US Carves Out Exceptions for Foreigners Dealing with IRGC

Tuesday, 23 April, 2019 - 06:00
London - Asharq Al-Awsat

The United States has largely carved out exceptions so that foreign governments, firms and NGOs do not automatically face US sanctions for dealing with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) after the group’s designation by Washington as a foreign terrorist group, according to three current and three former US officials.

The exemptions, granted by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and described by a State Department spokesman in response to questions from Reuters, mean officials from countries such as Iraq who may have dealings with the IRGC, would not necessarily be denied US visas.

“Simply engaging in conversations with IRGC officials generally does not constitute terrorist activity,” the State Department spokesman said when asked what repercussions US-allied countries could face if they had contact with the IRGC.

Pompeo’s carve-outs appear designed to limit the potential liability for foreign governments, companies and NGOs, while leaving open the possibility that individuals within those groups could be punished for helping the IRGC, Reuters said.

“Under the first group exemption, the secretary determined that, generally - but with one important exception - a ministry, department, agency, division, or other group or sub-group of any foreign government will not be treated as a Tier III terrorist organization,” the State Department spokesman said.

A Tier III terrorist group is one that has not formally been designated as an FTO or a terrorist group under other laws, but that the US government deems to have engaged in “terrorist activity,” and hence, its members may not enter the United States.

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