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Don’t Label the IRGC

Clear Costs, Hazy Benefits

IRGC members in Tehran, May 2006. Raheb Homavandi / REUTERS

In February, the Donald Trump administration was considering designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a Foreign Terrorist Organization—only to shelve its plans after encountering opposition in Washington. Noting the White House’s recent difficulties, Mark Dubowitz and Ray Takeyh urge the Trump administration to sanction the IRGC under Executive Order 13224, which created the Specially Designated Global Terrorist Sanctions Program (“Labeling Iran’s Revolutionary Guard,” March 6). Doing so, however, would invite the same problems associated with designating the IRGC an FTO—such as endangering U.S. forces in Iraq and undermining the nuclear accord between Iran and six world powers—and would have little effect on the IRGC’s operations.

Dubowitz and Takeyh argue that designating the IRGC a terrorist group would weaken the IRGC’s “financial empire”—a prerequisite, they write, for “stabiliz[ing] the Middle East.” But the IRGC is already one of the most sanctioned

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