IRGC Designation

  • The IRGC Should Be Held Accountable for Rights Abuses

    Up until recently, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) was an organization relatively unknown to the American public. However, with the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran threatening to boil over into actual military confrontation, and the IRGC’s announcements of downing an American drone and seizing oil tankers, the increasing references to this group in the mainstream news and on social media may soon make it a household name. 

    But what is the IRGC? While currently there is an intense focus on the Guards’ military actions on behalf of Iranian state interests in the Persian Gulf and its extraterritorial reach in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere in the region, the IRGC is an entity that goes far beyond a...

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  • IRGC Designation: A Lost Opportunity to Weaken Hezbollah in Lebanon

    Designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) stirred panic in Lebanon. Hezbollah’s allies in the Lebanese government—such as the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) and Amal—worried they too would soon bear the brunt of American sanctions. But US officials reassured a hastily dispatched delegation of the group’s allies last week that despite the more aggressive stance on Iran, they would suffer no consequences for empowering its primary proxy. In doing so, the United States lost an opportunity to weaken Hezbollah through deterring its allies. 

    Because Hezbollah has enmeshed itself in almost every level of Lebanese government and society, countering its growing strength without harming the integrity of the Lebanese state remains a challenge. Differing but insufficient solutions to this dilemma exist. ...

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  • Oman Hedges Its Bets on Tehran and the Trump Administration

    As the Trump administration steps up pressure on Iran, much attention has focused on unprecedented moves such as the April 15 designation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization.

    However, a more concrete and perhaps effective challenge to the IRGC may come from an unlikely source: Iran’s usually neutral if not friendly neighbor, Oman. 

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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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