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What would happen if the U.S. puts the IRGC on terrorist list?

What would happen if the U.S. puts the IRGC on terrorist list?

By Reza Shafa

There was a lot of joy last week when for the first time it was announced that the U.S. intents to put the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) on the terror list.

Some said that “the means with which the mullahs do their dirty work is on the front burner now;” the Iranian regime “form Iraq to Afghanistan and from Lebanon to Palestine, Bosnia, Africa, and the U.S. uses the IRGC to pursue its terrorist goals;” the regime follows its nuclear ambitions with IRGC;” its [IRGC] financial empire extents from oil fields to honey bees farming;” it has confiscated huge pieces of  property in well to do parts of north Tehran from its original owners;” “it has dozens of auto-parts manufacturing firms;” the list can go on for ever.

The media in the U.S. have quoted officials as saying, “If such designation actually goes into effect, it would be for the first time that a branch of a sovereign government had been listed.”

What has been said is just the tip of the iceberg in so far as what the IRGC is really capable of doing. But make no mistakes; the IRGC is the deadliest force when it comes to suppression of ordinary Iranians.

History shows that since its inception IRGC has acted as a major obstacle in the way of popular uprisings against clerics in Iran. Its first test came on June 20, 1981 when on the order of Khomeini himself they opened fire at crowd of more than 500,000 peaceful demonstrators in the streets of Tehran. Later in 1991, the IRGC crushed the popular uprisings in the northeastern city of Mashhad and central city of Arak. In 1999, a three days student demonstration ended when IRGC surrogate the paramilitary Bassij force intervened and brutally suppressed the upheaval arresting 4,000 students some of whom were in prison for years.

IRGC, the sole decision maker in the mullahs’ regime

– At least nine cabinet members and 14 state governors in Ahmadinejad’s government had officially been high ranking IRGC members;

– In the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), starting from the very top, aside Ahmadinejad himself, the secretary, Ali Larijani, the chief nuclear negotiator with west had a long record in the IRGC as a brigadier general. There are six directorates in the council, three of which are run by Brig. Gen. Seyyed-Ali Hosseini-Tash one of the top officials in the mullahs’ nuclear program, Mohammad Sahrarodi, a deputy to the Supreme National Security Council on security Affairs (Sahrarodi was involved in the 1989 assassination of the Secretary General of the Iranian Kurdish Democratic Party in Vienna. In the course of action, he was wounded and arrested by the Austrian police. However, after a short time, he was released form police custody and sent back to Iran), and Ali Monfarad, one of the founders of the IRGC;

– Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), in the early days, more than 90 percent of its members were recruited from the IRGC. During Ahmadinejad’s tenure all of those who were laid off in Khatamei’s era had been called back to work;

– Ministry of Interior, Mostafa Pourmohammadi who runs the ministry now is the mastermind of the 1999 “chine murders” in Iran in which a number of writers, poets, and intellectuals  were brutally murdered by members of the MOIS. Deputy interior minister is Mohammad Baqer Zolqader, formerly deputy commander of the IRGC. When transferred to the new post he brought with him a dozen other IRGC commanders to assist him. The most recent new comer to the ministry is Alireza Afshar, formerly one of the most senior officers of the IRGC decorated by Khamenei for his valuable services. He was one of the founders of the IRGC, commander of the IRGC’s ground forces, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the IRGC, commander of the paramilitary Bassij force, president of the IRGC’s Imam Hossein University, and deputy commander of cultural and information in the armed forces;

– State Radio and Television, for years, prior to his appointment as the Secretary of SNSC, Larijani ran the media conglomerate with a monumental budget. Later, Brig. Gen. Ezatollah Zarghami took over as the chief of State Radio and Television. 

– State Security Forces (SSF), at the time of Aliakabr Hashemi Rafsanjani’s presidency, the three forces police, Gendarmerie, and newly formed Revolutionary Committees were dissolved and SSF was formed. Since its inception, the force has always been run by the IRGC commanders. Although, over the years the SSF trained its own forces, but as an old mandate all its higher echelons are picked form the IRGC.

– IRGC controls all officials by providing them their personal body guards. To keep an eye on the government official, members of Majlis, and all other individuals of some significance in the country, Khamenei has ordered IRGC to protect them. However, it is a costly service for all those under protection since the IRGC members assigned have orders to report even their most private activities.  

– In the rest of the country, the IRGC has Bassij force present in public and private sectors; in schools, banks, factories, farms, villages, and…The Bassij members are everywhere to collect information on ordinary citizens, control the so-called moral in the society and do virtually what ever the IRGC tells them to do.

One will never be able to describe the state of terror the IRGC has imposed on Iranian people in past three decades. It may be the time for the outside world to come to their aid and as a first step put IRGC where it really belongs; THE TERROR LIST.

Reza Shafa is an expert on the Iranian regime’s intelligence networks, both in Iran and abroad. He has done extensive research on VAVAK (MOIS), IRGC’s Intelligence Office, and Quds Force among others. Currently he is a contributor to NCRI website.