IRGC responds to Trump, picks up "speed" in missile program
Soldiers of the Iranian elite forces (IRGC) participate in the largest-ever war games near the town of Torbat-e-Jaam in 1998. Photo: AP
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) announced it will be enhancing its ballistic missile program "with more speed in reaction to Trump's hostile approach towards this revolutionary organization," per Reuters. This suggests Trump's sanctions move is likely going to illicit some tougher behavior from the IRGC, since experts say Tehran is likely to view the sanctions as a direct threat to its military.
What to watch for: "If they feel the sanctions are a lot then they would very much step up the ante — and step up their attacks," Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu, Clinical Associate Professor of Global Affairs at NYU School of Professional Studies Center for Global Affairs, told Axios. The IRGC confirmed they will continue to confront the U.S. That could affect the ongoing fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
Tehran views its missile program as potential protection against the U.S., although this program, they claim, is not about developing a missile capable of carrying a nuclear weapon. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said today that Iran is "not acting within the spirit of the [nuclear] deal" and maintained that the missiles program is "continuing unabated."