09 April, 2019
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The State Department said on Monday that the Guards have been engaged in terrorist activity since the group's inception, including the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 Americans, and a foiled plan to attack the Saudi ambassador to the United States on US soil. Trump said the accord did not address Iran's ballistic missile activity or what he saw as its malign influence in the region.
The designation is part of a well-crafted game plan that Bolton and Pompeo have been peddling for years: apply enough economic, diplomatic, and military pressure to force the Iranian regime to either capitulate to American demands or fall apart.
The United States has officially designated Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, marking the first time a government entity has been classified as such. President Trump has publicly castigated Pakistan and cut off all aid to the country.
The department now designates 60 groups, such as al-Qaida and the Islamic State and their various affiliates, Hezbollah and numerous militant Palestinian factions, as "foreign terrorist organizations".
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) said he supports the move in a statement.
The officials said that the step is essential to "weakening the IRGC in the Middle East", and that the "region can not be more peaceful without weakening the IRGC". Iran vows to fight back.
When asked about the timing of the designation on Monday, senior administration officials said it had been in the works for months.
Iran warns US over plan to designate Revolutionary Guards as terrorists
"This designation ends the façade that the IRGC is part of a normal military", Mr. McCaul said in a statement.
The Pentagon and US intelligence agencies have raised concerns about the impact of the designation if the move does not allow contact with foreign officials who may have met with or communicated with Guard personnel.
It is seen as extremely likely that the U.S. will put Iran's Revolutionary Guards on the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations at some point in the next week.
In response to the USA move, Iran's Supreme National Security Council declared the U.S. a "state sponsor of terrorism" and U.S. forces in the region "terrorist groups", state media reported.
He did say that the move would make it clear to Lebanese leaders - including Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri - that the U.S. "will not tolerate" illicit ties with Iran from anyone in the country.
"The announcement, which officials said would put the military organization on the same level as terror groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, is the latest administration step to increase pressure on Iran", reports Fox News.
Iran immediately responded with its Supreme National Security Council designating the U.S. Central Command, also known as CENTCOM, and all its forces as terrorist, and labeling the U.S. a "supporter of terrorism".
Critics said Trump's decision was largely symbolic because the IRGC and Iran already are subject to stiff US sanctions and they said it could expose USA forces to attack.
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