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Source: The Hill

May 11, 2023

Bipartisan congressional group calls for US allies to label Iranian army as terror group

BY BRAD DRESS


A bipartisan coalition of congressional lawmakers on Thursday sent letters to the heads of Australia, India, the U.K. and Canada to urge the U.S.-allied nations to designate the Iranian army as a terrorist group.


Twenty-two Republican and Democratic lawmakers signed the letters, which were addressed and sent individually to the four countries.


The letters put renewed pressure on the allied countries to officially join the U.S. in labeling the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in its entirety as a terrorist organization.


“The Islamic Republic of Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and the IRGC isthe central core of the country’s terrorist operations at home and abroad,” lawmakers wrote.


“The IRGC has openly carried out plots targeting citizens around the world for decades,” they continued. “Designating the IRGC will send the clear message to Iran that acts of terrorism against us, our partners, and innocent citizens must not, and will not be tolerated.”


The lawmakers also noted the countries have the capabilities under current laws or systems to designate the IRGC as a terrorist group.


Signatories include Reps. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Pat Fallon (R-Texas) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).


Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.), who led the effort with Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), said the U.S. “has taken bold action to raise the costs of the Iranian regime’s violent extremism.”


“Now the United States Congress is calling on the United Kingdom, Australia, India, and Canada to join our fight in combatting this organization’s cruelty,” she said in a statement. “It is time that all nations designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization to send an unequivocal message that its terrorist activities must end.”


Canada has been reluctant to list the IRGC as a foreign terrorist group because it is the country’s official armed forces, and military service is mandatory. It has designated the Quds Force, an intelligence branch of the IRGC, a terror group.


In a news conference last year, Canadian officials said the designation would be too much of a “blunt instrument” that could punish innocent people in Canada who may have fled the regime but were still conscripted into the IRGC, according to CBC.


Australia has signaled it may not legally be able to designate the IRGC as a terror group under its criminal code, but its Senate recommended the designation in February.


India has long maintained close relations with Iran. The U.K. is reportedly considering the designation but has yet to make a formal decision.


The U.S. is amping up its pressure on the European Union, as well. A bipartisan group of U.S. senators pushed for the EU this year to designate the IRGC a terrorist group.


Washington designated the IRGC as a foreign terrorist group in 2019 under the Trump administration as relations with Iran plummeted. Tehran responded at the time by designating the U.S. military as a terror group.


Former President Trump scrapped a key deal with Iran that lifted sanctions in exchange for limitations on Tehran’s nuclear production to prevent the development of a weapon of mass destruction.


The Biden administration failed to revive that nuclear deal, and relations have only worsened under President Biden.


Iran has provided explosive drones to Russia for use against Ukraine in the war, and the IRGC has repeatedly seized oil tanker ships headed to the U.S.


Iranian-backed militias have also exchanged rocket attacks with American troops in Syria.


Politicians on both sides of the aisle have grown increasingly hostile to Iran. Earlier this month, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers introduced a bill to permanently authorize the president to enact economic sanctions against Iran.



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