Foreign policy observers said the Trump administration is sowing the seeds of war on Monday after it designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard a “foreign terrorist organization.”
The new desingation for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told media, “an important step to counter the Iranian regime’s terrorism.” The IRGC, which is a branch of the country’s armed forces, merely “masquerades as a legitimate military organization,” he added.
The White House acknowledged that it was an “unprecedented” move, as it’s the first time the U.S. has ever slapped the designation on part of another government.
The IRGC, as ABC News explained,
is already designated as a terrorist entity under the U.S. Treasury Department—a move that President Trump made in October 2018. Designating the IRGC on the State Department’s foreign terrorist organization does not impose additional economic penalties, but it makes it a federal crime to do business with the IRGC or its leadership.
The New York Times also reported:
Top Pentagon and C.I.A. officials oppose the designation, which they argue would allow hard-line Iranian officials to justify deadly operations against Americans overseas, especially Special Operations units and paramilitary units working under the C.I.A.
An interagency lawyers group concluded the designation was too broad, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, pushed for it, said a Trump administration official.
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On Twitter, Pompeo’s Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, suggested that neocons like Bolton were behind the move, and that it served as gift to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: