Ramifications of adding the IRGC to terrorist list for Iran, US

Persia Digest – An expert on international affairs in Tehran believes: “The objective of Trump’s administration in placing the IRGC on the list of terrorist groups is to sanction it. Although this decision targets the IRGC forces, but the US is not at this stage yet and will not do this.”

The US placed the IRGC on its list of terrorist organizations yesterday. Accordingly, all financial and economic links to the entity will be considered a terrorist act. Iran’s Supreme National Security Council also reciprocated by calling the US a “State sponsor of terrorism” and declared the United States Central Command (USCENTCOM or CENTCOM) and all affiliated entities “terrorist organizations”.

What are the ramifications of this move for Iran and the US?

University professor and expert on international affairs in Tehran, Dr Ali Bigdeli, told Persia Digest (PD) in an interview: “The decision by the US Administration to place the IRGC on its list of terrorist organizations does not require congressional approval; because, the US President can issue executive orders. Accordingly, the next president has the power to cancel such an order in the same way Trump cancelled the JCPOA nuclear deal.”

Speaking about the possibility of strikes by the US Navy on IRGC vessels in the Persia Gulf, he said: “Although Trump has put the IRGC on the list of terrorist organizations, this is more inclined towards sanctions. The US can now target the IRGC, but it will not do so. Due to their enmity with the IRGC, they took this extreme step beyond sanctioning this military force.”

The professor reiterated: “Although the US Administration has the power to issue such an order to its military, it is not at this stage yet and will not engage with the IRGC.”

On the efforts of Democrats to subject a military engagement against Iran to congressional approval, Bigdeli remarked on the possibility of war with Iran: “From when George W Bush was in office, sanctioning the IRGC was on the agenda, but there was no talk of terrorism. Obama and Clinton voted for this as senators, but Obama never followed-up on this during his tenure in office due to his indecision on Iran.”

He added: “Initially, Trump also only mentioned sanctioning the IRGC. But, eventually, he took the harshest decision. Nevertheless, their aim is not military confrontation but sanctions. Under the circumstances, IRGC commanders must refrain from reacting until the atmosphere is a little more subdued; because, if any action is taken against US military bases in the region, we will witness a confrontation. Discussions are currently being conducted in the US about how to react if the IRGC takes such a measure. Considering Iran’s domestic and regional circumstances, a reaction by the IRGC is not expedient at this time.”