U.S. to Punish Iran's Military

( LatWp ) - The Bush administration plans to roll out an unprecedented package of unilateral sanctions against Iran Thursday, including the long-awaited designations of its Revolutionary Guard Corps as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and of the elite Quds Force for supporting terrorism, according to senior administration officials.

The package, scheduled to be announced jointly by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., marks the first time that the United States has tried to isolate or punish another country's military. It is the broadest set of punitive measures imposed on Tehran since the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy, the officials said.

"This is a very powerful set of measures designed to send a message to Iran that there will be a cost to what they do. We decided on them because we have seen no change in Iranian behavior," said a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the measures have not yet been announced. "Our diplomacy needs to be stronger and more effective."

The move caps a year of growing U.S. pressure on Tehran, including billions of dollars in arms sales to Persian Gulf allies and Israel, interception of Iranian arms shipments in Iraq and Afghanistan, detention of Iranian agents in Iraq, and pressure on the United Nations and European allies to increase Iran's isolation. The dramatic U.S. steps underscore the escalating tensions between the United States and Iran.

"The policies of Iran constitute perhaps the single greatest challenge for American security interests in the Middle East, and possibly around the world, because the combination of Iranian terrorism, Iranian repression at home and the pursuit of nuclear weapons technology - technologies that could lead to a nuclear weapon - is a very dangerous mix," Rice said Wednesday in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The new sanctions will empower the United States to financially isolate a large part of Iran's military and anyone inside or outside Iran who does business with it, U.S. officials said. The measures could affect hundreds of foreign companies by squeezing them to drop Iranian business or risk U.S. sanctions.

The Revolutionary Guard Corps, which numbers at least 125,000, is the most powerful wing of Iran's military. It controls a growing sector of the economy, including construction companies, aspects of the oil industry, pharmaceutical plants, telecommunications and ordinary commerce. U.S. officials said it also operates the front companies that procure nuclear technology.

The administration will designate the entire Revolutionary Guard under Executive Order 13382, signed by President Bush in June 2005, which allows the United States to freeze the assets of any proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and its supporters. Iran is being designated for its ballistic missile program. The United States will announce a list of Iranians involved in that program - civilians as well as military officials - who will also be designated, U.S. officials said.

Under the same executive order, the administration also intends to designate Iran's Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics, which controls Iran's defense industries, as well as companies owned or controlled by the Revolutionary Guard, U.S. officials said.

The overall impact, according to U.S. officials, will be to make a pariah of the most critical parts of Iran's military and its defense and commercial industries.

The Quds Force, the foreign operations branch of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, will be designated separately as a supporter of terrorism under Executive Order 13224, which Bush signed two weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to obstruct terrorist funding, U.S. officials said. It authorizes the United States to identify individuals, businesses, charities and extremist groups engaged in terrorism.

The Quds Force - "Quds" is Arabic for Jerusalem - is estimated to number up to 15,000 and runs Tehran's covert activities throughout the Middle East, including arms, aid and training for groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. U.S. officials say that it has provided the high-tech bombs capable of penetrating armored vehicles and the roadside explosives that are the No. 1 killer of U.S. forces in Iraq.

Although Iran's suspected weapons programs have been a longtime problem for the United States, the Quds Force's operations in Iraq have become a bigger immediate challenge. "The Quds Force controls the policy for Iraq," Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said earlier this month. "There should be no confusion about that."

The U.S. decision to impose unilateral sanctions reflects the administration's deepening frustration over Iran's role in attacks against American troops in Iraq, its aid to the Taliban in Afghanistan, and its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment that could be used for both peaceful energy and to develop a bomb. U.S. efforts to engage Iran in a dialogue - between their respective ambassadors in Baghdad beginning in March - have been matched by an escalation in the quantity and quality of Iranian arms provided to Shiite militants in Iraq, U.S. officials said.

Administration officials say that they are imposing new sanctions to demonstrate a commitment to diplomacy, even amid increasing rumblings from neoconservatives outside the administration about possible military action.

In a speech Sunday, Vice President Dick Cheney warned Tehran of "serious consequences" if it continues on its present course. "Our country and the entire international community cannot stand by as a terror-supporting state fulfills its most aggressive ambitions," he said.

