In an unprecedented step to ramp up pressure on Tehran, the Trump administration is planning to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a “foreign terrorist organization.” The move is expected to further isolate Iran and could have widespread implications for U.S. personnel and policy in the Middle East and elsewhere.
The Trump administration has escalated rhetoric against Iran for months, but this will mark the first such designation by any American administration of an entire foreign government entity. Portions of the Guard, notably its elite Quds Force, have been targeted previously by the United States.
Officials informed of the step said an announcement was expected as early as Monday.
Two U.S. officials and a congressional aide confirmed the planned move.
They were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, seemed to anticipate the designation, saying in a tweet Sunday aimed at President Donald Trump that Trump “should know better than to be conned into another US disaster.”
This would be just the latest move by the Trump administration to isolate Iran. Trump withdrew from the Obama administration’s landmark nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018 and, in the months that followed, reimposed punishing sanctions including those targeting Iran’s oil, shipping and banking sectors.
The Revolutionary Guard designation, planning for which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, comes with sanctions, including freezes on assets the Guard may have in U.S. jurisdictions and a ban on Americans doing business with it or providing material support for its activities.
Although the Guard has broad control and influence over the Iranian economy, such penalties from the U.S. may have