Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Eye on Iran: Iran's Revolutionary Guards: The Supreme Leader's Military-Industrial Complex

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President Trump's declaration that Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is a foreign terrorist organization is the first time the United States government has designated a part of another country's military as that type of threat. In doing so, Mr. Trump took broad aim at a pillar of the Iranian state, which exerts enormous influence in politics and the economy as well as in Iran's internal and external military policies. Mr. Trump said the Revolutionary Guard Corps "actively participates in, finances and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft."

Standard Chartered STAN +0.83% PLC on Tuesday agreed to pay $1.1 billion to settle allegations it violated sanctions on Iran and other countries, marking the end of a long-running probe by U.S. and U.K. regulators that had weighed on the bank's share price. The U.K.-based bank took a $900 million provision earlier this year to help cover the settlement. It is one of the largest settlements paid by a bank over alleged sanctions violations, although it is far smaller than the $8.9 billion French bank BNP Paribas paid in penalties in 2014.

The U.S. Central Command, or CENTCOM, was labeled a terrorist group on Monday by Iran's Supreme National Security Council, according to state television. The council said in a statement, reported by Fars News Agency, that it had designated the Middle East-based military group and all of its forces as terrorists and also labeled the U.S. a "supporter of terrorism." The move came hours after the Trump administration labeled Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist organization.


United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) said that the move sends a warning not only to the IRGC itself, but also to those who may want to work with the terrorist entity. "The IRGC's designation as the terrorists they are should serve as a major warning to any business investing in Iran and will deny Tehran the financial assistance it needs to realize its hegemonic ambitions," said UANI chairman and former Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman and CEO Ambassador Mark Wallace in a statement. 

Iran's Supreme National Security Council is taking retaliatory steps after President Donald Trump announced on Monday that the U.S. will designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a 'foreign terrorist organization'. Iran now says it will designate U.S. Central Command as a 'terrorist organization'.  The IRGC designation will impose economic sanctions, visa restrictions and legal penalties against those who provide support to the group. Some former U.S. officials have warned against the imposing of sanctions the U.S., warning that it could move the U.S. closer to war with Iran. The Cipher Brief talked with the former National Intelligence Manager for Iran at ODNI, Norm Roule, about what the designation means and what other likely responses to expect from Iran.


The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), achieved in 2015 between Iran and the world powers, was neither a "second Holocaust" nor "a diplomatic success worthy of the Nobel Prize." Like Pharaoh's biblical dream, the agreement heralded "seven good years" to be followed by "seven very bad years." The JCPOA had some immediate benefits, mainly in the rollback of the Iranian nuclear program and the 10-year slowdown, but also dangerous drawbacks...


The U.S.-Iran crude oil sanctions merry-go-round is starting to spin again with Asian crude buyers fretting over whether they will be allowed to continue imports from Tehran. The U.S. waivers on imports by eight of Iran's top customers are due to expire early next month, and indications are that Washington may be considering a tougher line. 


Iran said on Tuesday it would press ahead with the launch of three satellites into orbit this year despite a U.S. move to curb Tehran's ballistic missile program which Washington says has been advanced by the satellite activity.  U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he would name Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, a move partly intended to curb the Islamic Republic's development of ballistic missiles. 

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has hit back at the United States following the Trump administration's announced decision to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a "terrorist group." Turning President Donald Trump's accusation against the elite branch of the Iranian military on its head, Rouhani said in a Tuesday address that the U.S. is the "leader of global terrorism." "You use terrorist groups against the peoples of the region and yet claim to have been fighting terrorism?" Rouhani asked, according to Iran's Fars News Agency. "You are at the top of terrorism in the entire world."


An Iranian diplomat who helped to negotiate the 2015 nuclear agreement will be Iran's ambassador to the United Nations, state media said Tuesday, filling a vacancy that had lasted five months. The appointment of the envoy, Majid Takht Ravanchi, 60, was considered a sign that Iran will try to preserve the agreement, even though the Trump administration has renounced it, reimposing onerous sanctions and taking other steps to isolate the country. 

Iran's leaders Tuesday warned the United States of serious repercussions after it designated the elite Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization. President Trump on Monday announced the decision against the Revolutionary Guard, Iran's most potent military force, describing the move as a way to "expand the scope and scale of our maximum pressure on the Iranian regime." The decision would allow the Trump administration to seek criminal penalties against elements of the Guard, one of the most revered institutions in Iran.

