The United States has formally designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF) as a foreign terrorist organization, a notice in the U.S. Federal Register confirmed on Monday.
In a statement on the website, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “I hereby designate the aforementioned organization and its aliases as a foreign terrorist organization pursuant to section 219 of the [Immigration and Nationality Act].”
The U.S. announced last week its decision to add the IRGC-QF to the list of foreign terrorist organizations. This is the first time that a U.S. administration has imposed sanctions on a governmental arm of another country. The unprecedented move upholds its promise to intensify the policy of “maximum pressure” on the Iranian leadership.
The designation makes it easier to target the European Union and other entities still doing business with Iran following the reimposition of nuclear-related sanctions. Britain, France, and Germany announced at the end of January the launch of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), a central part of European attempts to salvage the 2015 nuclear accord with the Islamic Republic.
A White House statement said that the State Department regards the IRGC-QF as “the Iranian government’s primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign.” Pompeo stressed that the U.S. would continue to impose sanctions on Iran and pressure it to “behave like a normal nation.” The Secretary of State urged other nations to support the U.S. decision and to also designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization.
In addition to the significant control it exerts over Iran’s economy, the IRGC-QF specializes in foreign missions and providing training, funding, and weapons to extremist groups. Those include Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, as well as other Shiite militias in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.
The IRGC also controls Iran’s ballistic missile program. Tehran has warned that it has missiles with a range of up to 1,242 miles, putting both Israel and U.S. military bases in the region within reach.
Iran has threatened to retaliate by designating the U.S. military as a terrorist organization.
[Photo: Reza Dehshiri / Wikimedia Commons]