Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)

President Donald Trump announced today that the US will formally designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).

“The Iranian regime is the leading state sponsor of terror. It exports dangerous missiles, fuels conflicts across the Middle East, and supports terrorist proxies.” – President Trump

From the Whitehouse:

  • The Administration is designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) to counter Iran’s global campaign of terrorism.
  • The Trump Administration is taking this unprecedented step as part of a broader effort to counter Iran-backed terrorism around the world.
  • The Administration’s action will increase the financial pressure and isolation of Iran and deprive the regime of resources it uses for its terrorist activities.
  • This action puts other governments and the private sector on notice about the nature of the IRGC, which operates front companies and institutions around the world to fund terror.
    • The profits from what appear to be legitimate business deals can end up supporting the Iranian regime’s terrorist agenda.
  • This marks the first time that the United States has designated part of another government as a FTO.
    • The designation underscores that the Iranian regime’s use of terrorism makes it fundamentally different from any other government.

COUNTERING IRAN’S GLOBAL CAMPAIGN OF TERRORISM: The Iranian regime continues to engage in a campaign of terrorism around the world.

  • The Iranian regime employs terrorism as a central tool of its statecraft and uses the IRGC to direct and carry out its global terrorist campaign.
  • The IRGC provides funding, equipment, training, and logistical support to terrorist groups.
  • The IRGC has been directly involved in terrorist plots in numerous countries.
    • In 2011, the IRGC Qods Force plotted a brazen attack on the Saudi Ambassador to the United States in Washington, D.C., that was uncovered and thwarted.
    • IRGC Qods Force activity has been uncovered and disrupted in Germany, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Kenya, Bahrain, Turkey, and others.
  • The Iranian regime remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, spending nearly a billion dollars every year to support terrorism.
    • The regime provides funding to a number of terrorist groups, including Hizballah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Kata’ib Hizballah, al-Ashtar Brigades, and others.

PROTECTING AMERICA’S SECURITY: President Trump has taken action to address the full range of the regime’s malign activities and ensure it never obtains a nuclear weapon.

  • President Trump withdrew from the unacceptable Iran deal as it failed to protect America’s national security interests.
  • President Trump reimposed all sanctions lifted under the Iran deal and enacted the toughest sanctions regime ever imposed on Iran.
    • These sanctions help cut off revenues the regime uses to fund terrorism, promote global instability, fund nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and enrich its leaders.
  • The Administration has directed its actions against the Iranian regime—not the Iranian people, who are the regime’s longest suffering victims.

Who is the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) anyway?

The literal translation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is ‘Army of Guardians of the Islamic Revolution’, a branch of Iran’s Armed Forces that was founded in April 1979 by order of Ayatollah Khomeini. According to the Iranian constitution, the IRGC is intended to protect the country’s Islamic Republic system.

The Revolutionary Guards state that their role in protecting the Islamic system is preventing foreign interference as well as coups by the military or “deviant movements”. The Revolutionary Guards have roughly 125,000 military personnel including ground, aerospace and naval forces. Its naval forces are now the primary forces tasked with operational control of the Persian Gulf. It also controls the paramilitary Basij militia which has about 90,000 active personnel. Its media wing is ‘Sepah News’.

Since its origin as an ideologically driven militia, the IRGC has taken a greater role in nearly every aspect of Iranian society. Its expanded social, political, military and economic role under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s administration—especially during the 2009 presidential election and post-election suppression of protest—has led many Western analysts to argue that its political power has surpassed even that of the Shia clerical system.

A First for the US Government

The FTO designation is the first time that the United States has ever named a part of another government as a foreign terrorist organization.

Iranian parliamentarian Seyed Jawad Sadati-nejad
Iranian parliamentarian Seyed Jawad Sadati-nejad

Iranian parliamentarian Seyed Jawad Sadati-nejad told Iran’s state-run FARS News, “If any stupidity is carried out by the Americans, the Islamic Republic of Iran will practice reciprocity and designate the US military, which has killed many innocent people, to the list of terrorist groups.” He went on to say “Iran could then treat US troops in the region the same way they treated terror groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda”, reported FARS News.

The US action comes into effect on April 15 and imposes wide-ranging economic and travel sanctions on the military unit as well as the organizations, companies or individuals that have ties to it — including officials in Iraq, an American ally. Some American officials said the broad terrorist designation potentially covers 11 million members of the Iranian group and affiliated organizations, including the large Basij volunteer militia.


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