U.S. imposes sanctions on Iran's IRGC

Iran says designating IRGC a terror group 'a terror act' in itself

Trump is also expected to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization, as he rolls out a broader, more hawkish U.S. strategy on Iran.

"We will not allow Washington to endanger the region's security by spreading proxy wars and terrorism", Hatami said, adding that labeling the IRGC a terror group would be a "terrorist act" in itself, according to the Mehr news agency.

Iran has many ways to do that, as it supports or sponsors forces opposed to the United States and USA interests in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere.

As the Trump administration has criticized Iran for failing to live up to the "spirit" of the nuclear deal worked out with world powers, under which Iran agreed to scale back its contentious nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief, the IRGC's involvement in covert operations, arms smuggling, and other efforts aimed at expanding Iran's influence overseas has come under more scrutiny. "If they do, Iran's reaction would be firm, decisive and crushing".

The Ministry's sanctions list also included Iran's China-based import export company Wuhan Sanjan Company, including Iranian Revolutionary Guards, as well as ┼×ahid Alamolhoda industry (SAI), which has played an important role in Iranian defence industry Taking.

Once an ideologically hardline entity devoted to the preservation of the values of Iran's 1979 revolution, the Revolutionary Guard has become a major branch of Iran's armed forces, with an estimated 150,000 land, aerial and naval personnel. Guard members are the wealthiest and most successful people in Iran.

The Treasury is targeting Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a military unit loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Reuters reported in February that the proposal could come in the form of an executive order, and has been described by the Financial Times as part of a "new hard-line strategy" by the Trump administration against the Islamic republic. The Guard aids and trains Hezbollah and supports and defends Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Iran-backed, majority-Shiite Muslim militias have become increasingly integrated into the armed forces of Iraq and Syria as they face ISIS, threatening USA interests in the region.

"The IRGC is the most powerful anti-terror organization and is at the forefront of fighting terrorism", he was quoted as saying.

But if that were to happen, he continues, "there could be internal pressure to shrink the IRGC's purview and remove it from at least the economic and commercial sector". "The IRGC has always defended our national interests in the face of danger".

"I think of it as a distinction without a difference in terms of what the impact will be and how the Iranians are going to read it", Suzanne Maloney, deputy director of the foreign policy program at the Brookings Institution and a former State Department adviser on Iran, told me.

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