- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he requested that President Donald Trump designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organization.
- Trump officially designated the IRGC as a terrorist group on Monday.
- "Thank you for responding to another of my important requests, which serves the interests of our countries and countries of the region," Netanyahu said in a tweet directed at Trump.
- This all came on the eve of Israel’s national elections, in which Netanyahu is running for reelection.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said President Donald Trump’s decision to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization was made at his request.
"Thank you, my dear friend, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, for having decided to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization," Netanyahu tweeted in Hebrew. "Thank you for responding to another of my important requests, which serves the interests of our countries and countries of the region."
This tweet came on the eve of Israeli’s national elections, in which Netanyahu is running for an unprecedented fifth term as prime minister.
The IRGC is an elite military force that operates separately from Iran’s conventional military.
It was established in 1979 in conjunction with the Islamic Revolution and is charged with safeguarding its ideological underpinnings. But the force has evolved into Iran’s most powerful military and security institution, with an intricate involvement in political and economic structure of modern-day Iran. The IRGC is loyal to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader.
In announcing that the US was labeling the force as a terrorist group, Trump in a statement said, "This unprecedented step, led by the Department of State, recognizes the reality that Iran is not only a State Sponsor of Terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft."
Designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization opens the door for US prosecutors to go after those who provide material support to it.
Some experts fear that this move will have few benefits for the US and could alienate it from allies who do business with the IRGC, as others suggest this is part of National Security Adviser John Bolton’s desire to lay the groundwork for a war with Tehran.
The Trump administration’s designation of the IRGC is nonetheless beneficial to Netanyahu, a right-wing leader who has joined forces with Israel’s far-right and wants to appear tough on Israel’s foes. It also comes less than a month after Trump officially recognized the Golan Heights, one of the most disputed territories in the world, as part of Israel. Netanyahu traveled to the US to watch Trump put pen to paper on this move.
Trump and Netanyahu are close allies and the Israeli prime minister has emphasized his strong relationship with the president in his bid for reelection.
The president has rejected the notion any of the recent decisions that favor Netanyahu’s agenda were meant to boost his chances in the election.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from INSIDER.
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