Iran threatens retaliation over potential Revolutionary Guard terrorism designation

Geraldine Edwards
April 8, 2019

The Trump administration is preparing to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps as a "foreign terrorist organisation" - an unprecedented move that could have widespread implications for U.S. personnel and policy.

The United States added Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) to its antiterrorism sanctions list in October 2017, but in the statement announcing the decision, the Department of Treasury emphasized that the development did not mean the us designated the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization.

Any US attack against the IRGC will be met with strong "reciprocal measures", 255 of the 290 Iranian lawmakers said in a statement issued on Sunday, local media reported.

The U.S. decision, which critics warn could open U.S. military and intelligence officials to similar actions by unfriendly governments overseas, is expected to be announced by the State Department perhaps as early as Monday, the U.S. officials said last week. The move has been rumoured for years.

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The administration's decision to make the designation was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The WSJ also reported that US officials claim "national security advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have been strong proponents of the move, which is meant to help the USA crackdown on businesses in Europe and elsewhere controlled by the IRGC".

Dr. Sebastian Gorka, chief strategist for the MAGA Coalition, formerly Deputy Assistant to President Trump and Breitbart News National Security editor, appeared on Breitbart News Daily in 2017 and urged U.S. President Donald Trump to act against the IRGC.

Iran has warned of a "crushing" response should the United States go ahead with the designation.

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Such threats are particularly ominous for USA forces in places such as Iraq, where Iran-aligned Shiite militia are located in close proximity to U.S. troops.

IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari warned in 2017 that if Trump went ahead with the long-anticipated move, "then the Revolutionary Guards will consider the American army to be like Islamic State all around the world".

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

Iran's most powerful security organisation, the IRGC was set up to protect the country's Shia clerical ruling system after its 1979 Islamic Revolution, which toppled the Western-allied secular monarch Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and led to the formation of the Islamic Republic. It is estimated to have 125,000 personnel, comprised of army, navy and air units.

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