December 16, 2020
FILE – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a News Conference at the State Department in Washington, DC, US. PHOTO: REUTERS
By Asharq Al-Awsat
The United States on Tuesday placed a pro-Iranian group based in Bahrain on its global “terror list,” accusing it of plotting attacks on US troops in the Gulf kingdom.
The group, Saraya al-Mukhtar, poses a “significant risk of committing acts of terrorism that threaten the national security and foreign policy of the United States,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
“Saraya al-Mukhtar is an Iran-backed terrorist organization based in Bahrain, reportedly receiving financial and logistic support from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps,” Pompeo said.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have been on the US “Designated Global Terrorist” list since 2019.
“Saraya al-Mukhtar’s self-described goal is to depose the Bahraini government with the intention of paving the way for Iran to exert greater influence in Bahrain,” Pompeo said. “The group has plotted attacks against US personnel in Bahrain and has offered cash rewards for the assassination of Bahraini officials.”
Placing Saraya al-Mukhtar on the list freezes any assets it has in the United States, deprives it of access to the US financial system and bans US citizens from any dealings with the group.
The Shiite Saraya al-Mukhtar is known on the internet for making threats against the royal family. It was accused in 2017 of hijacking the Twitter account of Bahrain’s foreign minister.
President Donald Trump has pledged to step up the pressure on Iran until the end of his term in the White House on January 20.
Bahrain’s foreign ministry welcomed the designation, saying it was a “significant positive step to confront the malign intentions and practices of this terrorist organization that is backed the Iran Revolutionary Guards.”
It hailed Washington’s efforts in combating terrorist extremist groups, underlining “the importance of the international community in assuming its responsibilities and seriously acting against terrorism wherever it may be in order to rid the world of its evils.”