President Donald Trump’s administration is mulling designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, Reuters reports.
The IRGC is one military force of the Islamic Republic of Iran which reports directly to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenai. The IRGC is charged with training and arming terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, and deploying troops to places like Syria or Iraq.
Trump’s order would not immediately designate the IRGC a terrorist organization, but would instead instruct the Department of State to review current policy. The Department of the Treasury in 2007 sanctioned elements of the IRGC “entities and individuals engaged in or supporting proliferation and terrorism.”
Trump’s order would likely rile Iran’s current ruling elite, further increasing tensions between the U.S. and Iran. Increased sanctions on Iran could even lead to Iran pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal.
Trump also sanctioned Iran Friday for conducting missile tests in violation of United Nations sanctions in late January. Trump has repeatedly blamed the Obama administration for failing to curb Iran’s increasingly aggressive ballistic missile tests and nefarious activity after the signing of the 2015 nuclear deal. IRGC terrorist designation would also fit with National Security Advisor Mike Flynn’s warning that Iran is “on notice.”
Iran and elements of the IRGC were implicated several times in assisting in the killing of U.S. soldiers in Iraq. Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress a year ago, “I know the total number of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that were killed by Iranian activities, and the number has been recently quoted as about 500.”
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