Iran General NewsIran Guards brush off U.S. threat: report

Iran Guards brush off U.S. threat: report

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Reuters: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards will grow in strength despite U.S. efforts to isolate the force, a Guards official said in remarks published on Thursday after Washington’s threat to brand it a “terrorist” group. TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran’s Revolutionary Guards will grow in strength despite U.S. efforts to isolate the force, a Guards official said in remarks published on Thursday after Washington’s threat to brand it a “terrorist” group.

U.S. officials said on Wednesday the United States might soon name the Guards a foreign terrorist group, a move that would enable Washington to target the force’s finances.

Washington is leading efforts to isolate Iran for refusing to rein in its nuclear program and comply with U.N. demands. The United States says Iran is seeking atomic bombs, a charge Tehran denies, saying it wants only to make electricity.

“Not only would the Revolutionary Guards not be isolated but rather it would actively continue its trend of growth with strength,” the head of the political office of the Guards, named only as Javani, was quoted by the daily Jam-e Jam as saying.

“Americans have been fighting the Islamic system for 27 years and create plots against it. But the Revolutionary Guards have made defending the Islamic system its duty and will increase its capabilities in this regard day by day,” he added.

Iran experts and diplomats said the squeeze on financing for the Guards also was aimed at pacifying hard-liners within and outside the Bush administration who want military action against Tehran and are frustrated that diplomatic pressure has not worked either on curbing the nuclear program or over Iraq.

Analysts say sanctions on the Guards would be difficult to enforce and the main goal seemed to be to put pressure on Iran by using the designation to press financial institutions to cut ties with Iranian businesses.

The Revolutionary Guards are an ideologically driven force, who see themselves as a guardians of the Islamic Republic. They have a separate command structure from the regular military.

As well as being a fighting force, the Guards have a range of business interests, including in energy projects awarded to its engineering subsidiary Khatam al-Anbia.

The United States has imposed sanctions on two Iranian banks, a move which international financiers say have further deterred them from dollar dealings, and even other currency transactions, with the Islamic Republic.

Some analysts say the Guards have grown in influence since the election in 2005 of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a former commander. They say ex-officers have been appointed to political posts and more may run in the March parliamentary election.

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