Since coming to power in 1979, the Iranian regime has been implicated in assassinations, terrorist plots, and terrorist attacks in more than 40 countries.
Iran has engaged in these plots primarily through the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the IRGC, and its external operations branch the Qods Force. In 2019, the State Department designated the IRGC as a whole as a foreign terrorist organization, or FTO. The U.S. Treasury Department had designated the IRGC Qods Force, the IRCG-QF, as an FTO in 2007.
“The United States remains committed to exposing and disrupting plots by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to carry out violence abroad,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement.
On June 1, Secretary Blinken announced the United States is designating five members or affiliates of the IRGC and the IRGC-QF, “who have participated in a series of external plots or have been involved in targeting former United States government officials, foreign nationals and Iranian dissidents abroad.” Also designated was an airline company owned by one of the designated individuals.
Among those sanctioned are Shahram Poursafi and Mohammad Reza Ansari. In a statement, the Treasury Department said Poursafi is an Iranian national who, along with longtime Qods Force operative Ansari, “planned and attempted to assassinate two former U.S. government officials.” In August 2022, Poursafi was indicted by the Justice Department for providing and attempting to provide material support to a transnational murder plot. Ansari was also designated because of his involvement in conducting intelligence and lethal operations against Iranian dissidents and other non-Iranian nationals in the United States, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa.
Hossein Hafez Amini, a dual Iranian and Turkish national based in Türkiye, was sanctioned because he uses his connections in the aviation industry and his Türkiye-based company, Rey Airlines, to assist the Qods Force’s covert operations, including kidnapping and assassination plots targeting Iranian regime dissidents in Türkiye.
Two other individuals sanctioned are former IRGC-IO Counterespionage Chief Rouhallah Bazghandi, and IRGC’s Foreign Intelligence Chief Reza Seraj.
Secretary Blinken said, “Today’s actions demonstrate that the United States will continue to expose and disrupt the regime’s terrorist activities and its efforts to silence opposing voices.”