The US government has stepped up pressure on Iran by designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (‘IRGC’), and its Qods Force, as terrorist entities, adding them to the Foreign Terrorist Organisation (‘FTO’) list.
The move, effective as of 15 April, creates authority for the White House to impose numerous new sanctions on the Iranian military and related companies and individuals. It is the first time that a military organisation belonging to a nation state has been designated in this manner.
The US Department of State said: ‘[I]n recent years, IRGC Qods Force terrorist planning has been uncovered and disrupted in many countries, including Germany, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Kenya, Bahrain, and Turkey,’ that ‘the IRGC Qods Force in 2011 plotted a brazen terrorist attack against the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. on American soil,’ and that in September 2018, ‘a U.S. federal court found Iran and the IRGC liable for the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing which killed 19 Americans.’
The State Department also said that the IRGC ‘continues to provide financial and other material support, training, technology transfer, advanced conventional weapons, guidance, or direction to a broad range of terrorist organizations, including Hizballah, Palestinian terrorist groups like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Kata’ib Hizballah in Iraq, al-Ashtar Brigades in Bahrain, and other terrorist groups in Syria and around the Gulf.
‘This new FTO designation builds upon previous sanctions, sends a clear message to the world that the Administration is committed to exerting maximum pressure on the Iranian regime, and shines a spotlight on those in the IRGC who engage in terrorist activities.’