Former US Ambassador Urges Government to Extend FTO Blacklisting to Include Iran’s MOIS
US Ambassador Ken Blackwell wrote an op-ed for Townhall urging the United States government to increase its pressure on the Iranian regime in the wake of its inclusion of its Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) on its terror blacklist.
After IRGC Blacklisting, It’s Time to Engage the Iranian Resistance https://t.co/kDzpwowink
— J. Kenneth Blackwell (@kenblackwell) April 16, 2019
Blackwell warned that “Iran’s malign influence is growing,” and urged Western leaders to confront the regime’s “imperialism.”
The Emergence of IRGC-Funded Militia Groups
President Donald Trump’s designation of the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) was a welcome move that Blackwell argued had “grown more imperative” in recent years. The IRGC is a vital organ of repression for the regime in Iran. It also uses it to export its state-sponsored terrorism across the globe.
However, Blackwell asserts, it was the “proliferation of IRGC-funded and facilitated extremist groups in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere,” that meant the US administration had no choice but to take firm action against the group.
“Serious critics of the Iranian regime were quick to embrace the FTO designation,” Blackwell writes. Among them was Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and NCRI’s main component, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). The MEK is the largest and most popular opposition group and has been behind many of the protests that have taken place in Iran over the last 18 months.
In a statement, Mrs. Rajavi called the US government’s designation “long overdue.” For the MEK, Blackwell writes, “western pressure on the IRGC is not only a means of promoting international peace and stability but also a sign of support for the Iranian people in their conflict with the theocratic dictatorship.”
Maryam Rajavi reiterated the necessity of listing the IRGC as a terrorist organization. She recalled that the Iranian Resistance had declared many times before that the terrorist listing of the IRGC in its entirety is imperative for peace, and security in the Middle East.
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) April 9, 2019
For the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the designation was vital for cutting off financial assistance and resources to the IRGC from American entities. He made it clear that until the Iranian regime ends its “malign activities” and ends its use of terrorism as a tool of statecraft, it would continue to face economic pressure and restrictions.
Every Cent That Goes to the IRGC Goes Towards Death and Repression
The IRGC has been instrumental to the regime’s Middle East objectives. Its militia and proxies are active in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Every cent that flows into IRGC coffers in a cent available to use in devising terror plots, assembling militia and murdering opposition members.
But for Blackwell, the designation does not go far enough. The IRGC, for example, was not behind the regime’s international terror plots on European soil. In June 2018, for example, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) orchestrated a plot to detonate a car bomb at the MEK’s annual Grand Gathering event. The plot was foiled by Belgian authorities, averting countless deaths and immeasurable tragedy.
On behalf of the Iranian Resistance which has called for an arms and oil embargo on Iran’s religious dictatorship since 1981, Mrs. Rajavi reiterated the need to take the following measures: #Iran #BlackListIRGC pic.twitter.com/g1x3X13RHx
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) April 8, 2019
“President Trump and Secretary Pompeo have frequently promised that pressure on the Islamic Republic will continue to intensify until American goals are realized,” Blackwell wrote. He then urged President Trump and Secretary Pompeo to “recognize that the logical next step in exerting such pressure is to extend the newfound terrorist designation from the IRGC to its accomplice, MOIS.”