10172017Tue

New US Policy on Iran Targets IRGC and Hezbollah

Iran Focus

London, 7 Oct - The White House is preparing a series of tough measures targeting Iran and its affiliates. In the coming days the new action is expected to be announced that will focus on two entities: Iran's Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah.

Two administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, and someone familiar with the unfolding policy on Iran, but not authorized to speak about private conversations, described the measures, which have not been officially announced. They said that financial sanctions on those doing business with the Revolutionary Guard are expected to be announced, as well as rewards for information leading to the arrest of two operatives of the Iran-backed Hezbollah.

Trump has called the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers one of America's "worst and most one-sided transactions" ever. However, on Friday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said that Trump is looking beyond the deal for ways to pressure Tehran. "The president isn't looking at one piece of this," Sanders said. "He's looking at all of the bad behavior of Iran — not just the nuclear deal as bad behavior, but the ballistic missile testing, destabilizing of the region, number one state sponsor of terrorism, cyber-attacks, illicit nuclear program.”

H.R. McMaster, the president's national security adviser, has been the key driver in developing the integrated strategy with the Defense, State and Treasury departments, and intelligence agencies, according to the person familiar with Iran policy.

Next week, during a policy speech on Iran, he is expected to decertify Iran's compliance in the landmark 2015 agreement. Still, this will stop short of pulling out of the deal. Lawmakers say Trump will refer the matter to Congress.

Next week, the State Department is expected to announce a total of $12 million in rewards for information leading to the location, arrest or conviction of two leaders of Hezbollah. $7 million of this money is for information about Talal Hamiyah, who is suspected of carrying out hijackings, attacks, and kidnappings of U.S. citizens. The other $5 million is for information about Fuad Shukr, a member of Hezbollah who runs the group's military forces in southern Lebanon, where the group is based.

Legislation signed in August gave Trump an October 31st deadline to either impose sanctions on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), or issue a waiver. It is believe that he will not sign the waiver, meaning the sanctions will automatically kick in.

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