Members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards march during a military parade to commemorate the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war in Tehran September 22, 2007.
(photo credit: REUTERS/MORTEZA NIKOUBAZL)
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that his administration would move forward to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including its Quds Force, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
“This unprecedented step, led by the Department of State, 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,” said the President.
According to the White House press release, “this designation will be the first time that the United States has ever named a part of another government as an FTO. It underscores the fact that Iran’s actions are fundamentally different from those of other governments.” It added that “this action will significantly expand the scope and scale of our maximum pressure on the Iranian regime,” and “it makes crystal clear the risks of conducting business with, or providing support to, the IRGC. If you are doing business with the IRGC, you will be bankrolling terrorism.”
The president concluded his statement with a commitment: “We will continue to increase financial pressure and raise the costs on the Iranian regime for its support of terrorist activity until it abandons its malign and outlaw behavior.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked the President, calling him “my dear friend.” He tweeted: “Thank you, President Trump for your decision to designate the Islamic revolutionary guards as a terrorist organization.
“Once again you are keeping the world safe from Iran aggression and terrorism.”
Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said in a press conference at the State Department that this designation will take place one week from today. “We’re doing it because the Iranian regime use of terrorism as a tool of statecraft makes it fundamentally different from any other government.”
Pompeo noted that “businesses and banks around the world now have a clear duty to ensure the companies with which they conduct financial transactions are not connected to the IRGC in any material way.” He told reporters that “it also gives US government additional tools to counter Iranian back to terrorism: This designation is a direct response to an outlaw regime and should surprise no one and it builds on the more than 970 Iranian individuals and entities that the Trump administration has already sanctioned.”
When asked by reporter about Netanyahu’s recent remarks regarding a possible annexation of parts of the West Bank after the upcoming elections in Israel, and Secretary Pompeo replied that he has no comment. He concluded by saying that “The IRGC masquerades as a legitimate military organization, but none of us should be fooled. It regularly violates the laws of armed conflict it plans, organized and executes terror campaigns all around the world. From the moment it was founded, the IRGC mandate was to defend an export the regimes a revolution by whatever means possible. It’s operatives to work to destabilize the Middle East from Iraq to Lebanon, to Syria, and Yemen.”
According to Secretary Pompeo, “with this designation, the Trump administration is simply recognizing a basic reality. The IRGC will take its rightful place on the same list as terror groups at supports, Lebanese Hezbollah, Palestinian, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, among others, all of which are already designated as foreign terrorist organizations.”
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