Foreign Policy Watch: India-Iran

US names Iran’s Revolutionary Guards a terrorist group


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : FTO

Mains level : US-Iran turmoil and its impact on India

  • US has decided to name Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organisation (FTO) in accordance with Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
  • In retaliatory action, Tehran named the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) as a terrorist organisation and the US government as a sponsor of terror.

What is an FTO?

Section 219 of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act authorises the Secretary of State to “designate an organization as a foreign terrorist organization if it finds that:

  • the organization is a foreign organization;
  • the organization engages in terrorist activity or terrorism or
  • threatens the security of United States nationals or the national security of the US

The List

  • 67 terrorist organisations currently figure as FTOs, including Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaida and its regional branches, the Islamic State and its regional operations, Jundallah, Boko Haram, and the Colombian FARC.
  • Also on the list are several organisations based in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which directly threaten India, such as the JeM, LeT, Hizb ul-Mujahideen, Haqqani Network, and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
  • The Indian Mujahideen, LTTE, and Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami-Bangladesh are also on the list.

Why this move?

  • The new designation makes it easier to prosecute EU or other companies or individuals that do business with Iran.
  • US accused Iranian regime for use of terrorism as a tool of statecraft makes it fundamentally different from any other government.
  • Their involvement in Iran’s banking and shipping industries could complicate matters with U.S. allies including the European Union.
  • The United States has already blacklisted dozens of entities and people for affiliations with the IRGC, but not the organization as a whole.

About IRGC

  • The IRGC was set up in 1979 after Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic Revolution as an ideologically-driven branch of the armed forces of Iran.
  • It aims to protect the newly established Islamic system from hostile foreign powers and internal dissensions.
  • The IRGC is today a 125,000-strong force with ground, naval, and air wings, tasked with internal and border security, law enforcement, and protection of Iran’s missiles.
  • The IRGC is in charge of Iran’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs.
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