In Iran, there is no greater powerhouse than the arm of Khamenei himself, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). This military giant controls a large amount of the economy, as well as being active in all of the regime’s wars, both internal and external. The IRGC is key in training various terrorist organizations and training militias that have been active in Iraq and Syria.
While the international community struggles with Iran regarding human rights and the number of executions, the IRGC continues business as usual. However, members of the regime and its supporters understand that if the IRGC is given a terrorist designation from the U.S., their ability to function as the military might of Iran would be in serious jeopardy.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) Foreign Affairs Committee underscored that recent sanctions by the U.S. need to “complimented by designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist entity.” The NCRI supports sanctions, seeing them as a means to weaken the regime further.
Internally, the domestic reality of the regime is one of protests and constantly trying to tamp down anyone calling for political and social change. The IRGC plays a major role in supporting the regime by addressing any potential threats, including a potential designation by the U.S.
The IRGC warned the U.S. on Monday that if the group was designated a terrorist organization, then this could be perilous for U.S. forces in the region. This veiled threat is one from a group that senses this designation would be a serious blow to its power and control.
U.S. officials indicated that President Trump’s administration was considering a proposal that could lead to the designation taking place. New sanctions have also been put in place on 18 individuals related to Iran’s ballistic missile program and other activities that are not related to the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran.
“Counting the Revolutionary Guards the same as terrorist groups and applying similar sanctions to the Revolutionary Guards is a big risk for America and its bases and forces deployed ink the region,” said Armed Forces Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Baqeri on the official news site of the Guards.
The IRGC is also fighting in Syria against militia groups that oppose President Bashar al-Assad. Iran recently fired missiles into eastern Syria, claiming that they were targeting bases of the Islamic State.
Yet, in spite of this tough talk, the international community seems to understand that stability in the region will not happen as long as the Iranian regime is in power.