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U.S. blacklists Saraya al-Mukhtar as Iran-backed terrorist group

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo designated Bahrain-based&nbsp;Saraya al-Mukhtar as an international terrorist organization on Tuesday. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/f4a2a28baed8fb64ec44c2c8c602a44c/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo designated Bahrain-based Saraya al-Mukhtar as an international terrorist organization on Tuesday. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 16 (UPI) -- The Trump administration has designated the Iran-backed Saraya al-Mukhtar as an international terrorist organization, accusing it of targeting U.S. citizens in Bahrain and offering cash rewards for the assassination of officials in the Middle Eastern country.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the sanctions on Tuesday, stating the group poses "a significant risk of committing acts of terrorism that threaten the national security and foreign policy of the United States."

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The Specially Designated Global Terrorist label bars the organization from the U.S. financial system and freezes all property it has in the United States in an effort to deny it resources to commit acts of terrorism, the United States' top diplomat said.

The State Department also accused the group of receiving financial and logistic support from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which the Trump administration designated in April of last year.

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"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 U.S. personnel stationed there," Pompeo said on Twitter.

Bahrain's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that it "welcomes" the designation, calling it "a significant positive step taken to confront the malicious actions and intentions of said organization."

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The Saraya al-Mukhtar's mission has been to dispose of the government in Bahrain, and the foreign ministry said it "commends the relentless efforts" of the Untied States in combatting all terrorist organizations.

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