Treasury slaps sanctions on Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards as US raises pressure on Tehran

Key Points
  • The Treasury Department sanctions Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
  • The move is part of President Donald Trump's broader push to put pressure on Tehran.
  • The Trump administration says the elite military unit support the Assad regime in Syria and terror groups in the Middle East.
Trump: We will place new sanctions on Iran
Trump: We will place new sanctions on Iran

The Treasury Department on Friday slapped sanctions on an elite Iranian military organization, part of its broader strategy to ramp up pressure on Tehran.

The announcement came after President Donald Trump started a campaign to "fix" the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, telling Congress the agreement is no longer in the United States' interests.

The Treasury is targeting Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, a military unit loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin contended the group has "played a central role to Iran becoming the world's foremost state sponsor of terror."

In remarks Friday outlining his strategy to curb Iran's nuclear development and end alleged support for terrorism, Trump called the sanctions "long overdue."

Members of the Iranian revolutionary guard march during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in Tehran September 22, 2011.

"It has hijacked large portions of Iran's economy and seized massive religious endowments to fund war and terror abroad ... I am authorizing the Treasury Department to further sanction the entire Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for its support for terrorism and to apply sanctions to its officials, agents and affiliates," the president said.

"I urge our allies to join us in taking strong actions to curb Iran's continued dangerous and destabilizing behavior, including thorough sanctions outside the Iran deal that target the regime's ballistic missile program in support for terrorism and all of its destructive activities, of which there are many," Trump added.

Trump and Mnuchin said the Revolutionary Guards have supported Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, as well as terrorist groups Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian territories. The Treasury did not designate the Revolutionary Guards itself a terrorist organization.

The Treasury also sanctioned four entities — three based in Iran and one based in China — that it says provides "support to the IRGC or Iran's military."

"We urge the private sector to recognize that the IRGC permeates much of the Iranian economy, and those who transact with IRGC-controlled companies do so at great risk," Mnuchin said in a statement.

The Trump administration wants to get European allies to sanction the Revolutionary Guards, as well.

In response to Trump's remarks, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the country remains committed to the agreement as long as it serves Tehran's interests. He added that the Revolutionary Guards Corps "will continue its fight against regional terrorists."