Trump Administration Labels Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps a 'Terrorist Organization'

And Iran looks to reciprocate.


Abaca Press/SalamPix/Abaca/Sipa USA/Newscom

The Trump administration said today that it is designating a powerful Iranian paramilitary organization as a foreign terror group.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has long faced accusations of sponsoring global acts of terror. A White House press release cites several examples, including an alleged 2011 plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States. The IRGC has also been known to support various militant groups in the Middle East.

"The Iranian regime is the leading state sponsor of terror," says the press release. "It exports dangerous missiles, fuels conflicts across the Middle East, and supports terrorist proxies."

"This action sends a clear message to Tehran that its support for terrorism has serious consequences," President Donald Trump declares in a separate statement. "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 IRGC is not part of Iran's normal military, though it is a government organization that answers to the nation's supreme leader. This move—the first time the U.S. has labeled an entity within another government as a terror organization—means any American conducting business with the IRGC could face criminal charges.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says it will be another week before the new designation takes effect.

Relations between Iran and the U.S. have been tense for a while, especially since Trump withdrew last year from the two nations' Obama-era nuclear deal. "We will answer any action taken against [the IRGC] with a reciprocal action," says a statement issued by a majority of Iranian lawmakers, according to Reuters. "So the leaders of America, who themselves are the creators and supporters of terrorists in the [Middle East] region, will regret this inappropriate and idiotic action."

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has reportedly sent a letter to President Hassan Rouhani calling on Iran to label U.S. military forces in the Middle East "terrorist groups." Since then, Iran has dubbed the U.S. a "supporter of terrorism" and the U.S. Central Command a terror group.

Trump's action came after much debate within the administration, The New York Times reports, with Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton pushing for the designation.

"There is a reason that successive administrations have held off designating the I.R.G.C. as a terrorist organization, and why many of Trump's own military and intelligence officials are said to be highly opposed to the move: The potential blowback vastly outweighs the benefits," Jeffrey Prescott, a Obama-era member of the White House National Security Council, tells the Times. "It will put our service members in Iraq and throughout the region at additional risk with nothing to show in return."

John Glaser, director of foreign policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute, expressed similar sentiments on Twitter:

The IRGC is, no doubt, a shady organization that does very bad things. But officially labeling it a terror group won't necessarily decrease, and may well increase, its willingness and ability to cause harm.

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  1. “including an alleged 2011 plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States. The IRGC has also been known to support various militant groups in the Middle East.”

    This was tut-tutted away by the media and the Obama administration because he was so intent on getting his shitty Iran Deal. We never got a proper investigation, because when bad things happen under Democrat presidents, journalists don’t bother.

    1. The faux outrage over the Khashoggi incident, as if this was THAT unprecedented, and all of the idiots saying that nobody would ever have dared try such a think while Obama was president ignore a thousand worse things and more heinous crimes by Saudi Arabia and Iran that Obama just ignored; the Saudis because they were our allies and Obama was encouraging them to get more involved in Yemen, and Iran because he wanted his Iran Deal that he couldn’t even get Senate Democrats to support.

      Obama’s foreign policy was as disastrous as Bush’s, and possibly even more so. His only accomplishment was getting Europeans to like us.

  2. I admit I’d never heard of IRGC until today. But if Orange Hitler is using “terrorist” to describe a group with “Islamic” in its name, it’s probably an example of Islamophobia. And I learned in college Islamophobia is a form of racism.

  3. Do yourself a favor, Reason. Quit going out of your way to find the least-defensible and/or most convoluted “libertarian” stands to take in this world. Maybe help libertarianism’s reputation out a bit by focusing on the more salient issues?

    1. What libertarian issues do you think any other political party cares about?

  4. This is another one of Trump’s fillips to Netanyahu and the Zionists a day before the election. Which I think is great because one of the leader contenders is Feiglin who is a libertarian running on a platform of legalizing pot, ending the draft, and ending foreign aid from the USA. All positions I’ve been pushing hard for years. The left wing is going absolutely bonkers. (Yes he is also a Temple Mount Jewhadi, but no one’s perfect.)

