(January 3, 2020 / JNS) The U.S. State Department announced on Friday it has designated an Iranian proxy, Aas’ib Ahl al-Haq (also known as AAH) as a terrorist group, along with designating two of its leaders as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT).
“AAH and its leaders are violent proxies of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “Acting on behalf of their masters in Tehran, they use violence and terror to further the Iranian regime’s efforts to undermine Iraqi sovereignty.”
The action exemplifies the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran since withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, reimposing sanctions lifted under it, along with enacting new financial penalties against the Islamic Republic.
AAH is extensively funded and trained by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, an entity that was part of the IRGC designation as a terrorist group in April 2019. U.S. forces killed Quds Force Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a strike at Baghdad Airport on Thursday.
Led by Qays and Laith al-Khazali, who were sanctioned by the United States, AAH is an Iran-backed organization that has claimed responsibility for more than 6,000 attacks against U.S. and other forces since the group’s creation in 2006, according to the State Department.
It has carried out highly sophisticated operations, including mortar attacks on an American base, the downing of a British helicopter and an attack on the Karbala Provincial Headquarters that resulted in the capture and murder of five American soldiers.
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