President Donald Trump announced Monday the US will formally designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. the move some in the administration had opposed over concerns about potential risks to US troops in the Middle East.
The move is a response to Iran’s destabilizing behavior across the Middle East, including support for the regime in Syria, Houthi rebels in Yemen and Hezbollah in Lebanon, as well as for assassination plots in Europe and the US, according to the Trump administration.
The announcement aims to declaw a central institution backing the theocratic regime. Formed after the Islamic revolution in 1979, the IRGC is not only Iran’s most powerful military institution, it holds deep influence over domestic politics and the economy, with interests extending to and beyond the construction, telecommunications, auto and energy industries.
However, there was dissent against the move among members of the US government, the move could also increase tensions with allies, particularly Iraq, where the IRGC has ties to militias and officials, and Lebanon, where it backs Hezbollah, which is part of the government.
As, it had heralded, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council responded Monday by declaring the US a “state sponsor of terrorism” and American troops operating in the region as “terrorist groups,” according to IRNA, Iran’s state-run news agency.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran declares itself in reciprocity against the unlawful and unreasonable action of the United States today, considering the United States as a terrorist sponsored government and the Central Command of the United States, CENTCOM, and all its affiliated forces as terrorist groups,” the National Security Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran said in a statement, IRNA reported.
“Obviously, the US regime will take all the responsibility for the dangerous consequences of this undertaking,” the statement said.
The IRGC designation marks the first time that the United States has ever named a part of another government as a foreign terrorist organization.