Iran To Blacklist US Army If It Declares Guards As Terrorists: Lawmaker

US expected to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guards as a foreign terrorist organization

US expected to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guards as a foreign terrorist organization

Iran threatened to add the U.S. army to its terrorism list if Washington designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist group.

The United States added Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) to its antiterrorism sanctions list in October 2017, but in the statement announcing the decision, the Department of Treasury emphasized that the development did not mean the USA designated the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization.

The designation might come as early as Monday, three USA officials told Reuters and the Wall Street Journal, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The officials told the WSJ that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House National Security Adviser John Bolton, who have repeatedly railed against Iran, are strong proponents of the designation.

The newspaper, citing unidentified officials, said President Donald Trump's administration will announce the decision as soon as Monday and that concerned defence officials were bracing for the impact.

The Pentagon declined to comment and referred queries to the State Department. Both in 2009 and in 2017-2018, IRGC and its affiliate organization played a major role in subduing mass protests and arresting thousands of people.

Iran has warned of a "crushing" response should the U.S. goes ahead with the designation.

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Such threats are particularly ominous for U.S. forces in places such as Iraq, where Iran-aligned Shi'ite militia are located in close proximity to USA troops.

Republican Senator Ben Sasse said the move would be an important step in the US's maximum pressure campaign against Tehran.

The Wall Street Journal was the first publication to report the expected designation.

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

At the moment the IRGC has already been sanctioned by Washington, as the Department of Treasury imposed sanctions on it in October 2017 under a 9/11-era executive order issued during the George W. Bush administration.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp was formed after the 1979 Islamic revolution with a mission to defend the clerical regime, in contrast to more traditional military units that protect borders. It has control over large sectors of the Iranian economy and has a huge influence in its political system.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, considers Iran an existential threat to his country, and has even made thinly veiled nuclear threats against Damascus and Tehran over IRGC's presence in Syria.

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