In a decision Tehran characterized as an intended “distraction” from the recent controversial death of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi kingdom announced on Tuesday that it and Bahrain had added Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and some of its senior commanders on their list of entities suspected of involvement in acts of terrorism.
“In multilateral action, the Kingdom Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom of Bahrain designated names… which provide the sponsorship and financial and material support to the Iranian terrorist activities,” read a statement from the nation’s security services, as reported by Saudi’s state-owned media outlet SPA.
The names included members of the IRGC and its Quds Force branch, a unit responsible for the Guards’ extraterritorial operations. The unit’s commander, Qassem Soleimani, was listed, as well as two members named Hamed Abdollahi and Abdul-Reza Shahlaii.
Shortly after the initial statement, senior ranking commander of the IRGC Esmaeil Kowsari said the announcement was designed to “distract the world and the region from the killing of Jamal Khashoggi,” the journalist who entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 seeking to obtain official documents and did not reemerge.
In 2011, the US Treasury Department sanctioned Soleimani, Abdollahi, and Shahlaii, alleging links to an assassination plot of former Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States Adil al-Jubeir, charges Iran dismissed as false.
Previously, US Representative Michael McCaul (R, Texas), head of the Committee on Homeland Security and member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, called for designating the Quds Force as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, highlighting the IRGC’s interventionist behavior in Syria and Iraq.
The IRGC, with the stated goal of protecting the “Republican system of Iran” and guarding the “1979 Revolution and its achievements,” is involved in multiple conflicts across the middle east which many view as a series of attempts by Tehran to expand its international influence.
In May, the US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal which intended to limit Tehran’s nuclear activities and military ambitions and also reimposed sanctions three months later. Another set of sanctions that aims to cripple the country entirely will target Iran’s oil industry and financial sector and will come into effect in November.
The move is part of a US “maximum pressure campaign,” according to White House National Security Adviser, John Bolton, to “deny the regime the revenue it needs to fund its destabilizing activities and to force it to make the stark choice between changing its behavior and continued economic disaster.”
Source » kurdistan24