Donald Trump lists Iran's revolutionary guard as a terrorist organisation

Donald Trump lists Iran's revolutionary guard as a terrorist organisation

Donald Trump lists Iran's revolutionary guard as a terrorist organisation

President Donald Trump on Monday announced the United States is designating Iran´s elite military force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a terrorist organization.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has tweeted his own warning to President Trump: "Netanyahu Firsters who have long agitated for FTO (Foreign Terrorist Organization) designation of the IRGC fully understand its consequences for U.S. forces in the region".

Trump said in a statement that the "unprecedented" move "recognizes the reality that Iran is not only a State Sponsor of Terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft".

Administration officials have said the step will help to further isolate Iran and make clear that the U.S. will not tolerate Iran's continued support for rebel groups and others that destabilise the Middle East. Thousands of US troops in the region, especially in Iraq and Syria where they operate close to Iranian-organized militias or IRGC personnel, will now have targets on their back if Tehran decides to respond militarily to the designation.

The terrorist designation, which will take effect April 16, allows the Trump administration to seek criminal penalties against elements of the IRGC and foreign officials deemed to be aiding it.

Iranian officials were quick to warn of potential repercussions for the US upon designating IRGC as a terrorist organization.

Mr Zarif blasted the U.S. move on Twitter, saying it was timed to support Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of Tuesday's parliamentary election in the Jewish state.

The IRGC oversees the country's ballistic missile program and has conducted several tests since the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

The US and its regional allies such as Saudi Arabia and Israel accuse Iran of trying to destabilise the region in part by using IRGC and its affiliated Quds force, which played a pivotal role to defeat Daesh in Iraq. Benjamin Netanyahu says the designation "serves the interests of our countries and of countries in the region".

Iran's national security council declared US Central Command (Centcom) a terrorist organisation after Foreign Minister Javad Zarif wrote to President Hassan Rouhani urging such a response, state news channel IRINN said.

Zarif also sent a protest note over the USA decision to the Swiss embassy in Tehran, which looks after the US interests in Iran.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has pushed for the change in U.S. policy as part of the Trump administration's tough posture toward Tehran.

"We will continue to increase financial pressure and raise the costs on the Iranian regime for its support of terrorist activity until it abandons its malign and outlaw behavior".

It's an unprecedented move because the USA has never before used the designation for an entire foreign government entity. The American military, the Iranians argued, must take responsibility for "the unsafe consequences of its adventures" in the region.

Relations between Iran and the USA have been tense for a while, especially since Trump withdrew a year ago from the two nations' Obama-era nuclear deal.

"This action will significantly expand the scope and scale of our maximum pressure on the Iranian regime", Mr. Trump said. "The profits from what appear to be legitimate business deals can end up supporting the Iranian regime's terrorist agenda".

Iran is unlikely to take this designation in stride.

He cited "overt and covert support of USA military forces in the region for terrorist groups and their direct involvement in terrorist acts", as reason to add CENTCOM to their list.

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.

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