Iran’s lawmakers showed up to work today wearing full military uniforms in defiance of the United States after the White House decided to designate the country’s elite fighting force as a foreign terrorist organization.
Chanting “Death to America” the speaker of Iran’s Parliament called the designation the “climax of stupidity and ignorance,” while the nation’s ruling cleric said the plot against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps would backfire.
“You think if you speak against the Revolutionary Guard you can trigger a difference in Iran?” asked Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani. “You think the guards’ popularity will decrease? Be aware that, from today, the popularity of the guards in the hearts of the Iranian nation and in the region will be more than ever.”
Following the White House designation, Iran state TV called America a “state sponsor of terrorism” and moved to label the United States Central Command, CENTCOM, as a terrorist organization.
With US troops in nearby Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, also known as IRGC, warned US troops could now be potential targets.
“Be aware that, and of course you already know that, since last year we have achieved missiles and weapons that you couldn’t even imagine,” warned Rouhani. “So you can’t stop our military might.”
The US Treasury Department already had more than 970 Iranian individuals and entities on its sanctions list. But this is the first time America has labeled another nation’s military a terrorist group.
“We’re doing it because the Iranian regime’s use of terrorism as a tool of statecraft makes it fundamentally different from any other government,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department Monday.
The administration says it’s singling out the IRGC because of the para-military’s primary role in the regime’s decades-long global terrorist campaign.
“The IRGC masquerades as a legitimate military organization, but none of us should be fooled,” warned Pompeo. “It regularly violates the laws of armed conflict. It plans, organizes and executes terror campaigns all around the world.”
Randy Singer’s Virginia law firm handles several cases on behalf of Iran terror victims.
“Our clients have been taken hostage in Yemen by the Houthi rebels who are funded by the IRGC,” Singer told CBN News. “Our clients have been taken hostage in Iraq by Shia militias funded by IRGC. Our clients have been subject of suicide bombing attacks funded by IRGC, so this means a lot to clients, both in the court cases, but also more importantly, to people that might be subject to terrorist attacks in the future.
With hundreds of thousands of members, the Revolutionary Guard oversees the country’s ballistic missiles and nuclear programs as well as having its hand in lucrative businesses, including Iran’s banking, shipping and oil industries.
“The leaders of Iran are racketeers, not revolutionaries,” Pompeo said during his brief remarks. “The Iranian people deserve better than to be governed by this cadre of hypocritical and corrupt officials.”
Singer says targeting the group will hopefully deprive the world’s leading state sponsor of terror of the financial means to spread its reign of evil.
“This is trying to dry up the money source for the IRGC, they spend about a billion to two billion dollars a year funding terrorism, and the idea here is that we are putting on notice companies that deal with them, that if you deal with them, you are bankrolling terrorism as well,” Singer added.
The designation means any IRGC assets in the United States can be frozen. It bans any American from doing business with the group.
“Businesses and banks around the world now have a clearer duty to ensure that companies with which they conduct financial transactions are not connected to the IRGC in any material way,” Pompeo said.
The designation takes effect next week.
“With this designation the Trump administration is simply recognizing a basic reality,” said Pompeo. “The IRGC will take its rightful place on the same list as terror groups it supports: Lebanese Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Khatib Hezbollah, among others, all of which are already designated as foreign terrorist organizations.”