The Trump administration is planning to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organisation, the White House confirmed on Tuesday, a move that could have major consequences across the Middle East.
The designation of the influential Islamist political movement, which has members in political parties across the region, would see companies and individuals connected to it slapped with economic and travel sanctions.
Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, confirmed the plans saying: “The president has consulted with his national security team and leaders in the region who share his concern, and this designation is working its way through the internal process”.
Opponents of the move, which comes just weeks after a private meeting between President Donald Trump and Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, argue it would place the United States firmly on the side of its authoritarian allies in the Middle East.
The Brotherhood, an influential Islamist political movement with around a million members across the region, came to power in Egypt’s first modern free election in 2012, a year after long-serving autocrat Hosni Mubarak was toppled in a popular uprising.