New revelations highlight need to blacklist Iran’s Revolutionary Guards
Senior U.S. officials are weighing the possibility of labeling Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization. Members of Congress are introducing legislation calling for such a measure, hallmarking a significant overhaul of the U.S.-Iran policy.
Senator Ted Cruz and Congressman Mario Díaz-Balart have proposed a new bill seeking a long overdue measure after too many people have been killed and injured through IRGC-sponsored terrorist activities. This entity, enjoying the utmost support of Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei, advocates an ideology of destruction against the West.
The regime in Iran, through the IRGC, expanded its sphere of influence and foothold across the Middle East during the course of Obama's presidency.
During the past three weeks, however, the Trump administration has completely changed the course of U.S. foreign policy in regards to Iran.
The ball is now in Iran's court, in the Tehran war room, if you will, and rest assured the mullahs have come to understand the determined nature of the new White House.
In the midst of these tensions, the Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) delivered new information showing a significant expansion of terrorist training camps and activities, all supervised by the IRGC. The NCRI, a conglomerate of Iranian dissident groups, held a press conference in Washington this past Tuesday to put forward evidence showing that the IRGC has stepped up such efforts and calling on the Trump administration to designate the entity as a foreign terrorist organization.
This comes after a week of numerous reports indicating major discussions among senior Trump administration officials evaluating such an action, unprecedented after eight years of a failed Obama-led appeasement policy with Iran's mullahs.
This information, obtained by the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) social network inside the country, "identified 14 of what are dozens of IRGC training centers, and said eight of them are terrorist training operations in and around Tehran," according to Washington Examiner.
Alireza Jafarzadeh, deputy director of the Washington Office of the NCRI, delivered the presentation and emphasized that the IRGC has been endangering U.S. forces and interests across the region through a variety of measures, including "contributing to the rise" of Daesh (ISIS/ISIL).
The Quds Force, known as the IRGC's extraterritorial wing, is spearheading the training operations, sending Shiite militias to enhance Iran's involvement in Syria and the Popular Mobilization Units in Iraq. The IRGC, in general, is known to also heavily support the Lebanese Hezb'allah and Yemen's Houthis.
Recent reports indicate that dozens of Houthi militias and five IRGC members were killed in a series of air strikes targeting these Iran-backed proxies in northern Yemen.
"The IRGC is actually the entity that runs the whole show when it comes to terrorism," despite the initiatives being managed and directed by the Quds Force, Jafarzadeh added. "You cannot do the separation. You cannot have the Quds Force designated as a terrorist entity but not the IRGC."
The IRGC terrorist designation enjoys bipartisan support in Congress and the move is already considered quite possible under the Trump administration.
The IRGC was established following the 1979 revolution and has been significantly destabilizing the entire Middle East ever since.
Various IRGC aspects have been designated as terrorist entities from 1990 forward, including a slate of various commanders and branches. Previous U.S. administrations had even blacklisted Quds Force chief Qassem Suleimani, in moves similar to actions taken against other known terrorists such Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Unfortunately, despite U.S. forces being present in Iraq and its planes flying throughout the region's airspace, Suleimani has been able to travel to Russia, Syria, and Iraq.
The possible designation of the entire IRGC is considered to have the potential of acting as a nail in the coffin of the mullahs. If realized, it is expected that the Trump administration will follow through and implement the necessary actions.
Parallel to the IRGC's destructive role in the Middle East, it is important to clip its wings to bring an end to Iran's nuclear program and ballistic missile aspirations, and also curb its drive of domestic crackdown and human rights violations in Iran.
After Obama betrayed the Iranian people back in 2009 and bent backward to please the mullahs in Tehran, the blacklisting of the IRGC will place America under the Trump administration on the right side of history in enhancing peace and stability in the Middle East.
Shahriar Kia is a political analyst and member of the Iranian opposition, the People's Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI, also known as the MEK). He graduated from North Texas University.