The US State Department refused to comment on press reports indicating differences within President Donald Trump’s administration on the decision to add the Quds Force, the foreign arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and other Iraqi Shiite militias to a terror list.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was said to be pushing towards issuing a new list. This step is supported by Trump and US National Security Advisor John Bolton.
The State Department said Pompeo had pointed out on his way to his Middle East tour this week that serious talks are underway on this issue and that decisions will be revealed soon.
On the other hand, a spokesman for the US Defense Department denied a New York Times report saying officials at the Pentagon and the CIA oppose designating the Quds Force or the Iraqi militias as terrorist groups, fearing a backlash on American troops.
The Defense Department is committed to confronting Iran over its destabilizing role in the region, al-Hurra channel quoted the Pentagon spokesman as saying.
“There are no reservations about any decision that may be issued regarding Iraqi militias or the Iranian Quds Force” he added.
The Times reported ahead of Pompeo’s Middle East tour that he plans to designate some Iraqi Shiite militias as foreign terrorist organizations.
Pompeo said he was looking at various groups, including the Revolutionary Guards in Iran, when asked by The Times on the flight to Kuwait about the proposed designations.
The Quds Force is led by Qassem Soleimani, who is already on a US terror list.
According to the Times, US military and intelligence officials said the increasing pressure on Iraq risks infuriating its Parliament, including politicians linked to Iran, which could limit the movements of the 5,200 United States troops based in Iraq.
Source » aawsat