The United States has designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a, effective Monday. The group, formed by an order of Ayatollah Khomeini, is a branch of Iran’s Armed Forces founded after the 1979 Revolution.
President Trump said in a statement that the move, led by the Department of State, is an “unprecedented step” that “recognizes the reality that Iran is not only a State Sponsor of Terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft.”
He added, “The IRGC is the Iranian government’s primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign.” The White House emphasized on Monday that the action “sends a clear message to Tehran that its support for terrorism has serious consequences.”
“We will continue to increase financial pressure and raise the costs on the Iranian regime for its support of terrorist activity until it abandons its malign and outlaw behavior,” the president said.
The designation will be the first time that the United States has ever named a part of another government as a foreign terrorist organization, according to the White House, and will expand the scope and scale of the administration’s maximum pressure campaign on the Iranian regime.
CBS News’ Margaret Brennan reports that White House officials, including National Security Adviser John Bolton and Pompeo himself, had been arguing for the designation for some time. However, the Pentagon has voiced concerns about the possible designation given the close proximity of U.S. troops in Syria to Iranian forces.
Tensions between Iran and the U.S. have escalated since the Trump administration’s pullout of the internationally-accepted Iran nuclear pact. The administration has imposed the harshest sanctions on Iran to date.
Meanwhile, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has alluded that it would follow through on development of missiles and it would continue to build up its military power despite strict U.S. sanctions.
This is a developing story.