President Donald Trump will declare the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organization sometime next week.
Trump will designate the IRGC, an elite branch of the Iranian military, a terrorist organization for its role in funding and supporting terrorism throughout the Middle East, according to a senior Trump administration official who spoke to the Financial Times Friday.
Trump will also apparently decertify the Iranian nuclear deal this same week, though he won’t announce the resumption of broad, major sanctions against the country. Instead, Trump will seek more targeted sanctions against the IRGC and other Iranian-backed groups in Syria and other nearby countries.
“It’s an integrated Iran strategy focused on neutralizing and rolling back Iran’s malign activities regionally and globally,” the senior administration official said.
Part of the administration’s frustration with Iran stems from Iranian involvement in the Syrian civil war and its support of Hezbollah, which in conjunction with Russia’s efforts in the region, have totally stymied the United States’ attempt to topple the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and bring about a new regime.
Trump faces a deadline of October 15 to recertify the Iranian nuclear deal, that is, to state publicly whether or not the Iranian regime is complying with the conditions laid out in the 2015 deal to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Supposing that Trump doesn’t meet the deadline, the buck will to pass to Congress to decide within 60 days whether to impose sanctions again. At this point, it seems unlikely Trump will rip up the nuclear deal, which he formerly called “the worst deal ever negotiated.”
Financial sanctions upcoming this week will target anyone who does business with the IRGC. The idea is to increase pressure on Iran in exchange for perhaps letting the deal continue, the Associated Press also reported.
Trump is examining the Iranian regime’s behavior is a whole, rather than narrowing in on nuclear ambitions, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed on Friday.
“The president isn’t looking at one piece of this,” Sanders said. “He’s looking at all of the bad behavior of Iran — not just the nuclear deal as bad behavior, but the ballistic missile testing, destabilizing of the region, number one state sponsor of terrorism, cyberattacks, illicit nuclear program.”
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