The United States is expected to officially designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist entity, as part of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran since withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reimposing sanctions lifted under it, in addition to enacting new financial and other penalties.
The Wall Street Journal reported this development on Friday, citing U.S. officials. It reported that the decision could be announced as soon as Monday.
This possible move, which has been pushed by National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, but discouraged by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, would be the first time that a part of a foreign state has been officially designated as a terrorist group.
The Pentagon said that a move like this “could lead to a backlash against U.S. forces in the region without inflicting the intended damage to the Iranian economy,” reported the Journal.
The Central Intelligence Agency has also cautioned against such a move.
“This long overdue designation in memory of thousands of Americans, Iranians, Europeans, Syrians, Iraqis, Yemenis, Lebanese, Israelis, Saudis, Bahrainis, Argentines — & from many other countries — murdered, maimed, tortured & brutalized by IRGC terrorists,” tweeted Mark Dubowitz, chief executive at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
The designation, the first time any government entity will be branded as terrorist, will be accompanied by a regional alert to U.S. forces to warn of possible retaliation
The IRGC has been a main part of Iran’s ambitions for regional hegemony through its presence in countries such as Syria and Iraq, assisting the regime’s proxies, including Hezbollah.