The U.S. is ready to name Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a foreign terrorist organization, perhaps as soon as this week.
The decision, which critics warn could open U.S. military and intelligence officials to similar actions by unfriendly governments abroad, is expected to be announced by the U.S. State Department, perhaps as early as Monday, the officials said. It has been rumored for years.
The Pentagon declined comment and referred queries to the State Department. The State Department and White House also declined to comment.
The Iranian mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a strident Iran hawk, has advocated for the change in U.S. policy as part of the Trump administration’s tough posture toward Tehran.
The announcement would come ahead of the first anniversary of President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of a 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran and to reimpose sanctions that had crippled Iran’s economy.
The Revolutionary Guard is far more than a military force. They are an ideological organization under the direct command of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. The Guards are religious police, terrorists, assassins, a domestic spy agency, and are charged with spreading the Islamic revolution throughout the world.
It is the Guard’s Quds Force that’s at issue. The QF planned the assassination of Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S. They have carried out numerous assassinations of Iranian dissidents on foreign soil and are strongly suspected of being behind the 1994 attack on a Jewish center in Argentina.
So perhaps the question should be, what took the U.S. government so long?
The United States has already blacklisted dozens of entities and people for affiliations with the IRGC, but the organization as a whole is not.
In 2007, the U.S. Treasury designated the IRGC’s Quds Force, its unit in charge of operations abroad, “for its support of terrorism,” and has described it as Iran’s “primary arm for executing its policy of supporting terrorist and insurgent groups.”
Iran has warned of a “crushing” response should the United States go ahead with the designation.
IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari warned in 2017 that if Trump went ahead with the move “then the Revolutionary Guards will consider the American army to be like Islamic State all around the world.”
He’s got a mouth on him, doesn’t he?
In truth, Iran can do nothing without incurring the wrath of the U.S. If they wish to attack U.S. forces, Guard facilities will be razed to the ground. And they know that as well as we do.
The Revolutionary Guard is the only thing keeping the rickety regime in power. Iran’s economy is in tatters with high unemployment, meager foreign investment, and a declining energy infrastructure. Trump is ratcheting up the pressure on the clerics who run Iran, hoping that a breaking point will eventually be reached.
But as long as the Guard remains loyal to the regime, there’s not much hope for regime change.