Features

Trump turns up heat on Iran

The US president has made Iran an outlaw state. Matthew Partridge reports.

942-Iran-634

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard: America says it is a terrorist group

On Monday the US designated the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) "as a foreign terrorist organisation" as Washington "sought to increase the cost of Tehran's military adventurism", says The Times. The move, which has been "fiercely debated" within the administration for months, "is the first time the US has labelled a foreign state entity as a terrorist group". The IRGC is already under economic sanctions, but this new move "exposes anyone who supports or does business with it to criminal prosecution in the US".

A maximum-pressure campaign

Hold on, says David Gardner in the Financial Times. While the IRGC is clearly "not Iran's version of the Boy Scouts", it is "not clear what designating the IRGC as terrorists will do". After all, the Quds Force was already designated by the US as a supporter of terrorism in 2007. Ironically, many experts argue that the "economic distortions" created by existing international sanctions have helped the IRCG consolidate its business "empire". Trump's decision last year to pull out of the agreement that relaxed sanctions on Iran in return for it suspending nuclear enrichment "essentially re-empowered theguards and their hardline leaders".

Siding with the hawks

Even if Trump isn't re-elected next year, the designation will have implications beyond his presidency, says Eli Lake on Bloomberg. It makes it "much more difficult" for a Democratic president to revive the Iran deal, should they win in 2021.To lift the sanctions, any future administration "would have to make a determination that the IRGC was out of the terrorism business". Given that terrorism "is in the organisation's nature", such a reversal would be like saying that "the IRS is no longer engaged in collecting taxes". In effect, Trump has designated Iran an "outlaw state".

Recommended

The US Federal Reserve is about to rein in its money-printing – what does that mean for markets?
US Economy

The US Federal Reserve is about to rein in its money-printing – what does that mean for markets?

America’s central bank is talking surprisingly tough about tightening monetary policy. And it’s not the only one. John Stepek looks at what it all mea…
23 Sep 2021
I wish I knew what contagion was, but I’m too embarrassed to ask
Too embarrassed to ask

I wish I knew what contagion was, but I’m too embarrassed to ask

Most of us probably know what “contagion” is in a biological sense. But it also crops up in financial markets. Here's what it means.
21 Sep 2021
The charts that matter: more pain for goldbugs
Economy

The charts that matter: more pain for goldbugs

Gold investors saw more disappointment this week as the yellow metal took a tumble. Here’s what’s happened to the charts that matter most to the globa…
18 Sep 2021
With the right political will, inflation can be defeated
Inflation

With the right political will, inflation can be defeated

Governments and central banks can easily control inflation, says Merryn Somerset Webb – they just need the will.
17 Sep 2021

Most Popular

The times may be changing, but don’t change how you invest
Small cap stocks

The times may be changing, but don’t change how you invest

We are living in strange times. But the basics of investing remain the same: buy fairly-priced stocks that can provide an income. And there are few be…
13 Sep 2021
Two shipping funds to buy for steady income
Investment trusts

Two shipping funds to buy for steady income

Returns from owning ships are volatile, but these two investment trusts are trying to make the sector less risky.
7 Sep 2021
How to stop recurring subscriptions becoming a drain on your money
Personal finance

How to stop recurring subscriptions becoming a drain on your money

Tracking and pruning subscriptions isn’t as easy as it sounds. Here's how to take charge.
14 Sep 2021