  5. The benefit of telling it how it is always outweighs any possible cost. Iran is a state sponsor of Arab terrorism throughout Syria, Lebanon and Gaza. Either they cut the crap or get glassed.

    1. The problem is that there isn’t a Middle Eastern government that ISN”T a state sponsor of terrorism, and the USA isn’t consistent about who they call our and who they ally with. This is not a Trumpian problem though. It long predates him and is bipartisan. Obama was no better, and in many ways worse, with this hypocrisy. The solution is to just not get involved at all. We don’t even need the oil anymore.

      1. I agree, but designating terrorists helps Israel with regards to international legitimacy. No more pretending that the Arab League doesn’t exist and these Islamic republics made peace after the Yom Kippur War.

    2. I, too, have lost my taste for political correctness.

      America’s can’t-keep-up bigots and half-educated, superstitious right-wingers generally disdain a dose of reality, though, preferring to gloss over the degree to which clingers have been stomped in the culture war.

  6. Mullah #1 – “This action sends a clear message to Tehran that its support for terrorism has serious consequences.”

    Mullah #2 – “Quit reading Reason and help me count this money that Obama gave us, or we’re never going to get this done!”

  7. I was actually surprised by this announcement, as I thought the IRGC already was listed

  8. Setyon and the rest of Reason’s many gay contributors know that these dudes like to hang gays by cranes, right?

    Joe, you should count your blessings you don’t live in Iran. Because these dudes would gladly hang you by a crane in front of hundreds of cheering Muslim lunatics.

    1. Meanwhile, the drain the swamp President proves, once again, that he is an utter cuck to the most filthy and vile creature of the swamp.

    2. Sorry but if you’re trying to convince the gays that you’ll protect us from Iran you are failing miserably. You will simply come for us after all the people you accuse of ‘supporting IRGC terrorists’.

      Having said that, I think it’s fine that they are declared a terrorist org. They probably are, but so are lots of groups. Israel will get dragged into this soon enough, because we actually allied with Iran to fight ISIS. It’s ironic because Flynn got on stage two days after the inauguration to put Iran ‘on notice’ and now he’ll probably have to view the festivities from a jail cell.

  9. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says it will be another week before the new designation takes effect.

    Lockheed Martin regional fire sale! ONE WEEK ONLY!

    War pigs are gonna be mad that they can’t (as easily) export their arms.

    Sanctions are always a form of collective punishment. They always harm innocent people.

    Who are the innocents in this particular collective? U.S. arms manufacturers? Foreign military groups and the terrorist orgs that they feed? Kinda having a hard time with this.

  10. “The ..regime is the leading state sponsor of terror,” says the press release. “It exports dangerous missiles, fuels conflicts across the Middle East, and supports terrorist proxies.”

    It’s almost parody. :/

  11. So the logic is that we shouldn’t designate the terrorists as terrorists cuz the terrorists will get mad and act like terrorists.

  12. ’cause last Tuesday the dudes totally weren’t terrorists?

    1. It’s like Hihn’s enemies list. It doesn’t mean much, but gives you a certain cachet.

  13. “It exports dangerous missiles, fuels conflicts across the Middle East, and supports terrorist proxies.”

    You know who else…?

  14. Pres. Trump doesn’t kiss ass to the Islamic terorists and bash the Jews along with your preferred President. Maybe you Rhoemites hate Jews and Israel so muc because your minds are eaten out by drugs.

    There’s no ned to fear. Underzog is here.

  15. If it was such a good idea, why didn’t some president before Trump do it already?

      1. A Quds general was caught trying to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador ON US SOIL, in addition to bombing several cafes in DC to make it look like terrorism, and Obama and the press kind of just ignored it all and didn’t do any investigation into whether or not the Iranian government knew about it because they were so intent on getting their shitty Iran Deal that Obama couldn’t even get most Senate Democrats to support.

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