- The Trump administration has designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, as well as the Quds Force, a foreign terrorist organization.
- This is the first time the US has ever named part of a foreign government an FTO. "It underscores the fact that Iran’s actions are fundamentally different from those of other government," the White House said in a statement.
- The FTO designation makes doing business with the IRGC a criminal offense, as doing so will be considered providing material support to a terrorist organization.
- Iran has threatened to retaliate against the US for this decision, which it called an "inappropriate and idiotic action."
The White House has decided to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization as the Trump administration steps up its maximum pressure campaign against Iran.
"This unprecedented step," President Donald Trump said in a statement Monday, "recognizes the reality that Iran is not only a State Sponsor of Terrorism, but the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft."
"This action sends a clear message to Tehran that its support for terrorism has serious consequences," the president added.
Designating the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization clears the way for US prosecutors to target those who provide material support to the organization. Conducting business with the IRGC will now be considered a criminal offense punishable by law.
"This designation is a direct response to an outlaw regime and should surprise no one," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday, further commenting that the Quds Force, which is also being identified as a foreign terrorist organization, is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of US troops in Iraq.
"The Middle East cannot be more stable and peaceful without weakening the IRGC. We have to diminish their power. The IRGC has been threatening American troops and our operations almost since the time it was formed," a senior administration official said on background prior to the announcement Monday.
Last week, the Pentagon said that Iran-backed militants killed 603 US troops between 2003 and 2011, meaning that Iran is responsible for 17% of all US deaths in Iraq during that window. "This death toll is in addition to the many thousands of Iraqis killed by the IRGC’s proxies," the Department of State added, according to Military Times.
Iran, responding to rumors prior to the White House announcement, has already threatened to retaliate.
"We will answer any action taken against this force with a reciprocal action," Iranian lawmakers said in a statement Sunday, Fox News reported. "So the leaders of America, who themselves are the creators and supporters of terrorists in the [Middle East] region, will regret this inappropriate and idiotic action."
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