Iran Labels U.S. Military 'Terrorist' Group After Trump Administration Blacklists IRGC

Arturo Kim
April 9, 2019

President Trump moved to formally designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a "foreign terror organization" Monday; ramping up pressure on the Islamic Republic as they continue to advance their nuclear and missile programs.

Trump said in a statement Monday that the move "recognises the reality" that Iran is a state-sponsored supporter of terrorism and that the Revolutionary Guard is an active participant.

Administration officials have said the step will further isolate Iran and make clear that the USA won't tolerate Iran's continued support for rebel groups and others that destabilize the Middle East.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the designation will take effect in one week.

"Although Iran has not been and will not be seeking tension, but should the US decide to implement the move, Iran will take reciprocal action", Khoshroudi quoted Zarif as saying. The United States has already blacklisted dozens of entities and people for affiliations with the IRGC, but not the organization as a whole.

"Thank you, my dear friend, US President Donald Trump, for having chose to declare Iran's Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization", Netanyahu said in a statement issued minutes after the White House announcement. While the accord does not specifically ban those tests, US officials have said they violate the spirit of the deal.

Tensions between the two countries have grown since Mr Trump pulled the United States out of a 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran last May and reimposed sanctions that had crippled Iran's economy.

In a statement carried on Monday by Iran's state-run IRNA news agency, the council said it also declared all U.S. forces operating in the Middle East "terrorist groups".

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The move came shortly after Iran's top diplomat, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, urged President Hassan Rouhani to place the United States military's Central Command, or CENTCOM, which has troops stationed from central Asia to Egypt, "on the Islamic Republic of Iran's list of terrorist groups", Iran's foreign ministry said.

With Israel's election to take place on Tuesday, Netanyahu is likely grateful for the latest public show of USA support for his government.

"No other country has the legal right to designate as terrorist another country's armed forces".

The designation comes with sanctions, including freezes on some assets and a ban on Americans doing business with the group.

The SNSC's statement described the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a force spearheading the fight against USA backed terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, ISIL, al-Nusra Front etc. They understand that the clock on the Trump administration is ticking and that their chance of overthrowing the Iranian regime will slip away in 18 months if the president isn't re-elected.

It also influences Iran's foreign policy such as decisions around its intervention in Syria, something that reportedly prompted Iran's foreign minister, Javad Zarif, to resign earlier this year; Rouhani didn't accept his resignation. It has control over large sectors of the Iranian economy and has a huge influence in its political system. "If you are doing business with the IRGC, you will be bankrolling terrorism", the White House said in a statement.

Critics had warned that such a move could leave U.S. troops in the region more vulnerable as a result.

And, the Iranian opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, called it "an imperative for Middle East security, peace, and stability, and an urgent and necessary step to end war and terrorism throughout the region and the world".

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