ruling Iran.

CENTCOM, commanding over U.S. forces across the Middle East and North Africa, is weighing the possibility of issuing a regional warning to its forces as a preventive measure to prepare any possible retaliatory attacks against its troops.

U.S. President Donald Trump, adopting a tough policy vis-à-vis against the regime ruling Iran, strongly supports this initiative. Analysts believe the impact of such a designation will be massive.

The Trump administration has long been focusing on the IRGC and placing this dangerous entity in its crosshairs. The IRGC has become one of the main pillars of the regime in Iran, expanding its influence to the mullahs’ economy, nuclear apparatus, and ballistic missile program.

During his tenure at the Central Intelligence Agency, Secretary Pompeo had emphasized on the fact that companies associated with the IRGC have control over around 20 percent of the country’s economy, including important energy branches.

Since its foundation back in 1979, the IRGC has played an active role in the domestic crackdown against all protests and uprisings throughout the past 40 years and expanding the mullahs’ malign influence across the Middle East through terrorist proxy groups. The 1983 Beirut bombings that left over 240 U.S. Marines killed in their barracks was carried out by the Lebanese Hezbollah, a terrorist group sponsored, trained and funded by the IRGC from day one.

The IRGC and its proxies have been behind a series of terror attacks and atrocities throughout the past decades:

During the Obama administration, the Guards acted with impunity, killing hundreds of American soldiers.

Today, based on declassified US military reports, Iran is responsible for the deaths of at least 608 American service members. This accounts for 17 percent of all deaths of US personnel in Iraq from 2003 to 2011. This death toll is in addition to the many thousands of Iraqis killed by the IRGC’s proxies.

  • -1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Argentina
  • -1994 AMIA bombing in Argentina
  • -1996 Khobar Tower bombing in Saudi Arabia
  • -The killings of hundreds of American soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq
  • -Funding, training and equipping proxies in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon in the devastating wars that have wreaked havoc across the region

Despite the fact that the U.S. Treasury Department has taken vast measures against the IRGC, the official FTO designation will strongly expand the United States’ ability to take practical measures against this entity, along with its associated companies and individuals.

According to this designation, all entities and individuals will be banned from providing any support or resources, such as financial services, training equipment, specialist advice, arms or transportation equipment, to IRGC-controlled or IRGC officials.

IRGC officials and those engaging with them will be placed under civil and criminal punishment, including legal prosecution.

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Hassan Mahmoudi

Hassan Mahmoudi is a human rights advocate and Social Media journalist seeking democracy for Iran and peace for the region.

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