US declares Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terror entity

WASHINGTON: In an unprecedented move that will doubtless stir interest in New Delhi, the United States on Monday announced that it would formally designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organisation.
The designation marks the first time Washington has branded a foreign government official military entity a terrorist group, and is certain to engender thoughts in India to seek a similar designation for the Pakistani military, particularly its intelligence unit ISI, which New Delhi says has long been involved in terrorist activities in India.
The ISI has also been implicated legally in the United States in a court case that resulted in the conviction of Kashmiri activist Ghulam Nabi Fai. New Delhi has also pointed to ISI fingerprints on several terrorist attacks in India, most notably the 26/11 Mumbai carnage, which among other convictions resulted in the sentencing of ISI agent David Headley aka Daood Gilani.
The step to designate the Iranian military unit “recognises 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,” US President Donald Trump said in a statement that described the outfit as “the Iranian government’s primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign”.
“This 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,” he added.
The terrorist designation, which will take effect April 16, allows the Trump administration to seek criminal penalties against elements of the IRGC and foreign officials deemed to be aiding it. It will also allow Washington to ban travel to the United States for individuals associated with IRGC.
Following up the announcement, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said the designation makes clear that the IRGC is not just a behind-the-scenes enabler of terrorism but a direct participant in planning and carrying out terrorist attacks.
“This historic step will deprive the world’s leading state sponsor of terror the financial means to spread misery and death around the world,” he said, warning that businesses with a presence in Iran or engaged with its companies will have to take extra steps to ensure they are not violating US sanctions.
Influential voices within the US have long cautioned against such a move by Washington, warning about the fallout on US military presence in the middle-east, but the Trump dispensation is so over the heels with Israel’s hardline Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that it chose to ignore such advice. Netanyahu himself appeared to take some credit for the designation, while thanking Trump in a tweet.
“Thank you, my dear friend, President of the United States Donald Trump, for your decision to declare Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terror organisation,” Netanyahu wrote. “Thank you for responding to another one of my important requests, that serves our interests and the interests of regional countries.”
The Trump administration has adopted a hardball stand towards terrorism affecting the US and its close allies, including taking a tough stand towards Pakistan despite Washington needing Islamabad help in Afghanistan. President Trump has publicly castigated Pakistan and cut off all aid to the country.
Remarkably, Iran (as also Afghanistan) shares a tense relationship with Islamabad on the terrorism issue, accusing Pakistan of cross border terrorism. Pakistan-based sources and sponsors of cross-border terror funding are “well-known,” Iran has said, while warning that inaction against terror groups will undermine Iran-Pak ties.
Making sense of 2019 #ElectionswithtimesView Full Coverage

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *