WASHINGTON — The Trump administration labeled part of Iran’s military as a terrorist organization on Monday, a designation almost certain to increase tensions in the Middle East while providing no clear benefit.
The designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization means U.S. forces will be regularly in close proximity to a “terrorist group” in areas including on the ground in Iraq and at sea in the Persian Gulf.
It goes into effect in one week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters Monday morning.
Technically, the designation means persons dealing with IRGC — such as the Baghdad government — could face unspecified criminal charges from the U.S.
Pentagon officials have opposed such a designation because of increased dangers to U.S. forces in the region.
They said Monday that the status quo remains, with no change in force readiness status nor rules of engagement.
“As a matter of policy, we do not discuss adjustments to force protection levels or measures for operational security reasons,” Cdr. Rebecca Rebarich, a Pentagon spokesperson, told TMN. “As always, DoD has taken prudent measures to ensure the safety of our forces around the world, and maintain our readiness to carry out our missions. We have no credible information to suggest there is an imminent threat.”
Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, IRGC commander, said his forces will now target U.S. forces as it now targets ISIS. “If (the Americans) make such a stupid move, the U.S. Army and American security forces stationed in West Asia will lose their current status of ease and serenity,” Jafari said, according to the semi-official FARS News Agency.
Various U.S. administrations had designated individuals with the IRGC, as well as other persons and entities, as supporters of terrorism and human rights abuses; sanctions have been applied to them.
This is the first time the U.S. has labelled another nation’s military as a terrorist organization.
“If you are doing business with the IRGC, you will be bankrolling terrorism,” President Donald Trump said Monday morning.