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More Use of the 2018 Executive Order on Elections: State Dept. Designates Iran Group as Terrorists to Freeze US Assets

Today, the Department of State has designated the Saraya al-Mukhtar group as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist pursuant to Executive Order 13224 for posing a significant risk of committing acts of terrorism that threaten the national security and foreign policy of the United States.

The move comes when Iran, which supports Democrat Joe Biden for President, announced what policy Biden would be supporting that benefits Iran.

The leader of Iran told reporters, “the administration of President-elect Joe Biden would be obligated to rejoin the JCPOA unless it chooses to break the law and mounts an insurgency.”

According to a Tuesday Press Release from the US Department of State:

“Saraya al-Mukhtar is an Iran-backed terrorist organization based in Bahrain, reportedly receiving financial and logistic support from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Saraya al-Mukhtar’s self-described goal is to depose the Bahraini government with the intention of paving the way for Iran to exert greater influence in Bahrain. The group has plotted attacks against U.S. personnel in Bahrain and has offered cash rewards for the assassination of Bahraini officials.

This designation seeks to deny Saraya al-Mukhtar the resources to commit acts of terrorism. Among other consequences, all of the group’s property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or hereafter come within the possession or control of U.S. persons, are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with it,” the statement read.

It sounds similar to the wording Pompeo used earlier in December against Chinese groups.

The State Department notice went on, “This action notifies the U.S. public and the international community that Saraya al-Mukhtar poses a significant risk of committing acts of terrorism. Designations of terrorist organizations expose and isolate them and deny them access to the U.S. financial system. Moreover, designations can assist the law enforcement actions of other U.S. agencies and governments.”

Reuters reported in defense of the Iranian group:

“The United States on Tuesday designated the Bahrain-based Saraya al-Mukhtar group as a terrorist organization, accusing it of being backed by Iran and of having plotted attacks against U.S. personnel in the Gulf Arab state.

Reuters reported in defense of the group:

“The move, which comes amid a slew of sanctions announced by Washington as President Donald Trump’s term nears a close, designates Saraya al-Mukhtar, a marginal group operating underground, as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist”. Most of the group’s members are in jail or in Iran.”

Tuesday’s action freezes any of the group’s U.S. assets and generally bars Americans from dealing with it.

Pompeo also accused the group of having received financial and logistical support from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which controls a business empire as well as elite armed and intelligence forces in Iran.

The IRGC is blacklisted by Washington.

The foreign ministry in Bahrain, which hosts the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet as a regional security bulwark against Iran, issued a statement welcoming the move as an important step “in combating malign acts and intentions of this terrorist group.”


In October, before the 2020 Presidential election, the Department of Treasury released a statement about election interference from Iran and the same 2018 Executive Order:

“Today, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated five Iranian entities for attempting to influence elections in the United States. The Iranian regime has targeted the United States’ electoral process with brazen attempts to sow discord among the voting populace by spreading disinformation online and executing malign influence operations aimed at misleading U.S. voters. Components of the Government of Iran, disguised as news organizations or media outlets, have targeted the United States in order to subvert U.S. democratic processes.

“The Iranian regime uses false narratives and other misleading content to attempt to influence U.S. elections,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “This Administration is committed to ensuring the integrity of the U.S. election system and will continue to counter efforts from any foreign actor that threatens our electoral processes.”

Treasury designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the IRGC-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), and Bayan Rasaneh Gostar Institute (Bayan Gostar) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13848 for having directly or indirectly engaged in, sponsored, concealed, or otherwise been complicit in foreign interference in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. The Iranian Islamic Radio and Television Union (IRTVU) and International Union of Virtual Media (IUVM) were designated pursuant to E.O. 13848 for being owned or controlled by the IRGC-QF. The IRGC, including the IRGC-QF, has been designated under multiple authorities since 2007.

The Iranian regime’s disinformation efforts have targeted a global audience through a variety of covert media organizations. Disinformation campaigns run by the Iranian regime focus on sowing discord among readers via social media platforms and messaging applications, and frequently involve mischaracterizing information.”

Full release here.

President Trump has already enacted the 2018 Executive order numerous times.

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