• The Challenge of Iran Is an Opportunity for the US and Europe

    The level of instability present in the Gulf today is unsustainable, dangerous, and undoubtedly the creation of an increasingly desperate Iranian regime. Tehran has long favored asymmetric attacks that are difficult to factually tie to them or assaults conducted through proxies. 

    Until the most recent shoot down of an unmanned US aircraft on June 20, Iran had achieved a certain level of success in creating some doubt as to who was behind the recent attacks on six oil tankers in the Gulf and an oil pipeline and civilian airport in Saudi Arabia. The attacks, conducted either by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) or proxy Houthi rebels in Yemen, continue to destabilize the region and pressurize oil prices.

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  • No One Wins a War in the Gulf, but Iran Would Be the Biggest Loser

    Despite repeated assertions by regime officials in Tehran and key members of the Trump administration regarding a mutual desire to avoid war, tensions in the region continue to rise.

    With each side seemingly determined to push the other up to, but not beyond poorly defined red lines, an increasingly volatile situation is developing. Given the poor state of diplomatic relations between the US and Iran and an inability of the two nations to communicate at the military to military level beyond the most basic tactical contacts, the opportunity for even a minor miscalculation to develop into a much more serious strategic incident remains disturbingly high.

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  • Former State Broadcaster Head Does Tell-All Interview About the IRGC

    While growing US-led pressure on Iran is helping unify the Iranian polity around the flag of nationalism, it is also exposing fault lines among the ruling elite as they search for the key causes of the Islamic Republic’s failures forty years after its birth. 

    In a rare hour-long interview on May 1, the former head of Iran’s state broadcaster Mohammad Sarafraz spoke publicly about his time at the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). He was appointed director general of IRIB by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in 2014, after serving as the head of its 24-hour English-language network PressTV for several years, until he was prematurely replaced in 2016. Sarafraz’s short-lived tenure at IRIB contrasts sharply with that of his predecessor who directed the state broadcaster for a decade.

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  • IRGC Change of Command Signals Tehran’s New Offensive Approach

    In a sudden announcement on April 21, Iran’s Supreme Leader appointed General Hossein Salami, the former deputy commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), as the elite force’s new head. 

    Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had extended the tenure of the former IRGC top commander, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, by another three years in 2017 after he had served for a decade. The decision to replace him with Salami was unexpected and premature.

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  • Will Canada Also Designate the IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Entity?

    Following the Trump administration’s decision to label Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist entity, renewed pressure is likely from members of the Conservative party and other Iran hawks in Canada for the government of Justin Trudeau to follow suit.

    Already, Canada, like the US, has designated the Quds Force of the IRGC, an elite branch responsible for extraterritorial operations, as a terrorist organization. However, there has been a persistent effort by Canadian conservatives to label the entirety of the IRGC as a foreign terrorist group.

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  • The Trump Administration’s Terrorist Label Is Strengthening the IRGC

    The recent White House designation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist group is the latest extension of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” policy toward Iran. Yet this policy, aimed at containing Iran’s regional role and limiting its advanced missile program, has backfired, strengthening the status of the IRGC in Iranian domestic politics and further legitimizing its regional and missile activities in the view of many Iranians.

    The result is the opposite of the Trump administration’s announced goal in withdrawing in May 2018 from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), to reach a “better” nuclear deal. Re-imposed draconian sanctions were meant to challenge the value of the country’s regional policy in domestic politics, weaken Iran’s deterrence strength and push Tehran to accept political and security trends...

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  • I Know You’re a Terrorist, but What Am I?

    The administration of President Donald Trump finally on April 8—countering the advice of the United States’ own military and intelligence mandarins—named Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organization.

    As the White House bragged in its statement, it was the first time that an entire branch of another government was named a foreign terrorist organization. Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), chaired by President Hassan Rouhani, quickly countered by naming US Central Command (CENTCOM), which oversees American forces in the greater Middle East, a terrorist...

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  • United States Designates Iran's IRGC a Foreign Terrorist Organization

    The Trump administration on April 8 designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist organization—the first time a country’s military has received such a status.

    US President Donald Trump said in a statement that the designation “sends a clear message to Tehran that its support for terrorism has serious consequences.” The statement added that the Trump administration “will continue to increase financial pressure and raise the costs on the Iranian regime for its support of terrorist activity until it abandons its malign and outlaw behavior.”

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  • Q&A: Nader Uskowi on the IRGC’s ‘Temperature Rising’

    Nonresident senior fellow Nader Uskowi talks about his new book, Temperature Rising: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Wars in the Middle East. Uskowi discusses with IranSource the role of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) inside Iran and the Middle East, what the West is getting wrong about the elite force, and the challenges the IRGC is facing today.

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  • Trump’s Iran Policy: From the Art of the Deal to the Mirage of Regime Change

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo used his first speech in his new position on May 21, 2018, to send a message to the Iranian leadership and people.

    Pompeo laid out twelve demands including ending Iran’s ballistic missiles development, halting support for Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian groups including Hamas, allowing nuclear inspectors "unqualified access to all sites throughout the country,” shutting down Iran’s uranium enrichment program, ending involvement in Syria and Iraq and disarming Shi’ite militias.

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