Despite signing legislation that called for the designation of the IRGC as a terrorist group, the Trump admin appears to be non-committal on whether or not it will follow through on this mandate:
FREE BEACON – The Trump administration will not commit to designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, Iran’s elite fighting force, as terrorists, despite a congressional mandate to do so by the end of the month, according to multiple U.S. officials and other administration insiders who told the Washington Free Beacon that holdovers from the Obama administration are working to stymie the effort.
While President Donald Trump is expected to announce this week that he will not certify Iran as in compliance with the landmark nuclear deal, it remains unclear if he will follow through with congressionally approved plans to extend a terror designation to the IRGC, a move that has prompted Iran to threaten greater attacks on U.S. forces in the Middle East.
The IRGC is responsible for numerous terror attacks on American troops over the years and has played a key role in interfering with U.S. operations in Syria. A bipartisan consensus in Congress has already backed such a designation, but key Obama-era holdovers and top national security officials who have the president’s ear are urging him to refrain, according to multiple sources who spoke to the Free Beacon.
Trump last week signed new sanctions legislation mandating that the United States extend a terror designation to the IRGC, marking the first time in U.S. history a foreign country’s military branch would be hit with such a designation.
Once again it sounds like people who have Trump’s ear, Obama holdovers included, are trying to convince Trump that this is a bad idea:
However, the State and Treasury Departments would not confirm Wednesday that the administration intends to make good on this law, which was approved by Congress with bipartisan support.
The administration may be getting cold feet due to the objections of key U.S. officials and those in the Treasury Department who view such a designation as harmful to American companies that have business interests in Iran, where the IRGC controls a majority of the economy, sources said.
“The IRGC is responsible for wreaking havoc throughout the Middle East and, through its Quds Force, for killing hundreds of American troops in Iraq,” Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and chair of its National Security Subcommittee, told the Free Beacon.
“The IRGC represents a quintessential terrorist group and should be designated as such,” DeSantis said. “Whereas the Obama administration flew pallets of cash to the IRGC, the Trump administration should act to hold the IRGC accountable. Designating it as a terrorist group is a good first step.”
Neither the State Department or White House would confirm to the Free Beacon plans to follow through with this designation, prompting speculation that the process may be held up over objections by Obama-era holdovers in the Trump administration who view the move as a shot at dismantling the former president’s nuclear deal.
These same voices are continuing to advise Trump against decertifying Iranian compliance with the deal, despite the president’s personal belief that the Islamic Republic has flagrantly violated what he has repeatedly described as a bad deal.
“These are the same people advising him to certify the nuclear deal, which was also rejected by bipartisan majorities in Congress,” the source said. “They’re wrong and if they stay wrong, lawmakers will eventually make it an oversight issue.”
When Obama was president, we never heard these kind of reports. But it seems that there are a lot of people who have Trump’s ear who want to keep things the way Obama put them. And they’re not all Obama holdovers either – like Mattis and Tillerson for example.