For the first time in American history, the United States is designating part of a foreign government a foreign terrorist organization, as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran will carry that label effective April 15. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo noted that the unique move to so classify the IRGC—which is part of the Iranian military and has deep ties inside the Iranian economy—is well deserved given the unique range of aggression carried out by the group.
“We’re doing [this] because the Iranian regime’s use of terrorism as a tool of statecraft makes it fundamentally different from any other government,” said Pompeo on Monday in comments released by the State Department. “This historic step will deprive the world’s leading state sponsor of terror the financial means to spread misery and death around the world.”
Pompeo listed out a litany of crimes done by the IRGC: from responsibility for the Khobar Towers bombing that killed 19 American service members in Saudi Arabia to attempted terror attacks in the US, Turkey and Kenya. A separate press release from the State Department noted the IRGC has supported Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and terror groups in Iraq, Bahrain and Syria.
“The blood of the 603 American soldiers the Iranian regime has found to have killed in Iraq is on his hands and on the hands of the IRGC more broadly,” said Pompeo. “Inexplicably the regime has faced no accountability from the international community for those deaths. Far from being an arbitrary attack on Iran, our pressure campaign imposes just and long overdue consequences for the regime’s malign activity”
The top American diplomat encouraged other nations to join in pressuring Iran in line with the terrorist designation, and he noted that the US move will make it more difficult for Europeans and others to do business with entities connected to the IRGC.
“It is absolutely the case that the IRGC amounts to a significant piece of the Iranian economy through pure kleptocracy. And it is also the case that it is sometimes difficult to know whether the IRGC is involved,” said Pompeo. “…I think this will require more diligence be done by every business that is considering doing things that are even now second and third orders removed from what you might think of as a traditional connection to the Iranian economy.”
Pompeo noted that the IRGC isn’t just a threat to others—they’re hurting the Iranian people too. He referenced multiple instances of outright or apparent corruption involving the IRGC or a related entity—including embezzling more than $1 billion from the capital city of Tehran.
“The leaders of Iran are racketeers, not revolutionaries. The Iranian people deserve better than to be governed by this cadre of hypocritical and corrupt officials,” said Pompeo.
While the US pressure is increasing on Iran, Pompeo made it clear that the goal remains the same.
“I think what we’ve said before is we want Iran to behave like a normal nation. We hit on 12 things that they needed to do back in what would have been almost a year ago, May of last year,” he said.
“That’s the mission; that’s the mission of this designation as well. So that’s our purpose. If you said ‘what’s the intent,’ it’s to achieve the outcomes that we laid out back in May of last year to get the Islamic Republic of Iran to do the simple thing like not launch missiles into Saudi Arabia, risking American lives each and every day.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, April 9, 2019)