President Donald Trump announced on Monday that the United States is designating Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a foreign “terrorist organization”, marking the first time Washington has formally labeled another country’s military a “terrorist group”.
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. pic.twitter.com/T65CxJjRrr
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) April 8, 2019
Responding to the move, Iran immediately declared the US as “state sponsor of terrorism” and US forces in the region “terrorist groups”, state media reported.
Iran also condemned the US decision as an illegal act prompted by Tehran’s regional influence and “success in fighting against Islamic State,” Iranian state TV said, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS).
A(nother) misguided election-eve gift to Netanyahu. A(nother) dangerous U.S. misadventure in the region.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) April 8, 2019
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Iran’s Supreme National Security Council said in a statement that the designation could endanger peace and stability in the Middle East and globally, according to Iranian state TV.
“This unwise and illegal measure is a major threat to regional and international stability and peace … Iran labels the American regime as a supporter of terrorism,” the statement read as quoted by state TV.
Netanyahu, a Trump ally, thanked the US president for the decision, saying the designation “serves the interests of our countries and of countries in the region”.
The IRGC, Iran’s most powerful security organization, was set up in 1979. The force is in charge of Iran’s ballistic missiles and nuclear programmes and answers directly to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It is estimated to have 125,000 personnel, comprised of army, navy and air units.