The Trump administration is expected to designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization, U.S. officials told The Wall Street Journal on Friday. Per Al Jazeera, the change of designation has been rumored for years. If implemented, the decision would come before the first anniversary of President Trump's decision to pull out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reimpose economy-crippling sanctions on the country.
The decision, which could be announced as soon as Monday, would be the first time that an element of a foreign state has been officially labeled a terrorist organization. The officials said the decision is strongly supported by national security adviser John Bolton, as well as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. It is reportedly intended to help the U.S. crack down on businesses in Europe and elsewhere which are controlled by the IRGC.
But Pentagon and CIA officials have reportedly cautioned against the move, fearing that it could lead to backlash against U.S. forces stationed in the Middle East.
Iran has warned of a "crushing" response should the U.S. follow through with the designation. IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafar said in 2017 that if the Trump administration were to make such a decision, Iran would, in turn, "consider the American army to be like" the Islamic State.
U.S. Central Command is prepared to issue a regional alert to U.S. troops in the Middle East as a precaution in case the announcement causes Iran to retaliate with force.