US classifies Revolutionary Guards Corps in Iran as terrorist organization

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After President Trump announced that he would classify the Iranian elite unit as a terrorist organization, new tensions between the two countries are inevitable. Trump called the Revolutionary Guards Corps “the Iranian government’s primary tool to direct and implement their worldwide terror campaign.” It is the first time that the United States classifies a military unit of another state as a terrorist organization.

The administration of US President Donald Trump will classify the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organization. This was announced by Trump in a message that the White House distributed on Monday. One wants to send a clear message to the Tehran government “that their support for terrorists has serious consequences.”

The Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) are the elite unit of the armed forces in Iran and far more important than the classic army. The move should lead to new tensions between the two countries. The Revolutionary Guards Corps already threatened the US with countermeasures. Trump called the Revolutionary Guards Corps “the Iranian government’s primary tool to direct and implement their worldwide terror campaign.” The move further aggravates the government’s course towards Iran, which it considers a “rogue regime.”

The US president announced last year the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Tehran. The agreement was intended to prevent the construction of an Iranian nuclear bomb. In return, Iran was promised better economic relations. The United States, however, stepped out of the deal unilaterally and again imposed economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Revolutionary Guard Corps chief threatened with consequences at the weekend

It is the first time that the United States classifies a military unit of another state as a terrorist organization. So far, the State Department list includes the Islamic State (IS), Boko Haram or Hamas. The measure aims to prevent financial aid for the IRGC. US citizens and businesses are prohibited from supporting the organization – for example in the form of money, weapons or training. Members of the unit are also not allowed to enter the US or can be expelled.

There had been some speculation for some time that Trump’s government could classify the Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organization. IRGC commander Mohammed Ali Dschafari warned Washington against such a move over the weekend. “If Americans really commit such a stupidity and put our national security at risk, then we will take operational action against them,” the Tasnim news agency quoted him.

According to the Constitution, the Revolutionary Guards Corps are Iran’s elite unit of Iranian armed forces and have been far more important than the classic army for more than three decades. The Revolutionary Guards Corps are directly under the country’s top leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say in all strategic matters. The IRGC controls all borders in Iran, the Persian Gulf, as well as nuclear facilities and military bases.

The unit also has great political and economic influence in the country. The Guards are ideologically closer to the hardliners, but the reformers around President Hassan Ruhani also respect and value them as the country’s guarantor of security. The classification as a terrorist organization is made by the US State Department. Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo is going to comment on this at some later stage.

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