The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Hezbollah and other terrorist entities are “a threat to Americans here at home,” said Nathan Sales, former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights of the United States.
In an interview with Ellie Cohanim on “Global Perspectives,” Sales stressed that Iran and its proxies could attack America at any time.
“We need to do everything we can to prevent them from conducting operations here,” he said.
A highlight of Sales role during his time with the Trump administration was designating the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization or FTO—a “gold standard” sanction that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken just relegated to “symbolic.”
“The FTO sanction is a lot more than mere symbolism,” said Sales. “It imposes costs that other terrorism sanctions simply cannot match.”
These include labeling it a criminal offense to provide material support to a FTO with material support defined as anything ranging from weapons to money to training. Single offenses can put an individual in jail for up to 20 years.
Moreover, if a person is a member of an FTO, whether he or she committed any act or not, that person cannot enter the United States.
“So, if you take away the IRGC status as a FTO, you make it harder to secure our borders against IRGC members and enablers who might be trying to come here to the United States,” stressed Sales. “This is about hardening our borders. This is about protecting the victims of terrorism. And this is about enabling prosecutors to go after some really bad guys.”
Another Iranian proxy and terrorist organization that America needs to pay attention to is Hezbollah, he added. The terrorist organization has stored weapons caches across the globe, including in South America, Asia, Africa, and Eastern and Western Europe.
“You ask: Why is this Lebanese terrorist group storing these weapons across the world? And the reason is because they are stockpiling weapons, stockpiling explosives to be used whenever their masters in Tehran dictate,” he said.
That’s how Hezbollah came to blow up the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires a number of years ago and how it attacked an Israeli tour group in Bulgaria more recently, he said.
“That is what Hezbollah does,” explained Sales. “And we know that our southern border is not secure by any stretch of the imagination. And terrorist organizations are always looking for vulnerabilities. They’re always looking for ways to exploit weaknesses in our borders, whether at international airports, seaports or land ports. So anytime you have a terrorist organization that is active in the Western Hemisphere, we need to be mindful of the risks that our insecure southern border poses to the possibility of them coming across the border.”
About “Global Perspectives with Ellie Cohanim”:
“Global Perspectives” is Jewish News Syndicate’s newest production. Join former U.S. Deputy Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism at the U.S. Department of State Ellie Cohanim, as she hosts some of the most important geopolitical conversations taking place in the Jewish world today. Cohanim, a sought-after speaker in her own right, interviews heads of state, policymakers, thought leaders and activists, in frank and open discussions.
These conversations provide key insights into critical and time-sensitive issues, including the Iranian nuclear threat, the rise of violent anti-Semitism, anti-Zionist activities, Christian and Muslim support for Israel, and the historic Abraham Accords.