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IRGC to Cash in On Nuke Deal

Sanctions lifted on Iran’s terror-backing war force

IRGC members march during a parade ceremony
IRGC members march during a parade ceremony / AP
• July 28, 2015 2:10 pm

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Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is poised to reap a large windfall as a result of a recently inked nuclear accord with Western powers that will fully remove economic sanctions on the fighting force and allow it to continue pursuing rogue activities across the globe, according to analysts and a copy of entities set to be delisted as part of the agreement.

In addition to lifting embargoes on Iran’s shipment of weapons and its ballistic missile program, the Obama administration has permitted the European Union to lift sanctions on the IRGC, which has long served as Iran’s main supporter of terrorism and has backed groups such as Hezbollah.

Under the deal, EU sanctions on the IRGC Air Force, the IRGC Quds Force, and the IRGC-Air Force Al-Ghadir Missile Command will be waived within eight years, according to the agreement.

Analysts familiar with the deal and sanctions waivers warn that the IRGC will become legitimized and further empowered to carry out its rogue mission to bolster the Islamic Republic.

The IRGC has been known to have a presence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen, among other places, and carries out the training and arming of pro-Iran fighters in those countries.

The entities that will be de-listed are direct arms of the IRGC, which is headed by Ami Ali Hajizadeh, who has boasted in recent months of his support for Palestinian terrorists and Hezbollah.

The Quds Force is an auxiliary IRGC entity that operates outside of the country.

The organization is headed by Ghassem Soleimani, who has been accused of murdering Americans. Soleimani, too, will be removed from EU sanctions lists as part of the deal.

The Al-Ghadir Command is responsible for running the IRGC’s missile programs.

"The Quds Force, the IRGC’s external arm, is active across the region," according to a policy brief by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD). "It fuels the Syrian government’s brutal war effort by transporting weapons, advisors and military personnel to Damascus."

"The group has trained foreign fighters from Afghanistan and Iraq to fight alongside Hezbollah in Syria, its senior commanders are on the front lines in Syria and Iraq and it was linked to a 2011 plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington," according to FDD.

Despite its activities, the Quds Force is likely to be given access to a new generation of aircraft due to the lifting of restrictions under the deal.

"Now that the U.S. has allowed sales of commercial aircraft, including cargo jets, to Iranian airlines, the Quds Force will have access to newer, larger, and more efficient planes with which to pursue its strategic objectives," according to FDD.

In addition to the IRGC entities, the EU also will delist a company known as Faratech, which has been identified as working to advance Iran’s heavy water research reactor. The company is still sanctioned by the United States for its work to further Iran’s nuclear program.

Saeed Ghasseminejad, an Iran expert and associate fellow at FDD, explained that the Obama administration caved to Iranian demands that its terror army receive sanctions relief from the European Union.

"Under the [final deal], the administration has permitted the EU to delist the IRGC sanctioned entities," Ghasseminejad said. "The sanctions relief means that the IRGC's financial empire will have access to the global financial markets and can trade with the European based companies."

"This means more financial resources for the IRGC, which instantly will be used to fund terrorism around the world, opposing the U.S. and its allies, and oppressing the Iranian people," he said. "By delisting the IRGC, the P5+1 is helping the Islamist terrorists to achieve their goal."

The IRGC is intimately tied to Iran’s economy via a series of companies and front organizations that primarily answer to the military force. The IRGC controls at least one-sixth of the Iranian economy, according to FDD.

Many of these sanctioned entities are poised to gain entry into the global economy when the EU waives sanctions.

The IRGC’s Khatam al-Anbia, for instance, is the country’s largest construction firm. It also has been designated by the United States "as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction."

The company is currently "developing Iran’s massive South Pars gas field, a pipeline to Pakistan, and even a Tehran metro line," according to an FDD policy briefing. "The nuclear deal stipulates that all European Union sanctions on the company will be removed."

The IRGC Cooperative Foundation also is set to benefit from the waiving of EU sanctions.

"The nuclear agreement will grant the foundation—through the general improvement in Iran’s economy and foreign direct investment—additional resources to expand its portfolio, and to invest in industrial assets and financial instruments overseas," according to FDD.

IRGC commanders also will be removed from EU sanctions lists under the deal.