Iran responded to US President Trump’s designation of its Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization on Monday by declaring the same for U.S. military forces in the Middle East.
Calling Trump’s decision “illegal and dangerous,” Iran’s Supreme National Security Council announced that it will designate the U.S. Central Command as a terrorist group, according to Iran’s semiofficial Fars News Agency.
The council, headed by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, added that Trump’s move poses a “major threat to regional and international peace and security and grossly violates the rules of international law.”
US President Trump said on Monday that he was designating a powerful arm of the Iranian military as a foreign terrorist organization, the first time that the United States has named part of another nation’s government as that type of official threat.
The designation imposes wide-ranging economic and travel sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as well as organizations, companies and individuals with ties to it. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards carry out operations across the Middle East, train Arab Shiite militias and oversee businesses in Iran.
“In an important step to counter the Iranian regime’s terrorism, the U.S. has designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, incl. Qods Force, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. We must help the people of Iran get back their freedom”, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted.
President Rouhani condemned the US move in a speech broadcast live on state television.
“Who are you to label revolutionary institutions as terrorists?” he asked. “You are the leader of world terrorism.”
“This mistake will unite Iranians and the Guards will grow more popular in Iran and in the region. America has used terrorists as a tool in the region while the Guards have fought against them from Iraq to Syria”, Rouhani said.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the IRGC had confronted enemies at home and abroad, state TV reported.
They were “in the frontline of confronting enemies of our revolution and had always defended the country… America has failed to block our advancements”, Khamenei expressed.
Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani and MPs wore the uniform of the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) on Tuesday in protest of a U.S. decision to designate the elite force a “terrorist group”.
Addressing a parliamentary session on Tuesday, Larijani decried the U.S. administration and military as “examples of international military and economic terror”.
“The [U.S.] president [Donald Trump] acknowledged that his country has a role to play in the establishment and strengthening of Daesh, and Trump should not forget that the U.S. Secretary of State admitted that his country was behind the emergence of Daesh,” he said.
Meanwhile, Riyadh welcomed Washington blacklisting of arch-rival Tehran’s elite Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organisation, the Saudi state media reported. Yemen’s Foreign Ministry said that the move was a “step in the right direction because it will have a positive impact on regional and international security and peace.”
The legitimate Yemeni government hoped that the designation will help “restore stability in the region,” calling on the international community to exert more pressure on Iran to “force it to respect its commitments as a member state of the United Nations.”
Bahrain welcomed on Monday the designation with its Foreign Ministry stressing the importance of this decision in addressing the dangerous role played by the IRGC in the region. It said the IRGC was a “destabilizing force and a main contributor to the spread of violence and terrorism across the Middle East and the entire world.”
In contrast, Damascus criticized the “reckless” US move against the IRGC, which has been one of its main allies during the eight years of the Syrian war.