IRGC Has Always Been Terrorist—Now It’s Official

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of Iran and its Quds Force are long experienced in terrorist activities. I gave that warning a year ago, to Ben Cohen in his Algemeiner article on the Islamic terror threat against the new Jerusalem embassy. Now that the Trump administration has formally designated the IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), it proves we were absolutely right to warn of such terror risks from the Islamic regime. And the FTO designation will help challenge them.


Only hours after the Trump administration issued its FTO news release, Iran’s Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, the IRGC commander-in-chief, threatened that “American troops in the Middle East will no longer be in peace if US labels IRGC as a terrorist group.” It was not the first time we have heard such threats from the regime, while IRGC remains a source of terror.


In last year’s notable example, on May 14, 2018, The Justice Student Movement, an affiliate of the IRGC and its student militia, the Basij, gave the Islamic world notice that it will reward $100,000 to “anyone who destroys the building of the US Embassy in Jerusalem.” The terror reward had been first released on the IRGC-run Fars News.


In another example from a decade earlier, in 2008, the IRGC-backed movement announced that rewards would be made available for the murders of Israeli officials. Those threats came during an anti-semitic gathering called Goliath.


The movement offered assassination bounties in the amounts of $400,000 for Ehud Barak, former Israeli PM; $300,000 for Meir Dagan, former Mossad director (died in 2016); and $300,000 for Amos Yadlin, former head of the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate. The news was later removed from the Official Website of Student Justice Student Union.


Such threats are not just bluster. The acts of terror that they call for are real, and have been quite deadly, over the past decades. The IRGC and its proxies have been involved in numerous mass slaughters against high-profile foreign targets, including the U.S. Embassy in Beirut in 1983, which killed 63 people; the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992, which killed 23; the AMIA Jewish center in the Argentine capital in 1994, killing 85; and the Khobar Towers residential complex serving U.S. military personnel in Saudi Arabia in 1996, killing 20.


And the threats are ongoing. On April 9, 2019, the day after the FTO designation for the IRGC was announced, readers in the Islamic world were told, “Trump's stupid decision issues permission to kill American soldiers”. That blunt murder incitement came from Iran’s hard-line Daily Kayhan, owned by Hossein Shariatmadari, the close confidant of the regime's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. It was presented as a bold headline in the middle of the front page.


And the threatening messages from the Islamic media keep coming, one after another. “IRGC makes the Persian Gulf to a graveyard for US forces”. That incitement claim by a hostile editor-in-chief was made in the Mullahs’ mainstream newspaper on April 10, 2019.


The IRGC is the most dangerous organization in the world. Now, the IRGC has been rightly placed on the U.S. State Department FTO list, along with 67 other terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Kata’ib Hizballah, and al-Ashtar Brigades.


The IRGC is a central headquarters of terror arms from Islamic Iran. The Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine, al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, Kata'ib Hezbollah, Popular Mobilization Forces, Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, Liwa Fatemiyoun, Liwa Zainebiyoun are just some of the Khomeinist regime’s terror proxies. They are all being trained, armed, equipped and empowered by the IRGC, to operate violently throughout the region.


To spread its regional reach far, the IRGC recruits Shia Afghans (mostly immigrants), Shia Hazara Pakistanis to provide and enable Liwa Fatemiyoun (founded in 2014), and Liwa Zainebiyoun (founded in 2015). The groups are funded, trained and equipped by the IRGC. Their terror operations are directed by the IRGC’s subsidiary Quds Force commanders. The groups are engaged in open warfare against United States Special Operations Forces (SOF) in Syria, along with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.


The regime provides the IRGC with massive weapons and equipment, such as mid-range and long-range missiles with warhead capability. The IRGC has also benefited by access to many millions of dollars from its corrupt reach deep into Iran's economy.


For many years, the terrorist organization has relied upon its status as an official security force of the Islamic state, to extort a kind of governmental immunity. But that safety net has now expired, after Trump’s decision.


The White House decision to now directly designate the IRGC as terrorist will provide tools to take them down. It was a brilliant move and has been long overdue. Like the ongoing dismantling of ISIS, this move will bring security to the globe, especially in the Middle East.


By Kaveh Taheri (Twitter: @TaheriKaveh), co-founder and chairman of the ICBHR.Com, is a Turkey-based Iranian Human Rights researcher and journalist who has worked exclusively on Middle East. Kaveh, who was a former political prisoner in Shiraz, had been sent to prison for his writings and statements on his Websites and Weblogs, in Iran and fled the country through Turkey to save his life.


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