President Trump said on Monday that he was designating a powerful arm of the Iranian military as a foreign terrorist organization, the first time that the United States has named part of another nation's government as that type of official threat. The designation imposes wide-ranging economic and travel sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as well as organizations, companies and individuals with ties to it.
Iranian lawmakers dressed in paramilitary uniforms chanted "Death to America" as they convened Tuesday for an open session of parliament after the White House designated Iran's Revolutionary Guard a foreign terrorist organization. President Hassan Rouhani declared that the force's popularity would only surge in the wake of the designation, saying guard members would be dearer "than any other time in the hearts of Iranian nation."
Reports from Iran indicate that in the wake of the U.S. decision to designate the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps as a foreign terror organization the Iranian currency took a nosedive at the end of the trading day on Monday. The rial fell 7.5 percent to 144,000 rials to the dollar. On Sunday, April 7 the Iranian currency was trading at 134,000 to the dollar. The head of Iran's central bank on Sunday tried to talk up the rial, anticipating the U.S. announcement, but it did not help on Monday once Washington designated the IRGC as a terrorist organization.
UANI IN THE NEWS
...Former senator Joseph Lieberman and ambassador Mark D. Wallace of the watchdog United Against Nuclear Iran said in a statement, "UANI applauds the Trump Administration's decision to designate the IRGC as an FTO. For years, the United States has listed Hezbollah, Kataib Hezbollah and the al-Ashtar Brigades as FTOs, but not the main source of those groups' manpower, materiel and money: the IRGC." "Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism," they added, "and the IRGC is the primary vehicle through which the regime funds terror organizations and proxies abroad."
I've known Prime Minister Netanyahu for a long time. I agree with him a lot of the time, and I sometimes disagree. He's not a racist ... Everything I know about the prime minister, he's not a racist, in fact he's quite open and inclusive. He has strong ideas about Israeli security and what you have to do for Israeli security.
Much of the suspicion surrounding the Revolutionary Guards stems from the activities of its special forces unit, the Quds. Although comprising roughly only 10% of the IRGC's manpower, the Quds play an outsized role through their extensive operations in the wider Middle East region, often in support of destabilising non-state militias. Designated a terror group by the US in 2007, the unit "is Iran's main link to its terrorist proxies, which the regime uses to boost Iran's global influence", says international policy organisation the Counter Extremism Project.
SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS
Crude prices were already 40% higher from the beginning of the year when Monday's session began, and added to those gains after the U.S. announced it was labeling Iran's IRGC as a terrorist organization. The move escalates the U.S.'s pressure campaign against Tehran and could mean even tighter restrictions on Iran oil exports. "The designation definitely sent [oil] to a new level," said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures in Chicago.
Indian refiners are holding back from ordering Iranian oil for loading in May pending clarity on whether Washington will extend a waiver from U.S. sanctions against the OPEC-member, four sources said. In November, U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and re-imposed broad economic sanctions. Washington, however, gave a six-month waiver to eight nations including India, allowing them to import some Iranian oil until early May.
U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS & NEGOTIATIONS
Iran recently observed the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, but few Iranians beyond the regime's elites celebrated it. The reason for this lack of enthusiasm among ordinary Iranians is no mystery. By any reasonable measure, the revolution has failed to deliver the just and prosperous society that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and other revolutionary leaders promised the Iranian people in 1979.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday that the United States was the real "leader of world terrorism" after Washington blacklisted Iran's Revolutionary Guards as a "foreign terrorist organisation". "Who are you to label revolutionary institutions as terrorists?" Rouhani asked in a speech broadcast live by state television. Speaking at a ceremony to mark Iran's national nuclear technology day in Tehran, Rouhani defended the Revolutionary Guards as a force that has fought terrorism ever since its creation in 1979.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday defended the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as protectors of Iran a day after the United States labeled the group as a foreign terrorist organization. U.S. President Donald Trump designated Iran's Guards a foreign terrorist organization on Monday - an unprecedented step that will raise tensions in the Middle East.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected the United States' designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organization, saying on Tuesday the Guards had confronted enemies at home and abroad, state TV reported. U.S. President Donald Trump designated Iran's Guards a foreign terrorist organization on Monday - an unprecedented step that will raise tensions in the Middle East.
The Trump Administration said Monday it will designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist organization. While this will upset those who want to do business with Iran, it's a welcome recognition of reality. The IRGC is a branch of the Iranian military with some 125,000 personnel loyal to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. It controls much of the national economy, including construction, banking and telecommunications, and it oversees the regime's ballistic-missile program.
For more than 30 years, successive U.S. administrations have called Iran what it is: a state sponsor of terrorism. Leaders of its military and intelligence agencies have been sanctioned, while the terror groups Iran supports have faced military action as well as sanctions. Until now, however, the main organization responsible for founding, funding and training many of these groups has not been placed in the same category as its clients like Hezbollah.
MILITARY/INTELLIGENCE MATTERS & PROXY WARS
Iran's Revolutionary Guard, designated a "foreign terrorist organization" by the Trump administration on Monday, evolved from a paramilitary, domestic security force with origins in the 1979 Islamic Revolution to a transnational force that has come to the aid of Tehran's allies in the Mideast, from Syria and Lebanon to Iraq. The force answers only to Iran's supreme leader, operates independently of the regular military and has vast economic interests across the country.
IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS
The governor of the oil-rich province of Khuzestan, southwest Iran, says a major dam on the Karkhe river is completely full, and local residents in several cities and villages have been ordered to evacuate their homes. Furthermore, according to Gholamreza Shariati, the volume of water in Iran's biggest and only navigable river, Karoon, is increasing at an alarming rate of 3200 cubic meters per second.
RUSSIA, SYRIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN
With Syria's eight-year war waning, many foreign fighters who have fought in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are returning to their home countries. Some of those fighters are Iranian-backed Afghan refugees. Since 2011, Iran has sent thousands of undocumented Shi'ite Afghan refugees to Syria to fight alongside forces of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) forces.
GULF STATES, YEMEN, & IRAN
United Nations envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths arrived in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Monday on a mission to persuade the Iran-backed Houthi militias to accept the truce agreement on Hodeidah that includes the deployment of forces in its three main ports. The deal was reached in Sweden in December 2018 and it has yet to be completely implemented, generating pessimism among the legitimate government.
Saudi Arabia welcomes the U.S. decision to designate Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization, Saudi state media said on Tuesday. Saudi Arabia, led by a Sunni Muslim royal family, has accused Shi'ite Muslim Iran of interfering in its and other Middle Eastern countries' internal affairs. Iran and Saudi Arabia have been fighting proxy wars for years, backing opposing sides in conflicts in Syria and Yemen.
In the summer of 2017, a plane chartered by the United Nations idled on the tarmac at an airport in the Horn of Africa as officials waited for final clearance to deliver half a million doses of cholera vaccine to Yemen. Amid the country's ruinous war, the disease was spiraling out of control, with thousands of new cases reported each day.
IRAQ & IRAN
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi visited Tehran April 6-7, his first official visit to the neighboring country since assuming office in October 2018. Accompanied by a large delegation of high-ranking Iraqi officials and representatives of the private sector, Abdul Mahdi came to Tehran at the formal invitation of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Apart from meeting with Rouhani, the Iraqi leader also met with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and attended a joint meeting of the Iranian and Iraqi business sectors at the Iran Chamber of Commerce.
OTHER FOREIGN AFFAIRS
An Iranian delegation landed in Venezuela on Monday to discuss launching direct flights between the two countries, Venezuela's foreign minister said, as Tehran voices support for President Nicolas Maduro against the opposition backed by most Western countries.