The new sanctions put on Iran by the Trump White House in response to their January 29th ballistic missile test brings hope that this will be a sign to the regime to curb, and eventually end, their support for global terror, testing of ballistic missiles, and the ongoing domestic problems.
While the Trump administration’s actions seem to lack necessary might to Iran’s regime, they represent turn away from the former appeasement policies.
Now, there is serious talk of labelling Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization.
This has become more urgent following a press conference held Tuesday by Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in Washington.
Based on information obtained by the social network of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) inside Iran, NCRI US Representative Office Deputy Director Alireza Jafarzadeh revealed details and specific locations where the IRGC Quds Force has increased the number militia members trained to take part in wars already threatening Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain, Afghanistan and beyond.
Jafarzadeh said, “Daesh (ISIS) and the Tehran regime armed with its Revolutionary Guards are two sides of the same coin, with the distinction that the Revolutionary Guards has at its disposal a nation state with all its strategic resources.”
“The IRGC’s role in fomenting crises across the region and terrorism on a global scale is undeniable. This includes provocative meddling in Saudi Arabia, and goes in line with the necessity to designate this entity as an organization focused on global terrorism,” writes Heshmat Alavi, political and rights activist focusing on Iran, in an article for Al-Arabiya.
Iran’s long history includes the 1983 bombing of the US Marine barracks in Lebanon that left over 240 dead, as well as the 1994 Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, resulting in 85 deaths and hundreds injured.
Alavi says, “Iran’s mullahs are the godfathers of the Lebanese Hezbollah, the force behind many of its international terrorist attacks, and it is only a logical conclusion that the entity providing the arms, training and finances would be none other than the IRGC.”
He says that the IRGC was also able to take advantage of those appeasements to advance Iran’s nuclear program and ballistic missile drive, and to test the new Trump administration with a medium-range ballistic missile test.
By taking advantage of loopholes in the nuclear accord with Iran, the IRGC has pursued the nuclear program, and are now claiming to have tested new centrifuge designs, and their troubling ballistic missile aspiration threatening US interests and strategic allies across the Middle East, according to Alavi. He adds, “Parallel to all these troubling activities, and not of any less importance, has been the IRGC’s leading role in the mullahs’ domestic crackdown. The main IRGC entity in implementing this policy is the paramilitary Basij militias that roam the streets to enforce a climate of fear and oppression, leading to an array of violations of human rights in Iran.”
Iran is said to be the leading country in executions per capita, and continues as such during the tenure of Iranian President Hassan Rowhani, writes Alavi, saying further that, “Iran’s jails are also known as dungeons where many such executions are performed, and the IRGC enjoys specific wards used to torture inmates for coerced confessions.”
Iran as a regime is designated as the leading state sponsor of terrorism by the US State Department, and also described most recently by Defense Secretary James Mattis. It’s been discussed that the IRGC meets the necessary legal index of a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) designation.
Alavi lists the criteria for FTO designation:
a) A foreign organization
b) Involved in terrorism or terrorist engagement, or retaining the ability and intention to engage in terrorism or launch terrorist activities
c) US nationals and/or national security is threatened through the organization’s terrorism or terrorist engagements.
Initiatives have also been instigated in both chambers of Congress, as the “The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Terrorist Designation Act”. It underscores how the IRGC meets the designation criteria of an FTO.
Tuesday’s revelations by the NCRI in Washington according to MEK-obtained information highlight the major role the IRGC plays in Iran. Alavi believes it is of the utmost necessity for the Trump administration to issue an FTO designation for the IRGC.
He writes, “Such a move will have the new US administration stand alongside its allies in the Middle East and signal to the Iranian people the true support they now enjoy in America.”