The Trump administration is preparing to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard a "foreign terrorist organization," an unprecedented move against a national armed force that could have widespread implications for US personnel and policy in the Middle East and elsewhere, the AP reports. Officials informed of the step said an announcement was expected Monday, after a monthslong escalation in the administration's rhetoric against Iran, its support for militia groups in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen, as well as anti-Israel groups in the region and beyond. It would be the first such designation by any American administration of an entire foreign government entity, although portions of the Guard, notably its elite Quds Force, have been targeted previously by the US.
Two US officials and a congressional aide confirmed the planned move. 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." The designation, planning for which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, comes with sanctions, including freezes on assets the Guard may have in US jurisdictions, and a ban on Americans doing business with it or providing material support for its activities. The designation could significantly complicate US military and diplomatic work, notably in Iraq, where many Shiite militias and Iraqi political parties have close ties to the Guard.
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