Washington DC: In a first, the United States on Monday designated Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a “foreign terrorist
organisation” in a bid to pressure Iran into abandoning “its deadly ambitions,” according to US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.
This is the first time the United States has designated another country’s governmental entity as a terror body. The designation makes it illegal to provide any materials to Iran’s paramilitary organisation formed in the wake of the 1979 Islamic revolution to defend its government.
“In an important step to counter the Iranian regime’s terrorism, the US has designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, including Qods Force, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. We must help the people of Iran get back their freedom,” Pompeo said. Qods Force is a unit of the IRGC.
“The use of terrorism is central to the Iranian regime’s foreign policy. The designation of IRGC, including Qods Force will help starve the regime of the means to execute this destructive policy.
Maximum pressure will be unrelenting until Iran’s regime abandons its deadly ambitions,” he tweeted on Monday. Pompeo added that the Iranian regime does not only support terrorism but also conducts terrorism, during a press conference on Monday.
“This is just another chapter, there are more chapters to come…This was long overdue,” a US official said during Monday’s media briefing.
The IRGC is answerable only to Iran’s supreme leader.
In a tit-for-tat move, Iran had previously threatened to blacklist the US Army “alongside the dreaded Islamic States” if Washington went ahead with the decision to designate the IRGC. The country’s response to Monday’s listing is awaited.
The Secretary of State, however, did not comment on the oil waivers which are set to expire on May 2. The Donald Trump Administration is likely to let a small group of countries, including India continue buying Iranian oil after a US deadline on sanctions waivers expires in May, say analysts.