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US officially designates Iran’s Revolutionary Guards a terrorist group

US officially designates Iran’s Revolutionary Guards a terrorist group

US law already punishes US persons who deal with the IRGC with up to 20 years in prison

The United States officially designated Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization, according to a notice published in the US Federal Register on Monday.

US President Donald Trump said last week he would make the symbolic but unprecedented move, which immediately was condemned by Iran and created concerns about reprisal attacks on US forces.

The IRGC is in charge of Iran’s ballistic missile and nuclear programmes. It also is involved with the country’s banking and shipping industries. The new designation makes it easier to prosecute companies or people in the European Union that do business with Iran.

US law already punishes US persons who deal with the IRGC with up to 20 years in prison because of the group’s designation under the US Specially Designated Global Terrorist list, a different US sanctions programme.

Comprising an estimated 125,000-strong military with army, navy and air units, the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) also command the Basij, a religious volunteer paramilitary force, and control Iran’s ballistic missile programmes. The Guards’ overseas Quds forces have fought Iran’s proxy wars in the region.

The United States has already blacklisted dozens of entities and people for affiliations with the Guards, but not the organisation as a whole.

The long-tense relations between Tehran and Washington took a turn for the worse last May when Trump pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, reached before he took office, and reimposed sanctions.

Tehran retaliated by naming the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) as a terrorist organisation and the U.S. government as a sponsor of terror.

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