The United States will on Thursday order sanctions against the Iranian military, media reports said a day after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice singled out Iran as the biggest threat to US security.
Rice and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson are to designate Iran's elite Quds force as a supporter of terrorism and its Revolutionary Guards as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction, triggering economic sanctions, the
New York Times
The sanctions allow efforts to financially isolate Iran's military and press hundreds of foreign companies doing business with it to back out or risk US sanctions, the newspapers reported.
These will be the broadest sanctions imposed on Iran since the country's Islamic revolution in 1979 and comes as the international community is embroiled in a mounting standoff over Iran's nuclear programme.
It is also the first the United States has directly sanctioned another country's military, the
The Quds Force, the foreign operations branch of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, runs Tehran's covert activities throughout the Middle East, though its existence has never been officially acknowledged.
US commanders say Quds operatives have armed and trained Shiite militias that have attacked US troops in Iraq's bloody sectarian conflict.
The Revolutionary Guard Corps, the most powerful wing of Iran's military, controls construction companies, pharmaceutical plants, and segments of the oil industry.