This is one step in President Trump’s campaign to address the issues that are not addressed in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and asserted in his speech on Friday that the agreement is no longer in line with the interests of the United States.
The IRGC is a military unit that supports the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. An official described the unit as central to Iran’s goal of “becoming the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror”.
Trump said that the sanctions are very much “overdue” and vowed to curb Iran’s support for terrorism as well as its support of proxies and militias.
He said that the IRGC has “hijacked” a very large part of the economy of Iran and pointed out that it “seized massive religious endowments to fund war and terror abroad”.
“I am authorizing the Treasury Department to further sanction the entire Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for its support for terrorism and to apply sanctions to its officials, agents and affiliates.”
Trump urged allies of the United States to do the same and accompany him in making sure that “strong actions” are employed to curb the Iranian regime’s destabilisation and its dangerous behaviour. He recommended “thorough sanctions outside the Iran deal that target the regime’s ballistic missile program in support for terrorism and all of its destructive activities, of which there are many”.
Iran has played, and continues to play, a significant role in the Syrian civil war where the IRGC is propping up Syrian President Bashar al Assad and his regime, as well as providing massive support to terrorist groups such as the Lebanese Hezbollah and Hamas in Palestinian territories.
Although the Treasury Department did not designate the IRGC itself as a terrorist organisation, it has sanctioned three Iran-based entities and one China-based entity for its support of the country’s military or its IRGC.
The Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin urged the private sector to take into account that the IRGC operates in a large part of the economy of Iran. He warned that those who carry out transactions with IRGC-controlled companies “do so at great risk”.
Despite threats made weeks ago about the United States abandoning the deal, Iran has claimed that it remains committed to the deal. The President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, confirmed his country’s commitment to the nuclear deal, and added that it will continue to be for as long as Tehran’s interests are served.
Ironically, he said that the terrorist IRGC will “continue its fight against regional terrorists”.
Trump’s move has been praised by many leaders. Iran’s rival Saudi Arabia said in a statement that the kingdom which once supported the deal, is concerned that it does not limit Iran’s proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, nor does it address its destabilisation of the Middle East and its support of terrorism.