Iranian Rev Guards to be Labeled "Terrorists"

The Washington Post reports this morning that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards - a key component of Iran's internal and external security forces - are to be designated a "terrorist group:"

The United States has decided to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, the country's 125,000-strong elite military branch, as a "specially designated global terrorist," according to U.S. officials, a move that allows Washington to target the group's business operations and finances.

The Bush administration has chosen to move against the Revolutionary Guard Corps because of what U.S. officials have described as its growing involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as its support for extremists throughout the Middle East, the sources said.

The decision follows congressional pressure on the administration to toughen its stance against Tehran, as well as U.S. frustration with the ineffectiveness of U.N. resolutions against Iran's nuclear program, officials said.
Since the Iranian revolution in 1979, the Revolutionary Guards have helped the ruling clerics maintain iron fisted control over the population at home while also deploying some units abroad to carry out political assassinations - mostly against Iranian expatriots who speak and write against the regime.

Recently, the crack Qods Force of the Rev Guards has been operating in Iraq, assisting the Shia militias with attacks on Americans. There is also some evidence that the Qods Force has facilitated meetings on Iranian territory of al-Qaeda leaders.

This may well help America gain some allies from the business and merchant community in Iran (and the exiles outside of Iran) who have been "muscled out" of business operations by the IRG. These same elements helped to bring down the Shah. They are a powerful class in Iran that it would be well to cultivate.