News and Commentary

Trounced By Trump, Iran Labels U.S. Forces As Terrorist Group

On Monday, after President Trump designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a “foreign terrorist organization,” the theocratic regime on Iran, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, retaliated by naming U.S. Central Command a terrorist group, according to Iran’s Fars News Agency.

The Hill reported, “The council, headed by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, added that Trump’s move poses a ‘major threat to regional and international peace and security and grossly violates the rules of international law.'” That move was apparently prompted by a request to do so in a letter from Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to Rouhani.

Trump had stated, “This action will significantly expand the scope and scale of our maximum pressure on the Iranian regime. If you are doing business with the IRGC, you will be bankrolling terrorism.” The Wall Street Journal reported, “The designation also allows the U.S. to subject IRGC officials and those who provide support to the organization to travel restrictions and lets U.S. prosecutors bring charges against those who provide ‘material support’ to the IRGC.”

Prior to the announcement from the Trump administration, IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafa huffed, “If the Americans do such stupidity and put our national security at risk, the U.S. Army and security forces in the West Asia region will not enjoy today’s peace.” The Journal noted that on Sunday, 255 out of 290 Iranian parliamentarians threatened, “We will answer any action taken against this force with a reciprocal action. So the leaders of America, who themselves are the creators and supporters of terrorists in the region, will regret this inappropriate and idiotic action.”

The history of the IRGC is replete with connections to terrorism; Nathan Sales, the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism, warned that engaging with the IRGC could trigger a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

The State Department has written of the Quds Force, which is part of the IRGC:

The Qods Force, a branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC; aka Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps), provides material support to the Taliban, Lebanese Hizballah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC).

The Qods Force is the Iranian regime’s primary instrument for providing lethal support to the Taliban. The Qods Force provides weapons and financial support to the Taliban to support anti-U.S. and anti-Coalition activity in Afghanistan. Since at least 2006, Iran has arranged frequent shipments of small arms and associated ammunition, rocket propelled grenades, mortar rounds, 107mm rockets, plastic explosives, and probably man-portable defense systems to the Taliban. This support contravenes Chapter VII UN Security Council obligations. UN Security Council resolution 1267 established sanctions against the Taliban and UN Security Council resolutions 1333 and 1735 imposed arms embargoes against the Taliban. Through Qods Force material support to the Taliban, we believe Iran is seeking to inflict casualties on U.S. and NATO forces.

The Qods Force has had a long history of supporting Hizballah’s military, paramilitary, and terrorist activities, providing it with guidance, funding, weapons, intelligence, and logistical support. The Qods Force operates training camps for Hizballah in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley and has reportedly trained more than 3,000 Hizballah fighters at IRGC training facilities in Iran. The Qods Force provides roughly $100 to $200 million in funding a year to Hizballah and has assisted Hizballah in rearming in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

In addition, the Qods Force provides lethal support in the form of weapons, training, funding, and guidance to select groups of Iraqi Shi’a militants who target and kill Coalition and Iraqi forces and innocent Iraqi civilians.

In August 2017, Brig. Gen. Ismail Ghaani, the deputy commander of the Quds Force, bragged that his operatives had killed more Americans than U.S. troops had killed Iranian fighters.