Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC): Terrorists Supporting Terrorism

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On April 12th, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) seized an Israeli ship near the Strait of Hormuz. While this represents one of the most overt and direct attacks by the IRGC against Israel, it underscores the broader support and training provided by the IRGC to groups like the

Houthis, Hamas, Hezbollah, and other militias and terrorist organizations. This support contributes to the destabilization of the Middle East and poses a threat to both Israeli and U.S. interests in the region.

Established during the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) stands as a formidable military force in Iran, operating directly under the authority of the Supreme Leader, presently Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Guided by an ideology vehemently opposed to Western influence, particularly directed towards the United States and Israel, the IRGC is renowned for its fervent slogans such as ‘Death to America’ and ‘Death to Israel,’ emblematic of its hostility towards these nations.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is known for its support of various militias and terrorist groups across the region. Notably, it provides assistance to Hamas in Gaza, furnishing weapons, financial aid, and training to bolster the group’s military capabilities.

Additionally, the IRGC backs Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in the Gaza Strip, Kata’ib Hezbollah, and Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq in Iraq, as well as Houthi rebels in Yemen. The Houthis are now active in disrupting shipping in the Red Sea.

The IRGC has been designated as a terrorist organization by several countries, including the United States. This designation is significant because the IRGC is an official government entity in Iran, making it one of the few state-backed actors to be labeled as a terrorist organization.

This raises legal questions regarding whether the Iranian government’s support for the IRGC constitutes aid to terrorist organizations, which is prohibited under international convention.

Most Americans have never forgotten nor forgiven the 1979 Islamic Revolution’s seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and the subsequent hostage debacle, which went on for more than one year. Over the past decade or so, Iran-backed militias have indeed been involved in conflicts in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq, where U.S. soldiers have faced combat, encountered security threats, or lost their lives.

These militias have often been supported, trained, and equipped by the Iranian government or its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), contributing to instability and violence in these countries.

In response to Iran’s aggression, the US and its allies have launched repeated strikes against Iran-backed groups in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Apart from supporting Israel, the US also backs numerous local partners, including the Yazidis, Kurds, Sunni Arab Tribes, Turkmen, Arab Tribal Militias, and Chaldean Christians. Consequently, it could be argued that both the US and Israel have been engaged in a proxy war with Iran for some time.

Retaliating against Iran’s proxies has done little to curb Iran’s aggressive actions. Since October 7th, there have been repeated clashes between American and allied troops against targets in Syria and Iraq, yet Iran’s aggression persists. Despite US and UK bombings in Yemen, Houthi attacks on ships persist.

At this moment, not only are Hezbollah and Hamas attacking Israel, and the Houthis attacking everyone else’s ships, but it also seems that Iran is threatening direct attacks on Israel. President Biden has warned Iran that the US is committed to defending Israel.

After years of limited engagement, Israel’s strategy now appears to aim for the complete elimination of Hamas, while also showing readiness to confront Hezbollah directly in Lebanon.

The proxy model has proven costly for the US, both in terms of lives and finances, yielding no tangible gains, not even peace. Furthermore, China and Russia leverage US failures in the Middle East to caution Taiwan, the Philippines, Ukraine, and Japan about the unreliability of the US as a partner.

Israel’s new strategy of directly and unequivocally destroying the bad guys is the one that no leader has dared try up until now. But it makes the most sense. And it would seem that the most logical step would be to cut the head off the snake, in a direct conflict with Iran.

Those who oppose a direct conflict with Iran often say that it would trigger a world war. But the reality is, there are only three major armies in the world capable of waging war overseas: the US, Russia, and China.

And it would not be in either Russia or China’s interests to go to war with the US over Iran. If they wanted a war with the US, there are a million other pretexts they could have come up with, but neither country has a mutual defense agreement with Iran.

If the US and Iran went to war, Russia and China would condemn the US actions. They would bring a resolution to the UN Security Council, and the US would veto it. A war would destabilize the Iranian government, nullifying its ability to support terrorist groups.

At the same time, Iran’s support for China with cheap oil, and Iran’s support for Russia with cheap drones, would also evaporate, bringing an end to the Ukraine War much closer.

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Dr. Antonio Graceffo, PhD, China MBA, is an economist and national security analyst with a focus on China and Russia. He is a graduate of American Military University.

You can email Antonio Graceffo here, and read more of Antonio Graceffo's articles here.


Thanks for sharing!