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The Trump administration announces new sanctions designed to cut off Basij’s access to funding. Richard Wagner reports.
A Senior Official of the Trump administration announced today a new round of sanctions, which will focus on the Basij Resistance Force. Basij is allegedly engaged in the recruitment of child soldiers in Iran, to be trained to fight in various conflicts throughout the region, including on behalf of paramilitaries that support the Assad regime in Syria. Basij is an arm of Iran’s “Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)”, which was initially established to suppress protesters in Iran.
This new round of sanctions will focus heavily on Basij’s business ties, as they finance their activity with various international corporations that operate throughout the Middle East. In particular, the sanctions are intended to deny Basij access to their bank accounts.
During the press conference, several questions were asked pertaining to Saudi Arabia and the recent disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. While Saudi Arabia is a crucial ally in efforts to contain Iran, one of the questioners pointed out that this kind of behavior is the very same kind of behavior for which Iran is being targeted for sanctions. The Senior Official’s answer echoesTrump’s current positions, that this matter will be thoroughly investigated. No further action has been offered by the Trump administration yet.
For the time being, Iran’s support of Basij is well established, and the administration is going forward with further sanctions to economically cripple the Iranian government and its affiliates.