US could designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard a 'terrorist organisation'

US could designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard a 'terrorist organisation'
2 min read
08 February, 2017
A proposal to designate Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard as a 'terrorist group' is being discussed by US government officials, as Washington-Tehran relations worsen further.
The Revolutionary Guard are a formidable force in Iran [AFP]
US officials are considering whether to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a "terrorist organisation", according to an anonymous government source speaking to Reuters.

Government agencies are said to be discussing a proposal on the issue, which analysts believe could lead to further destabilisation in countries such as Iraq and Syria, where Revolutionary Guards forces are supporting government forces

If approved, it would worsen already tense relations between the Washington and Tehran, and potentially lead to domestic upheaval in Iran, which would undoubtedly embolden conservative forces in both countries.

"The new administration regards Iran as the clearest danger to US interests, and they've been looking for ways to turn up the heat," the source told Reuters.

Although some branches of the Revolutionary Guard are already blacklisted by the US - such as the overseas Quds Force - the proposal would see far-reaching sanctions against Iran's largest and most powerful branch of its security forces.

Groups such as Hizballah that are allegedly financed by Iran are also designated as terrorist groups by the US.

Such actions would likely trigger a hostile response from Iran and could impact on a nuclear deal with the US and other world powers.

Tensions are already tense after the US added Iran to a list of nationalities banned from entering the country, while Tehran fired a ballistic missile which Washington said breaches the nuclear agreement.

"The Iranians will not take any US action lying down," said the official. "They may not act quickly or in the open, but there is a danger of an escalating conflict." 

Reuters said it had not seen the proposal but that it could take the form of an executive order from President Donald Trump instructing the US state department to take action against the paramilitary organisation.

However, the Trump administration has rejected similar proposals, including one that could also designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard runs parallel to the country's conventional military and is strongly aligned to conservative groups in the country, many of whom reject the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, including the US.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard is also heavily invested in businesses inside and outside the country.