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
- 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.
- 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.