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Published:October 26th, 2007 01:53 EST
Revolutionary Guard, Quds Force targeted for proliferation, terrorist support by G.W. Bush

Revolutionary Guard, Quds Force targeted for proliferation, terrorist support by G.W. Bush

By SOP newswire

Washington -- Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is the target of a new set of U.S. sanctions against its support for international terrorism and role in proliferating weapons of mass destruction.

“These actions will help to protect the international financial system from the illicit activities of the Iranian government and they will provide a powerful deterrent to every international bank and company that thinks of doing business with the Iranian government,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said October 25.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who accompanied Rice, said the Iranian regime's ability to develop nuclear and ballistic missile programs relies on access to money from international commercial and financial systems.

“Iran also funnels hundreds of millions of dollars each year through the international financial system to terrorists.  Iran's banks aid this conduct using a range of deceptive financial practices intended to evade even the most stringent risk management controls,” Paulson said.

The sanctions represent the first time the United States has used financial pressure against another country’s military. The action is regarded as the strongest set of sanctions the United States has implemented against the Iranian regime since it came to power in 1979.

Under presidential orders developed after September 11, 2001, the United States is freezing Revolutionary Guard Corps assets due to its role as a weapons proliferator, and assets of the corps’ foreign operations arm, the Quds Force, for its support of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories and elsewhere. 

Iran’s Ministry of Defense and three of Iran’s largest banks -- Bank Melli, Bank Mellat, and Bank Saderat -- also are subject to sanctions, as are individuals engaged in the regime’s proliferation and terrorist support activities, Rice and Paulson said.    

“The IRGC is so deeply entrenched in Iran's economy and commercial enterprises, it is increasingly likely that if you are doing business with Iran, you are doing business with the IRGC,” Paulson said. “We call on responsible banks and companies around the world to terminate any business with Bank Melli, Bank Mellat, Bank Saderat, and all companies and entities of the IRGC.” 

The announcement comes as the U.N. Security Council deliberated a third set of sanctions against Iran.  The United Kingdom, France and Japan are considering additional measures to convince the Iranian regime to accept a May 26 offer for improved relations with the United States and support for an internationally supervised civil nuclear energy program in exchange for its abandonment of its current enrichment program.

“If the Iranian government fulfills its international obligation to suspend its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities, I will join my British, French, Russian, Chinese, and German colleagues and I will meet with my Iranian counterpart anytime, anywhere,” Rice said.

“If Iran's rulers choose to continue down a path of confrontation, the United States will act with the international community to resist these threats of the Iranian regime,” she added.

A transcript of remarks by Rice and Paulson and a video link to the briefing are available on the State Department Web site.     

(USINFO is produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

By David McKeeby
USINFO Staff Writer

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