Experts Urge FTO Designation of IRGC at Senate Briefing

WASHINGTON, DC – April 11, 2017 — As Congress weighs in on the possibly of designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), Iranian American Community of Arkansas, member of the Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC) hosted a briefing in the U.S. Senate to discuss the issue.   

Dr. Majid Sadeghpour, Political Director of OIAC, welcomed the participants, and asked former U.S. ambassador to Bahrain Adam Ereli, to moderate the event.

Briefly reviewing the IRGC’s activities that meet the criteria for FTO listing, Ambassador John Bolton noted in particular, “the IRGC’s prominent indeed dispositive role in Iran’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs…the IRGC is overqualified to be designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.”

In a PowerPoint presentation on the IRGC’s malign role in the Middle East, Alireza Jafarzadeh, the Deputy Director of the Washington Office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI-US), talked about 15 of the IRGC’s dozens of terrorist training centers across Iran, where “they bring hundreds of forces from Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and Lebanon, train them in these bases, and send them back to those countries.” Jafarzadeh pointed out that the Iranian regime provides Hamas with $1.3 billion and Hezbollah with $1 billion per year. Drawing on the newly released book, The Rise of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ Financial Empire, he discussed how the Iranian regime plunders the people’s wealth to fund terrorism, and made the legal case for the IRGC’s FTO designation.

Dr. Ilan Berman, Senior Vice President of the American Foreign Policy Council, laid out what he described as “the case for IRGC’s (FTO) designation on political grounds,” underscoring, “the blacklisting of the IRGC will have immediate material economic effects on the Revolutionary Guard and on the Islamic Republic as a whole.”

Referring to his experience in Iraq, where he spent five years working directly to counter IRGC operations, Michael Pregent, an adjunct fellow at Hudson Institute, said the Qods Force, as part of the IRGC, funds Kata’eb Hozbollah, Asaeb Ahl Al-Haq in Iraq, and Lebanese Hozbollah. It operates outside of the law and answers directly to the supreme leader, he said.

The panelists argued the upcoming Iranian elections would not change anything as far as the Iranian regime’s behaviors are concerned. Experts urged Congress not to wait for the outcome of the elections in proceeding with legislative measures.

The full video coverage of the event can be viewed HERE.

The expert responses to the Iranian Election can be viewed HERE.

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