The United States is looking at designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and the Muslim Brotherhood, an influential movement across the Middle East, as terrorist organizations, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Citing people familiar with the matter, the paper said the Trump administration could resort to executive actions to pin the terror label on the two groups.
A decision to target either of the two groups would mark a significant expansion of US sanctions against Islamist organizations in the Middle East, the report noted.
The White House is likely to move more quickly on the designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which could be less of a challenge to implement, a source was quoted as saying.
The Revolutionary Guard is Iran’s elite military unit and reports directly to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, with a command separate from Iran’s traditional military.
It was established following the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran and over the past decade has also grown to dominate Iran’s economy, with holdings in property, oil and gas and telecommunications.
Leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928, have said the group opposes political violence and wants to establish Islamic societies through democratic means.
Though the group’s reputation took a hit during Mohammed Morsi’s rule of Egypt in 2012, it retains millions of followers, and blacklisting the group could spark unrest, the Journal noted.
Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated parties hold seats in the parliaments of Jordan and Tunisia.
A move to designate the Muslim Brotherhood faces opposition from some officials in the US as well as some human-rights organizations, who say declaring the group a terror organization could have wide-ranging impact.
“The Muslim Brotherhood is a large and complex political organization operating in many countries,” Laura Pitter, senior US national security counsel at Human Rights Watch, told the Journal.
“By calling for the entire group to be designated as a terrorist organization, the Trump administration is making an extraordinarily broad policy determination that will harm the participation of Muslim groups in democratic processes.”
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