The U.S. has officially designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization — the first time it has heaped that label on a part of a foreign government.
"The president has long believed that we should designate Iran's guard corps as a terrorist organization, and today we will be carrying out that policy," said one senior administration official during a background call on Monday.
The State Department has long designated Iran as a "state sponsor" of terrorism, and the Trump administration sees it as a "central banker" and supporter of terror groups, officials said.
"For many decades now the IRGC has tried to reshape the Middle East in Iran's favor," another senior administration official said.
The Pentagon said last week Iran was responsible for the deaths of more than 600 American service members during the Iraq War. "The IRGC has been threatening American troops almost since the time it has been formed," the official added. "Today the IRGC's plausible deniability is over."
"This designation ... underscores the fact that Iran's actions are fundamentally different from those of other governments," President Donald Trump said in a statement.
"This action will significantly expand the scope and scale of our maximum pressure on the Iranian regime. It makes crystal clear the risks of conducting business with, or providing support to, the IRGC. If you are doing business with the IRGC, you will be bankrolling terrorism."
Senior administration officials say the move is part of an "ongoing campaign to pressure the regime to behave." Iranian officials, meanwhile, have threatened to retaliate against American troops in the Middle East.
The Marine lieutenant colonel removed from command of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May was ousted over alleged "misconduct" but has not been charged with a crime, Task & Purpose has learned.
Lt. Col. Francisco Zavala, 42, who was removed from his post by the commanding general of 1st Marine Division on May 7, has since been reassigned to the command element of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and a decision on whether he will be charged is "still pending," MEF spokeswoman 1st Lt. Virginia Burger told Task & Purpose last week.
"We are not aware of any ongoing or additional investigations of Lt. Col. Zavala at this time," MEF spokesman 2nd Lt. Brian Tuthill told Task & Purpose on Monday. "The command investigation was closed May 14 and the alleged misconduct concerns Articles 128 and 133 of the UCMJ," Tuthill added, mentioning offenses under military law that deal with assault and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman.
"There is a period of due process afforded the accused and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty," he said.
When asked for an explanation for the delay, MEF officials directed Task & Purpose to contact 1st Marine Division officials, who did not respond before deadline.
The investigation of Zavala, completed on May 3 and released to Task & Purpose in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that he had allegedly acted inappropriately. The report also confirmed some details of his wife's account of alleged domestic violence that Task & Purpose first reported last month.
U.S. troops rejoice — the midnight curfew for service members in South Korea has been temporarily suspended, as command evaluates if you can be trusted to not act like wild animals in the streets of Pyeongtaek.
Late last month Activision's Infinity Ward dropped a teaser trailer for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare — a soft-reboot of one of it's most beloved games — and just two weeks after the May 30 reveal, the game developer unveiled some new details on what's in store for the first-person shooter's multiplayer: Juggernaut and ghillie suits!