Brett Velicovich: Designation of Iran’s IRGC as a terror group is long overdue

President Trump's announcement Monday that the U.S. is designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization comes as no surprise to intelligence professionals like myself who have known for a long time the pure evil of the Iranian regime.

The information the U.S. government has on their illicit activities is clear: Iran is the largest exporter of terrorism in the world.

US TO DESIGNATE IRAN REVOLUTIONARY GUARD A TERRORIST GROUP

I’ve personally witnessed that terrorism first hand. During the “surge” in Iraq, I was deployed with the 82nd Airborne Division to a combat outpost just outside of Sadr City where a few hundred of us occupied a small building within the city for nearly 15 months. During one of the most volatile years in Iraq, our unit defended our outpost from regular enemy attacks and a constant bombardment of rocket fire and mortars.

Being a constant target of regular attacks, we had to watch the horror of fellow soldiers dying right in front of us. Many brave soldiers lost their lives fighting that year and even more were wounded, and are still having to live with those scars today.  The reality was that during those times we weren’t fighting Al Qaeda, we were fighting Iran.

Much of the turmoil we see around the world is a direct result of the actions of the IRGC and state sponsorship of terrorism by Iran.

The IRGC was pulling the strings for those attacks on our outpost and directly authorizing and planning attacks on American soldiers in other parts of the country as well, using their many proxy forces to carry it out.

Furthermore, much of the turmoil we see around the world is a direct result of the actions of the IRGC and state sponsorship of terrorism by Iran. From conflicts in Syria and Lebanon to Yemen and Venezuela, Iran’s proxy groups that fall under the purview of the IRGC are covertly involved in terrorist operations that escalate chaos in support of their broader agenda. More specifically within the IRGC, a small branch of rogue elements known as the IRGC-“Quds Force,” led by none other than Major General Qasem Soleimani, exports terrorism and funds their operations through illicit activities including Illegal arms sales, front companies, and the drug trade.

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Defense officials know that Iran’s IRGC designation as a terrorist group is long overdue. The designation, however, is a bold move by the administration and proof that the president is willing to take risks to stop the Iranian state-sponsorship of terrorism from spreading further.  Senior U.S. officials have previously steered away from such action, despite recommendations by rank and file defense and intelligence experts, because those senior officials worried about a tit-for-tat scenario playing out on the world stage. If we went after their military or diplomats, they would go after ours.

For those of us who have literally lived through the evil of the Iranian regime, though, it is past the point where we can sit back and do nothing. President Trump and the administration must never forget the Iranian regime was responsible for the deaths of Americans and if we let them continue unchecked globally, the Iranian regime will be responsible for many more.

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