Published: Tue, April 09, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

The Trump Organization's two degrees of separation from Iran's Revolutionary Guard

The Trump Organization's two degrees of separation from Iran's Revolutionary Guard

"Today, I am formally announcing my Administration's plan to designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including its Qods Force, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act".

Jason Blazakis, a former State Department official who oversaw the process for labeling foreign terrorist organizations, said he believed the IRGC designation was done for purely symbolic and domestic political reasons that could have deadly consequences for USA troops.

In a statement read out at the Iranian Parliament, 255 lawmakers emphasized that the security of Iran and its Armed Forces are major red lines for the country's parliamentarians.

The IRGC was established after the 1979 revolution to protect the Islamic system in Iran - as opposed to regular actions by the military, such as guarding the border.

The US has already blacklisted dozens of entities and individuals affiliated with the IRGC, but not the entire force.

"A formal designation and its consequences may be new, but these IRGC butchers have been terrorists for a long time", Sen. "Iran's influence in the Middle East and its success in fighting against Islamic State are the reasons behind this designation", state TV said, without quoting a specific official.

"The IRGC's elite Quds Force was previously designated, but this did not dissuade Iran from using its funding, weapons, and personnel to engage in deadly violence around the world", McCaul said in a statement.

"The Middle East can not be more stable and peaceful without a weakened IRGC", the official said.

Former Under-Secretary of State and lead Iran negotiator, Wendy Sherman, said she anxious about implications for U.S. forces.

"Thank you for responding to another important request of mine, which serves the interests of our countries and countries of the region", he said.

IRGC is also the group responsible for capturing and interrogating ten US sailors after two of their boats entered Iranian waters in 2016.

Israel's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Intelligence Yisrael Katz also took to Twitter to praise Trump for the IRGC designation, saying it would "strengthen Israel's ability to fight Iranian aggression in Syria and space".

Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the designation "ends the facade that the IRGC is part of a normal military".

Iranian foreign minister has on Sunday said the USA officials who aimed to label the IRGC as foreign terror outfit wanted to "drag the USA into a quagmire" on behalf of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"There is an urgent need for Congress to rein Trump in on Iran before he can start a war that will devastate the U.S., Iran, and the Middle East for generations to come". No waivers or exceptions to the sanctions were announced, meaning USA troops and diplomats could be barred from contact with Iraqi or Lebanese authorities who interact with Guard officials or surrogates.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who faces a nail-biter reelection vote Tuesday, praised Mr. Trump as a "dear friend".

Iranian MP Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, the head of their national security committee, says that Iran would respond to the move by putting the U.S. military on the Iranian government's own "blacklist" of terror groups, right next to ISIS.

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