With the April 8, 2019, announcement by President Trump that the administration is formally designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist organization, the U.S. has finally, belatedly taken the step it should have taken more than seventeen years ago, following the 9/11 attacks.
As the Havlish, et al. v. bin Laden, et al. case demonstrated with the December 2011 ruling by Judge George Daniels, Iran and Hizballah “materially and directly supported al Qaeda in the September 11, 2001 attacks.” The Havlish case "Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law," issued December 15, 2011, asserted unequivocally that “The Islamic Republic of Iran…has engaged in, and supported, terrorism as an instrument of foreign policy, virtually from the inception of its existence after the Iranian Revolution in 1979.”
As anyone who’s read the Iranian Constitution (online, in English) knows only too well, the Iranian regime conceives of itself as a revolutionary Islamic vanguard in the world, with a divine mission to "expand international relations with other Islamic movements and people in order to pave the way for the formation of a single, universal community" — otherwise known as an Islamic State or, in the case of the Shi’ites, an Imamate, under rule of Islamic Law.
The Iranian Constitution also has a section dedicated specifically to the role of the IRGC (or Pasdaran) as “An Ideological Army” not only empowered to protect the borders of Iran but to pursue an “ideological mission…of jihad.”
So, it has been pretty clear since at least 1979 that the IRGC, along with its subordinate Qods Force division, is the designated global striking arm of the Islamic Revolution. And indeed, the IRGC has carried out that mission faithfully, providing funding, operational guidance, training, and weapons for terrorism operations that have targeted American citizens both domestically and abroad for the last 40 years. Often, the IRGC operates through proxies, including Al-Qa’eda, Hamas, Hizballah, various Iraqi Shi’ite terror militias, the Yemeni Houthis, and the Taliban.
For example, following the 1990 establishment of the Iran-Hizballah-al-Qa’eda (AQ) terror operations alliance in Khartoum, Sudan, as reported in the 9/11 Commission Report, the Iranian regime directed its Hizballah proxy (under the direction of master terror chieftain Imad Mughniyah) to provide explosives training, especially suicide bombing techniques against large buildings, to Usama bin Laden’s al-Qa’eda operatives. As detailed in the Havlish case documents, Hizballah-trained AQ cadres were responsible for a subsequent string of high casualty bombing attacks against Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia (1996), the U.S.’s East Africa Embassies in Dar Es Salaam and Nairobi (1998), the USS Cole in Yemen (2000), and finally, 9/11 itself.
Nor was 9/11 the end of it. As U.S. and Coalition forces battled al-Qa’eda terrorists in post-Saddam Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan, Iran was there…in both places, providing a Hizballah terror training camp for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in northern Iraq as well as Iran and Hizballah support to the Taliban that is ongoing to this day. The U.S. military counts casualties in the thousands from Iran-and-Hizballah-supplied EFPs, IEDs, and VBIEDs in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as from IRGC/Qods Force-directed terror militias, both Sunni and Shi’ite.
Today’s IRGC designation by President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is tremendously welcome but should be accompanied by the full rap sheet of what Iran through the IRGC has done and continues to do to this country and American citizens. The American people have the right to know.
Clare M. Lopez is VP for Research and Analysis at the Center for Security Policy. Previously a Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and a member of Board of Advisors for Canadian Mackenzie Institute, she was named to Senator Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign national security advisory team in 2016. Lopez served with Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi and now its successor, Citizens’ Commission on National Security. Formerly VP of Intelligence Summit, she was a career operations officer with Central Intelligence Agency, professor at Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies and Executive Director of the Iran Policy Committee from 2005-2006. Lopez received a B.A. in Communications and French from Notre Dame College of Ohio and an M.A. in International Relations from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. She completed Marine Corps Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Quantico, VA, before declining a military commission to join the CIA. To read more of her reports — Click Here Now.