The United States is planning to list Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, an elite military force of the Islamic Republic of Iran, as a terror group. If put into effect, the plan will jeopardize operations of any foreign company involved in economic cooperation with Iran – the Guards’ influence extends well beyond the military into business and politics. All in all, the U.S. Marine Corps could be also blacklisted as an institution linked to terrorism if the same logic is applicable to the case.
The U.S. president seems to have largely forgotten where America’s borders were and what jurisdiction was all about. The international community has just digested a ban imposed by U.S. Congress on the formation of a gas cartel which could have been modeled on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. And now the U.S. government is poised to issue a document to blacklist Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, an elite military force and government institution of a foreign country, as a terror group.
The U.S. administration’s arguments to back the move look simple and monotonous. The United States accuses the Guards of interfering in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is neither proof nor incriminating evidence behind the accusations. But the United States is apparently ready and willing to aggravate an already tense situation in the Middle East once again. It is obvious that the move is part of Washington’s planned action to get things done at the next session of the UN General Assembly slated for September. The issue of imposing economic and other sanctions against Iran will top the agenda of a September session.
The United States previously failed to get the UN Security Council to impose draconian sanctions against Iran following Tehran’s controversial nuclear program. Even the International Atomic Energy Agency feared that its report on the Iranian nuclear program might have created grounds for a direct military action against Iran, and therefore the IAEA took a rather cautious stand on the issue. Later the IAEA found a common language with Tehran authorities. Now the United States is going to use its own jurisdiction and the UN General Assembly for denouncing a group of Iranian terrorists that is 125,000 strong.
The move is designed to accomplish several goals. Aside from pointing out a rogue country, the United States is also seeking to expose the largest terrorist organization, which operates under the wing of the Iranian government. In terms of economic repercussions, the plan is aimed at severing relations between the Guards representatives – who have control over Iran’s major industrial, energy programs as well as defense contracts – and companies which are in one way or another related to U.S. business and dependent on a way Washington looks upon them.
Blacklisting the 125,000 strong military force will enable the U.S. administration to block the assets of its members on U.S. soil or under U.S. control. The United States will also be able to oppose the foreign companies, which “either provide support, services or assistance to terrorists or are linked to them in any other way.”
In other words, the move is an all-out effort to undermine Iran’s economy because the Guards controls, in one way or another, the majority of large companies in virtually all sectors of the Iranian economy. The U.S. administration’s intentions pose a threat to operations of any foreign company involved in economic cooperation with Iran.
The United States showed lots of farsightedness in picking its target. The Iranian leadership carried out a number of measures to implement a new military policy soon after ousting the Shah in 1979.
The new Iranian government pulled the plug on military cooperation between the Iranian army and the Pentagon; U.S. military advisers and technical personnel were sent home; a number of contracts for the purchase of U.S. weapons were declared null and void.
However, the Iranian government failed to hold sway over the army while preserving its efficiency at the same time. The Islamic revolution dealt a very heavy blow to Iran’s armed forces. As a result, the army’s efficiency hit rock bottom, the troops were disorganized and demoralized.
The war between Iran and Iraq broke out in September 1980. By that time, the army had been staffed with only 45-50 percent of the required number of commissioned officers and 60-70 percent of noncommissioned officers and privates. About 45 percent of weapons and military equipment was unfit for use in combat.
Iran ’s clerics did not intend nor could they rely on the military, which had “stained” its reputation by maintaining close ties with the former regime. That was the reason why the clerics decided to form an alternative military force whose members would be completely loyal to Khomeini’s doctrines.
The Revolutionary Guards was formed in 1979. At the beginning, it was meant to defend the world’s only theocracy of our time. The Guards played a major role in the war between Iran and Iraq in 1980-1988. The Guards has been an influential political and economic institution in Iran thereafter.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a former officer of the Revolutionary Guards. He came to power on the strength of support provided by the Guards high-ranking veterans. The Guards commanders have connections in many companies in the main sectors of the Iranian economy.
Iran ’s armed forces and the Revolutionary Guard now have 533,000 troops in total. Repelling a foreign invasion in a joint effort with the army is the main job of the Guards in times of war. In times of peace, the Guards must ensure the stability of the Islamic regime by fighting against the opposition inside and outside Iran. The Guards is also intended for keeping control over activities of the political and public movements.
If the United States is now fully determined to blacklist members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as terrorists, other countries of the world may as well make use of the same logic and accuse members of the U.S. Marine Corps of committing hideous crimes against humanity (bringing a multi-count indictment could do the trick). Taking into account things that U.S. Marines have done while defending democracy in different parts of the worlds in the last several decades, the court in Hague will have to take extra space on lease so that all the accused can stand the trial.
Translated by Guerman Grachev