Apr 8, 2019

Trump labels Iran's revolutionary guard a foreign terror organization

Members of the IRGC at a February rally marking the 40th anniversary of Iran's Islamic Revolution. Photo: Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Trump administration has designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization.

Why it matters: The Monday announcement, which marks the first time the U.S. has designated an element of a foreign government as a terrorist entity, is a further sign that the Trump administration will use any tool at its disposal to inflict pain on the Iranian regime. The pressure campaign has kicked into overdrive since President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal last May.

Details: The move is designed to drain revenue from businesses in Europe and elsewhere controlled by the IRGC.

  • "This is a tool we’ve used over many many years to gain leverage over foreign terrorist organizations," one official said. "This designation has a lot of bipartisan support, historically."
  • Trump has long wanted to make this designation. Senior administration officials told reporters Monday that the announcement comes after months of interagency deliberation "where everyone’s ideas were able to be heard," and that ultimately the final decision was made at the president's request.

What's next: Officials said the administration is calling on other nations to isolate the IRGC, stating that "many countries will face a pretty clear choice here."

  • "It's no secret that Europe and the U.S. don’t exactly see eye to eye on the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or the Iran nuclear deal]," one official said. "However, we do have a shared interest. … We should all be able to agree that the world leader of state-sponsored terrorism should not be able to use European soil as fertile ground for its terrorist operations."

The backdrop: The Wall Street Journal first reported the expected move last week, noting that national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have been "strong proponents of the move," according to U.S. officials.

  • However Pentagon officials, including chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford, have "cautioned against the move ... fearing it could lead to a backlash against U.S. forces in the region without inflicting the intended damage to the Iranian economy," per the WSJ.

Update: Shortly after the president's announcement, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council said it designated the U.S. Central Command, CENTCOM, and its forces as terrorist groups and labeled the U.S. a “supporter of terrorism,” per the AP.

Go deeper

Boris Johnson admitted to hospital as coronavirus symptoms persist

Photo: Ray Tang/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been admitted to the hospital for tests as a "precautionary step" as his coronavirus symptoms have continued to persist 10 days after testing positive, according to a Downing Street spokesperson.

Why it matters: Johnson was the first major elected leader to test positive for the coronavirus. He was admitted on the same day that Queen Elizabeth II gave a rare televised address to the nation, urging the British people to confront the pandemic with the same "self-discipline" and "resolve" that has defined the country in times of crisis.

Go deeperArrow16 mins ago - World

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 1,252,265 — Total deaths: 68,413 — Total recoveries: 258,495Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 325,185 — Total deaths: 9.267 — Total recoveries: 16,820Map.
  3. Public health latest: CDC launches national trackers and recommends face coverings in public. Federal government will cover costs of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured. Surgeon general says this week will be "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. Biden says DNC may have to hold virtual convention.
  5. States updates: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state is "literally going day-to-day" with supplies.
  6. Work update: Queen Elizabeth II urges the British people to confront pandemic with "self-discipline" and "resolve" in rare televised address.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Queen Elizabeth addresses U.K. amid coronavirus crisis: "We will meet again"

In a rare televised address on Sunday, Queen Elizabeth II urged the United Kingdom to respond to the coronavirus pandemic with the "self-discipline" and "resolve" that have defined the British people in moments of crisis.

Why it matters: It's just the fifth time that the queen, who traditionally speaks to the nation once a year on Christmas Day, has addressed the British people in this way during her 68-year reign.

Go deeperArrow46 mins ago - World