WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is preparing to declare Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization, The New York Times reported in Wednesday editions, citing senior administration officials.
If the declaration is imposed, it would be the first time that the United States has placed the armed forces of any sovereign government on its list of terrorist organizations, the newspaper reported.
The U.S. government has long considered Iran an active state sponsor of terrorism. Singling out the guard would signal a more confrontational turn in the administration’s approach to Iran, the newspaper said.
The United States accuses Iran of seeking to develop a nuclear arsenal and of arming militant groups throughout the Middle East attempting to destabilize Iraq and Afghanistan, all charges Tehran denies.
Naming the Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group would allow the United States to block financial accounts and other assets controlled by the military unit which has moved increasingly into commercial operations under Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Times said, citing U.S. officials.
Separately, The Washington Post reported that the main goal of the new designation would be to target the Revolutionary Guards’ vast business network, including foreign companies conducting business linked to the unit and its personnel, the Post said.
The administration plans to list many of the Guards’ financial operations, the Post said.
The State Department had no immediate comment.
The New York Times cited senior administration officials as saying that current plans call for the declaration to be made this month, but cautioned that it could be put off or dropped if the U.N. Security Council moved more quickly to impose broad sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.