Published: Tue, April 09, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

United States designates Iran's Revolutionary Guard as terrorist group

United States designates Iran's Revolutionary Guard as terrorist group

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he would name Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, in an unprecedented step that drew Iranian condemnation and raised concerns about retaliatory attacks on U.S. forces.

"Given that America wants to place the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on the list of terrorist groups, we have prepared a fast-track emergency bill so that the moment this happens, we will place the American soldiers alongside Daesh in the list of terrorist groups", he added, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State (ISIS).

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.

After reports of the planned us designation emerged on Friday, Iranian lawmakers warned Tehran will take reciprocal action.

Meanwhile, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has alluded that it would follow through on development of missiles and it would continue to build up its military power despite strict US sanctions. From conflicts in Syria and Lebanon to Yemen and Venezuela, Iran's proxy groups that fall under the purview of the IRGC are covertly involved in terrorist operations that escalate chaos in support of their broader agenda.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton have taken up the call and have in recent months spoken stridently about Iran and its "malign activities" in the region. Iran and Israel are increasingly at odds with each other, particularly in Syria where the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force has helped President Bashar al-Assad gain the upper hand in a civil war.

"The Middle East can not be more stable and peaceful without a weakened IRGC", the official said.

"The Iranian regime remains the world's leading state sponsor of terror, spending almost a billion dollars every year to support terrorism", the White House said. "Thank you for answering another one of my important requests, which serves the interests of our country and the countries of the region".

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In an interview, Mr Bolton said: "President Trump remains very eager to cut a bilateral trade deal with an independent Britain. On Sunday, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki responded to that pledge and accused the USA of encouraging Netanyahu .

Pompeo said Monday that Iranian actors "ought to think more than twice about" targeting USA troops.

The Wall Street Journal reported this development on Friday, citing USA officials.

As rumours swirled that the U.S. was close to making the designation official, Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on Sunday that Israel had lobbied for it in order to drag the United States into the Middle East "quagmire".

The dramatic escalation of Washington's attempt to undermine Iran's influence comes on the eve of Israeli elections where close Trump ally Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking to extend his 13 years in office.

The Supreme National Security Council in a statement condemned Trump's move as "baseless" and warned of the consequences of its move for peace and security in the Middle East.

Iran is unlikely to take this designation in stride.

The Revolutionary Guard Corps is in charge of Iran's ballistic missile programs, according to a study by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, says the Wall Street Journal. The PM has touted his close ties to the United States president throughout his election campaign, while Trump has offered vocal support for his Israeli ally.

US military officials are justifiably concerned about putting more American troops in danger and igniting a conflict with Iran that could undermine the anti-Islamic State campaign in Iraq and Syria as well as Washington's diplomatic relationships in the region.

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