President Donald Trump's administration has named Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, the first time the U.S. has applied that designation to a part of another government. The Revolutionary Guard is officially the protector of the Islamic revolution and also wields significant economic might. Scholars estimate that the Guard controls from 20 percent to 40 percent of Iran's economy.

France called on Tuesday for avoiding any escalation of tensions in the Middle East region after U.S. President Donald Trump said he would name Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization. Asked about the U.S. move, the French foreign ministry replied in an electronic press briefing that France remained committed to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. "We urge people to avoid escalating tensions or destabilizing the region," the ministry added.

Politicians in Iran wore uniforms of the Revolutionary Guards in parliament on Tuesday in protest at the US decision to classify the nation's military wing as a foreign terrorist organisation. There were chants of "Death to America" as the president, Hassan Rouhani, declared the force was "dearer than ever in the hearts of the Iranian nation" and announced countermeasures against the US.


On April 8, the Trump administration designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Iran's elite military force, as a foreign terrorist organization. The reaction in Tehran was stern and swift. From  Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who called the designation evidence of American "rancor" and helplessness against the IRGC, to members of the Iranian parliament who put on IRGC uniforms to show solidarity with the organization, the authorities in Iran have leaped to show unity in the face of a historic U.S. decision.


The media experts who help assist Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif decided that the best narrative for Iran, in the wake of the US designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, was to blame Israel. Blaming Israel and Netanyahu specifically for the listing has now been Zarif's main talking point within the last day.

Moscow will host a trilateral meeting today between the foreign affairs committees of the parliaments of Turkey, Russia and Iran. The meeting is being held for the first time at the parliamentary level at Turkey's suggestion to contribute to regional peace, security and stability, said a statement by the Turkish parliamentary committee.

Houthi rebels fired a ballistic missile at a populated area near Dhalea in southern Yemen on Tuesday evening. The rocket missed its target and fell over a farm in the Sanaa area, north of the province of Dhalea, and caused significant damage. No casualties were reported. There has been fierce clashes in northern Dhalea over the past two weeks between the Iran-backed Houthis and pro-government forces, with fighting taking place on four fronts.


Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Tuesday that Washington's decision to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guards a terrorist group "could have negative repercussions on Iraq and the region". "Iraq tried to stop the decision," Abdul Mahdi told reporters during his weekly news conference, adding that Iraq would use all of its efforts to bring calm to the region since it maintains good relations with both Tehran and Washington.

As the Trump administration's decision to designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a "foreign terrorist organization" comes into action, eyes ought to be on areas of common influence, where both Iran and the United States are present and active, whether politically or militarily. And while countries such as Lebanon, Syria and Afghanistan are emerging as potential fields of confrontation - directly or by proxy - Iraq remains perhaps the most ripe and ready of fronts given the US military presence...

Tehran has been able to capitalize on sectarian ties with some Iraqi parties and armed groups with an eye toward gaining an advantage over the United States and perhaps even Iran's archrival Saudi Arabia, which has been drawing closer to Baghdad in the past two years. Now Iran is working to build relationships with Iraq's tribal leaders in an attempt to gain influence and ensure a greater footing in the country. Iran's and Iraq's central governments are largely run by Shiite Muslims, while Saudi Arabia's government is run by Sunnis.


Turkey on Tuesday condemned the US move to designate Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards a "terrorist group", saying the decision would create "instability" in the region. Washington's move against the Revolutionary Guards was the first time that the United States has branded part of a foreign government a terrorist group. "These kinds of decisions will pave the way for instability in our region," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara.

Eye on Iran is a periodic news summary from United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) a program of the American Coalition Against Nuclear Iran, Inc., a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Eye on Iran is not intended as a comprehensive media clips summary but rather a selection of media elements with discreet analysis in a PDA friendly format. For more information please email

United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) is a non-partisan, broad-based coalition that is united in a commitment to prevent Iran from fulfilling its ambition to become a regional super-power possessing nuclear weapons.  UANI is an issue-based coalition in which each coalition member will have its own interests as well as the collective goal of advancing an Iran free of nuclear weapons.

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