A proposal that could designate Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization is under review in Washington. Several U.S. government agencies have been consulted about such a proposal, according to officials, and if it is implemented, it would add to the measures already imposed by the U.S. on individuals and entities linked to the IRGC. Officials indicate that the proposal would likely come in the form of an executive order. Last week, Reuters reported that officials were debating the proposal, but a decision appears to have been indefinitely postponed.
The IRGC is the powerful security entity of the Iranian regime, mandated to protect the country's Islamic nature, and is therefore, heavily involved in the economy and military activity. Although denying involvement in terrorism, the IRGC has been linked to the situations in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
Although some argue that the designation will cause destabilization in the region, provoking further regional conflicts, the U.S. previously blacklisted dozens of entities and people affiliated with the IRGC. The U.S. Treasure designated the IRGC’s Quds Force, the elite unit in charge of its operations abroad, “for its support of terrorism” in 2007.
The 2015 Nuclear Deal may be affected, as well. President Trump believes the deal gave Iran too much, and didn’t place tight enough restrictions on Iran. The deal lifted economic sanctions in return for Iran curbing its nuclear objectives. However, an FTO designation would discourage foreign investment in Iran’s economy, because the IRGC is heavily involved in major sectors.
A senior U.S. official involved in a review of Iran policy said, “The new administration regards Iran as the clearest danger to U.S. interests, and they’ve been looking for ways to turn up the heat.”
However, ‘heating things up’ may backfire, giving the Iranian regime reason to increase their exportation of terrorism and perhaps take action against the U.S.-backed or American forces battling Islamic State in Iraq. It might be used as a reason to ratchet up their nuclear ambitions as part of a larger defense plan against potential attacks from other countries.
“The Iranians will not take any U.S. action lying down,” said the official. “They may not act quickly or in the open, but there is the danger of an escalating conflict.”
Reportedly, the Iranian regime is dealing with corruption and fraud from within the country. A member of the Parliamentary Plan and Budget Commission said, “There is no will to eradicate corruption. Moreover, fraud is also practiced in some sectors.”
The clerical regime “has plundered the Iranian people’s wealth and squandered the country’s assets on nuclear projects and the export of terrorism, fundamentalism and war in the region. It has destroyed the country’s economy and brought about poverty, unemployment and inflation for the people of Iran,” according to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei spoke about the future of the regime and its forces, last September. He called the IRGC a “great divine gift”. He also said, “Economic and security influence is of course dangerous and has significant consequences, but the enemy’s political and cultural influence is a much greater threat and all need to be watchful.”
During that same meeting, Khamenei stated that the “(IRGC) is not an inhibited organization busy with its own administrative affairs, but a cognizant observer that is attentive to domestic and external issues. IRGC intelligence ought to constantly observe the issues and identify the threats.”
The NCRI continues to point to the IRGC’s significant role in the instability of the region, and back a policy of tougher sanctions, as well as blacklisting the IRGC as part of the Trump administration’s Iranian policy.