The United States hopes that allies in Europe and Asia will impose similar sanctions, because efforts to get a tough U.N. resolution have stalled as a result of Russian and Chinese opposition. "The international community's got to get a lot tougher if it's going to be resolved diplomatically," Rice said about Iran's suspected nuclear program.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Israel says Abu Dhabi crown prince invites Israeli PM for 1st official visit
Israel says Abu Dhabi crown prince invites Israeli PM for 1st official visit
Turkey reveals cargo volume handled from Egypt in 8M2021
Turkey reveals cargo volume handled from Egypt in 8M2021
Saudi index hits 15-year peak as most Gulf bourses gain
Saudi index hits 15-year peak as most Gulf bourses gain
Loading Bars
Latest
Israel detects 1st case of COVID-19 Delta variant "AY4.2"
Bomb threat issued in Washington DC
U.S. secretary of homeland security tests positive for COVID-19 after full vaccination
North Korea confirms it launched SLBM
Israel says Abu Dhabi crown prince invites Israeli PM for 1st official visit
Volkswagen executive sees global chip shortage running well into 2022
Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry makes Twitter post in connection with anniversary of liberation from occupation of Zangilan (PHOTO)
Chronicles of Victory: President Ilham Aliyev addresses the nation due to liberation of Zangilan on October 20, 2020 (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Chronicles of Victory: October 20, 2020
U.S. workers face layoffs as U.S COVID-19 vaccine mandates kick in
21 passengers escape plane safely after crash in Texas, officials say
Facebook to pay up to $14.25 mln to settle U.S. employment discrimination claims
Azerbaijan discloses names of returned Armenian servicemen
Uzbekistan exports $625 million worth of fruits and vegetables in 9 months
UK records highest daily COVID death toll since early March
Ukrainian Bees Airline plans to launch Odessa-Tbilisi-Odessa flights starting October 22
Iranian official dismisses 'tensions' at Astara customs, says activity with Azerbaijan soars
Turkmenistan starts rice harvest in Dashoguz region
Azerbaijan supports all int’l efforts to ensure transparency in extractive industries – minister
Refining activity of Iran's Fajr Jam Gas Refining Company soars
Iran’s Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Corporation sets new record
Azerbaijan's defense minister visits newly established commando military unit (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Iran’s PMO declares data on load/unload operations in Jask Port
Iran intends to increase exports through Astara
Turkey reveals cargo traffic via its ports from Portugal for 8M2021
Exports of Iran to Kyrgyzstan booming
President Ilham Aliyev receives Croatia's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs (VIDEO)
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on October 20
President Ilham Aliyev expresses condolences to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price rebounds
Azerbaijan transfers captured Armenian servicemen back to Armenia
Uzbekistan plans to exempt import and sale of meat products from VAT
Turkey shares data on maritime cargo shipment with Russia for 8M2021
Azerbaijan shares data on oil transported via BTC pipeline in 9M2021
USAID to provide additional funds for Kazakhstan to fight COVID-19
Turkey announces data on cargo traffic with Italy for 8M2021
Kazakhstan imposes export restrictions for some timber types
Azerbaijan names locations of future national parks in liberated territories
Azerbaijan demands certain steps from Armenia at UN International Court of Justice
Iran’s 9M2021 Turkish cement imports up
Iran to host meeting on economic co-op with Turkmenistan
Georgian foreign trade turnover increases
Iran increases petrochemicals production
Kazakhstan sees increase in number of open trading accounts
​Iran allocates more funds for oil and gas projects in Ilam Province
Turkey unveils data on cargo traffic via its ports from Spain
Georgia's domestic export up in 9M2021
Value of Turkish cement exports to Georgia for 8M2021 down
Turkey shares data on cargo traffic with Greece for 8M2021
Turkey reveals cargo volume handled from Egypt in 8M2021
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 2,102 more COVID-19 cases, 863 recoveries
Cargo traffic on Azerbaijan's section of TRACECA for 8M2021 revealed
IMF lowers breakeven oil price level for Azerbaijan
Saudi index hits 15-year peak as most Gulf bourses gain
Israel's Bank Mizrahi Tefahot to issue $1.1 bln of CPI-linked bonds
Iran seeks to complete semi-finished project related to Lake Urmia's revitalization
Iran imports trucks to renovate transportation fleet
IMF revises up forecasts for Azerbaijan’s non-oil GDP growth
Iran`s domestic appliances production increases
IMF reveals forecast for Azerbaijan’s annual inflation
Iran's imports from neighboring countries up
Turkey discloses volume of cargo shipment via its ports from Singapore for 8M2021
Hungarian companies to attend Rebuild Karabakh EXPO
Azerbaijan raises gas exports via BTE pipeline
IMF predicts growth for Azerbaijan's GDP
Azerbaijani ministry denies rumors about full transition of schools to online lessons
Slovakia interested in deepening relations with Azerbaijan - FM
Turkey reveals cargo traffic with Morocco for 8M2021
Data on cargo shipping between Turkey and Algeria for 8M2021 revealed
Turkey shares data on cargo traffic with Israel for 8M2021
TAP partially stems increase in gas prices – managing director
Iran to sell oil through private sector
Iran started exploration of mining sites in South Khorasan Province
Minister talks preferential loans issued in Azerbaijan since early 2021
Bakcell will be ready to implement eSIM project in Azerbaijan
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for October 19
Iran's steel production increases
Iran eyes to boost domestic production in mining, industrial and commercial sectors
AccessBank eyes increasing loan portfolio mainly in segment of micro, agricultural entrepreneurs - Acting Chairman of Board (Interview)
National bank of Georgia shares data on payment cards issuance
Average mobile internet download speed continues to grow in Azerbaijan - Ookla
Galt & Taggart publishes overview of Georgia's economic growth
USAID selecting Turkmen business projects for co-financing
Eni Turkmenistan Ltd opens tender for supply of wellhead equipment
Azerbaijan exported most of its oil to Italy in 9M2021 - State Customs Committee
Iran ready to attract investment in renewable energy sector - minister
Azerbaijan - supporter of normalization of relations with Armenia, says FM
Azerbaijan, Slovakia eye signing agreement on economic co-op
Slovakia to supply Azerbaijan with de-mining machines in near future
Azerbaijan denies rumors about impeding exports from Iran to Russia
Iran Standards and Quality Inspection Agency releases car quality report
Iran to complete railway transit corridors - RAI
Baku Expo Center to soon open 'Rebuild Karabakh' exhibition
Joint press conference of Azerbaijani and Slovak FMs held in Baku (PHOTO/VIDEO)
VTB Bank in Georgia to back up creation of Nuclear Medicine and Diagnostic Center
Uzbekistan to produce its first electric cars
Turkey's steel export to Uzbekistan surges in value for 9M2021
Turkey shares data for cargo traffic via domestic ports from Ukraine in 8M2021
Azerbaijani, Slovak FMs holding expanded meeting (PHOTO)
All news