Ignoring Iranian warnings of retaliation, the Trump administration announced on Friday it will not be certifying the Iran nuclear deal. The administration is imposing new sanctions against the the regime’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, describing the group as playing a “central role” in “Iran becoming the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror.”
“I am announcing today that we cannot and will not make this certification,” President Donald Trump said during a speech at the White House. “We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror, and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakthrough.”
“Friday’s announcement does not withdraw the United States from the Iran deal, which the president called ‘one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into,’” Fox News reported. “But the president threatened that he could still ultimately pull out of the deal.”
Congress now has 60 days to decide whether to reimpose the sanctions lifted as part of the 2015 deal, modify them or do nothing. If no agreement is reached with Congress, Trump has stated he will pull the United States out of the accord.
Trump also announced additional sanctions against the Revolutionary Guard.
“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,” he said. “I urge our allies to join us in taking strong actions to curb Iran’s continued dangerous and destabilizing behavior.”
The Treasury Department also issued a statement regarding the sanctions. “The IRGC has played a central role to Iran becoming the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday. “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 singled out the Guard as the “key Iranian entity” enabling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to engage in brutal violence against his own people. He also noted the IRGC Quds Force has provided material support to terrorist activities of Hezbollah, Hamas and the Taliban.
IRGC Command Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari warned if the Trump administration designated his force as a terrorist group, American forces can expect repercussions, particularly on the battlefield in the Middle East.
“If the news is correct about the stupidity of the American government in considering the Guards a terrorist group, then the Guards will consider the American army to be like Daesh all around the world particularly in the Middle East,” said Gen. Jafari, according to the Tehran Times.
“The Americans are too small to be able to harm the Revolutionary Guards,” added Ali Akbar Velayati, the top adviser to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Breitbart reported, “In January 2016, IRGC vessels captured and humiliated 10 U.S. Navy sailors after their two ships drifted into Iranian waters. Iran ended up releasing the American sailors the following day.”
Trump has consistently criticized the Iran nuclear deal for failing to address the terrorist activities of the Islamic Republic.