U.S. Designates Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a Foreign Terrorist Organization

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U.S. Designates Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a Foreign Terrorist Organization

On April 8, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo announced his intent to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including its Qods Force, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This designation is a step to counter Iran-backed terrorism around the world, and will take effect one week from April 8. 

In his remarks to the press, Secretary Pompeo noted that this is the first time that the United States has designated a part of another government as an FTO. He said, “We’re doing because the Iranian regime’s use of terrorism as a tool of statecraft makes it fundamentally different from any other government. This historic step will deprive the world’s leading state sponsor of terror the financial means to spread misery and death around the world.” The designation builds on the more than 970 Iranian individuals and entities that the Trump administration has already sanctioned. 

The Secretary cited a number of examples of IRGC-backed terrorist incidences, including the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing which killed 19 American service members and a foiled Qods Force plot to bomb a restaurant in Washington, D.C. in 2011. He asserted, however, that the IRGC’s actions are not limited to plots against foreigners, but are also hurting their own people. Secretary Pompeo emphasized, “We should not also forget the IRGC’s central role in the nationwide con artistry and corruption of the regime’s leaders which they perpetrate against the regime’s own people. Other governments and the private sector will now see more clearly how deeply the IRGC has enmeshed itself in the Iranian economy through both licit and illicit means.” He continued, “The leaders of Iran are racketeers, not revolutionaries. The Iranian people deserve better than to be governed by this cadre of hypocritical and corrupt officials.”

Secretary Pompeo concluded his remarks by urging our allies and partners around the world to take complementary action: “With this designation, we are sending a clear signal, a clear message to Iran’s leaders, including Qasem Soleimani and his band of thugs, that the United States is bringing all pressure to bear to stop the regime’s outlaw behavior. We ask that our allies and partners around the world do the same.”

Following the announcement, Secretary Pompeo joined Bret Baier on Special Report to discuss the designation. In his interview, Secretary Pompeo stressed, “So you can’t have peace, you can’t have stability, you can’t have security in the Middle East, without weakening the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. That’s what our sanctions today were aimed at doing, and we’re confident this increased pressure will save American lives and create more stability, more peace, more security throughout the Middle East.”

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