Security and Resilience (Cyber and Physical)

U.S. designates Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as terrorist group

The Trump Administration on April 8 said that it was designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization “to counter Iran’s global campaign of terrorism.”

The White House noted in a fact sheet that the move marks the first time that the United States has designated part of another government as a foreign terrorist organization.

The action “puts other governments and the private sector on notice about the nature of the IRGC, which operates front companies and institutions around the world to fund terror,” the White House said.

The Wall Street Journal was the first to report in its April 6-7 edition that the Trump Administration was planning such a move.

The designation imposes sanctions that include freezes on assets the IRGC “may have in U.S. jurisdictions and a ban on Americans doing business with it,” the Associated Press reported on April 8.

“On Saturday, a senior member of the Iranian Parliament said on Twitter that Iran would designate the United States military as a terrorist organization,” the New York Times reported on April 8.

The AP reported that American commanders “are concerned that the designation may prompt Iran to retaliate against U.S. forces in the region, and those commanders plan to warn U.S. troops remaining in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere of that possibility.”

There is no actionable information at this time to suggest an immediate attack from threat groups that support Iranian interests against the North American electricity sector.

Open source reports include the following attacks and campaigns attributed to Iran:

  • Shamoon: Destructive malware targeting Saudi Arabia oil/petrochemical sector and companies associated with it. First seen 2012, then again in 2016, and most recently in December 2018.
  • Operation Cleaver: Report released in 2014, stating the targeting of many countries and sectors, including U.S. energy and electric utilities.

Additional information about possible impact to the electricity sector of the Trump Administration’s designation of the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization is available from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation's Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center.