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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Image Credit: AP

Abu Dhabi: The US designated on Tuesday the Iranian-backed and Bahrain-based Saraya Al Mukhtar or Mukhtar Brigades as a terrorist organisation, accusing it of plotting attacks against US personnel in the Gulf state.

In a statement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the group is “reportedly receiving financial and logistic support from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.”

Pompeo added that 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. The group has plotted attacks against US personnel in Bahrain and has offered cash rewards for the assassination of Bahraini officials.”

As a result of the designation, Pompeo said: “All of the group’s property and interests that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or hereafter come within the possession or control of US persons, are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with it.”

Pompeo also tweeted: “Today’s designation of Saraya Al Mukhtar sends a strong message to the Iranian regime that we will not allow its terrorist proxies to threaten the people of Bahrain and the US personnel stationed there.”

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps has been subject to sanctions since 2019, after Washington designated it a “foreign terrorist organization.”

Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the United States’ decision to classify ‘the so-called Saraya Al Mukhtar’ a global terrorist organisation that threatens the security of Bahrain and the countries of the world, as an important positive step to confront the malicious actions and intentions of this terrorist organisation supported by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, combat its destabilising activities in the region and the dry up of its sources of financing,”according to a statement carried by Bahrain News Agency.

The Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs praised the relentless efforts undertaken by the United States in combating and confronting all extremist terrorist organisations, stressing the importance of the international community assuming its responsibilities and taking serious action to eliminate terrorism wherever it is and rid the world of its evils.

The classification of the group on the US blacklist aims to deprive it of resources by freezing all its assets in the United States, if any, and preventing its dealings through the US financial system.

This Shiite group is especially known on the internet for its threats to the Bahraini regime. It was accused in 2017 of hacking the Twitter account of the Bahraini Foreign Minister.

The Donald Trump administration, which is carrying out a campaign of “maximum pressure” on Iran, has pledged to tighten sanctions against Tehran and its regional allies until the end of its mandate on January 20.