U.S and Iran designates each others’ armed forces as Terrorist Groups

U.S. President Trump[left] and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei[right]/Image: Al Jazeera

Ahead of vote day in Israel, the region’s politics took a sharp turn, as in an unprecedented move United States designated Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organisation (FTO), raising tension in the Middle East.

“The IRGC is the Iranian government’s primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign,” Trump said in a statement.

US Secretary of State Pompeo tweeted announcing FTO designation to Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

In retaliation, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council has shown a similar attitude by assigning U.S. military forces a “terrorist organisation”

The U.S. designation of IRGC comes one day before Israel holds a national election on the leadership of Prime Minister
Netanyahu. Responding to news of the pending announcement, Zarif said Trump is granting a long-held request from Netanyahu.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif stated this move “A misguided election-eve gift to Netanyahu”

The IRGC is in charge of Iran’s ballistic missiles and nuclear programs. Tehran has warned that it has missiles with a range of up to 2,000 km (1,242 miles), putting Israel and U.S. military bases in the region within reach.

The designation “makes crystal clear the risks of conducting business with, or providing support to, the IRGC,” Trump said. “If you are doing business with the IRGC, you will be bankrolling terrorism.” 

Critics have warned that the move could open U.S. military and intelligence officials to similar actions by unfriendly governments. The United States has already blacklisted dozens of entities and people for affiliations with the IRGC, but not the organisation as a whole.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a strident critic of Iran, has pushed for the change in U.S. policy as part of the Trump administration’s tough posture toward Tehran. Pompeo told a news conference the designation will take effect in one week.

The announcement comes shortly before the first anniversary of Trump’s decision to pull out of a 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran and to reimpose sanctions that had crippled Iran’s economy.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked U.S. President Trump in response to FTO designation to Iran by the United States.

Set up after the 1979 Islamic Revolution to protect the Shi’ite clerical ruling system, the IRGC is Iran’s most powerful security organisation. It has control over large sectors of the Iranian economy and has a huge influence in its political system.

The United States has already blacklisted dozens of entities and people for affiliations with the IRGC, but the organisation as a whole is not.

In 2007, the U.S. 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.”

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team

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Md. Faiz Ansari

Md. Faiz Ansari is an Associate Editor at The Kootneeti. He can be reached at mdfaiz@thekootneeti.in

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