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Saudi, Bahrain Add Iran's Revolutionary Guards To Terror Lists

IRAN -- Gen. Qassem Soleimani (C), who heads the elite Quds Force of Iran's Revolutionary Guard attends a graduation ceremony of a group of the guard's officers in Tehran,June 30, 2018
DUBAI, Oct 23 (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday it and Bahrain had added Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and senior officers of its Quds Force to their lists of people and organisations suspected of involvement in terrorism.

The Saudi state news agency SPA quoted a statement from the security services saying Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force, and the force's Hamed Abdollahi and Abdul Reza Shahlai were named on the list.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury in 2011 alleged that Soleimani, Abdollahi and Shahlai were linked to a plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's former ambassador to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir, and imposed sanctions on them.

Iran at the time dismissed the accusations as false and demanded an apology from the U.S. government.

The office of the Revolutionary Guards and Iran's foreign ministry were not immediately available for comment on Tuesday. The Quds Force is the extraterritorial branch of the Revolutionary Guards.

The SPA also said the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center (TFTC), a U.S.-Gulf initiative to stem finance to militant groups, had designated as terrorist-linked several people associated with the Afghan Taliban, some of whom were Iranians.

The center was established in May 2017 during U.S. President Donald Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia and the United States co-chair the group and Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are also members.

The Trump administration aims to create a security and political alliance with the Sunni Gulf Arab states to counter Shi’ite Iran’s influence in the region, especially in Syria and Iraq.

(Reporting by Tuqa Khalid and Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; editing by Andrew Roche)