Taking Iran’s Revolutionary Guard off the terror list would be a historic mistake

Upon taking over as secretary of state, one of the first moves Antony Blinken made was to revoke the Houthi’s terror list designation.

In the wake of their delisting, the Houthis embarrassed Blinken by ratcheting up their attacks on both Saudi and Emirati civilian infrastructure. terror list

Blinken, it seems, has not learned the lesson. Reports from Vienna suggest a renewed Iran nuclear deal is close.

Leaks suggest that the United States is prepared to reverse all Trump-era sanctions.

There would be one winner from any such deal, and it would not be the U.S., the Iranian people, or nuclear nonproliferation.

On April 8, 2019, the State Department designated the entirety of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization.

To designate only its elite Quds Force unit would be to absolve the broader organization. If Greenpeace put bombs on buses, it shouldn’t matter what they did with the spotted owl — they’d still be a terrorist group.

Like former President Donald Trump or hate him, his administration’s designation of the entire Guard was a brilliant move. It showed understanding, at least on Secretary of State (and former CIA Director) Mike Pompeo’s part, of Iran’s inner workings.

After the Iran-Iraq War, the Guard began investing in Iran’s civilian economy in order to acquire a financial base independent from the Iranian government’s budgetary process. Thirty-five years later, the Guard’s economic wing, without moral equivalence, is akin to what would happen if the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers merged with Bechtel, KBR, Halliburton, Walmart, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Ford, and then used the military might of the U.S. to force competitors out of business. The Guard today controls up to 40% of the Iranian economy and a larger share over import-export, construction, and manufacturing. The revenue streams from these businesses, the no-bid contracts the Iranian government awards them.

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