Last Monday, the US administration took a tougher and more severe action against Iran, with repercussions that are expected to retrench its military power considerably, by including the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on the list of terrorist organizations. This decisive decision comes after the escalation of sanctions, whose harsh results on the situation in Iran have appeared faster than expected, especially on the economic level, which embarrassed the Iranian regime and its figures and pushed them to launch hasty and emotional statements and threats, as usual, accompanied by the failure of the regime to address the flood disaster that came into most cities and provinces of Iran, and showed the fragility of infrastructure and the inability of official institutions for the relief and rescue of those affected. All of this because all Iran’s resources go for military and combat purposes beyond its borders!

The new sanction of designating the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization is the toughest step so far and poses a painful blow to Tehran. In practice, this move reaches out the deep state and its tool in Iran, embodied by the Revolutionary Guard, as being the military, economic and ideological force, and the arm through which the Iranian regime tries to find rescue bridges, batons of violence and forces for internal and external interferences.

The new sanction reopens the Revolutionary Guard’s case as a force that protects the Iranian regime, and also as a power that also combines between a strict service to the bases and principles of the Iranian revolutionary revolution, and doing other various tasks, including military, trade and economic ones, to the military manufacturing, which exhausts Iranians’ wealth and drains their resources, to meet the desires and illusions of the clerics’ ambitions, who have been exploiting the theocratic regime in Iran for the last four decades.

The Revolutionary Guard is responsible for the Iranian nuclear program, the ballistic missile development program, and responsible for the military operations carried out by Iran outside its borders. Therefore, listing it as a terrorist organization is a painful blow to Iran at home and abroad.

Before this new blow, Iran was so keen on conducting a lengthy dialogue with the Europeans to find an alternative financial channel that provide the regime’s financial needs under US sanctions. Instead of that, the US announced its decision to designate the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. US President Trump explained the main reasons for his decision by stating that “”The Revolutionary Guard is the prime instrument of the government to guide and carry out its global terrorist campaign and that the classification clearly shows the risks of entering into financial transactions with the corps or providing it with any support. If someone deals financially with it, it would mean Financing terrorism!”

The Iranian regime has been relying heavily on the Revolutionary Guard to provide alternatives to counter the US sanctions, and indeed it has played economic roles to overcome the sanctions, but with the Guard’s entering the sanctions’ zone, any financial dealings with this Iranian force will not be legal, according to the American decision.

The decision is also likely to be a shock to the leaders of the Iraqi militias, who rely heavily on the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guard and their militarily movements are under its supervision. When the decision of including the Revolutionary Guard on the lists of terrorist organizations bears fruits, the Iraqi leadership is also expected to see less pressure from the Shiite military groups that have been imposed by the Revolutionary Guard on the Baghdad government in a bid to get commitments from Iraq on rejecting the US sanctions against Iran.

After this American decision, losers and those who are affected by punishing the Revolutionary Guard will be exposed in turn because its map of external influence is linked to hot spots in the region, particularly sectarian conflicts hostile to peace, stability and coexistence in countries such as Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.

On the other hand, Iran will lose much after this decision, and it will miss a party upon which it has always relied on doing fraud, internal corruption and foreign wars. The Revolutionary Guard was the side that carried out various missions away from the Iranian army, which had been weakened and marginalized. It continued to build its secret state, which expanded financially and militarily at the expense of the formal Iranian institutions. The Iranians thought that the Revolutionary Guard is interested in serving them, however, what happened is that it took over the fate of Iran and posed a threat to regional security. It also provided evidence of Iran’s involvement in wars and crises that Tehran is keen to keep alive.

It is true that some analyzes tend to say that Trump’s decision to punish Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is just an electoral propaganda and a step to support Netanyahu in the Israeli elections, however, the amount of noise and panic in Iran following the US decision reveals the vital role that the Revolutionary Guard is playing, and alongside its military role, it is Iran’s economic reserve. Hence, its classification as a terrorist organization would deprive Iran of its vital tool.

Al Mezmaah Studies & Research Centre

April 10, 2019