Iran this week threatened a “crushing” response to the United States if America decides to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist group.
“We are hopeful that the United States does not make this strategic mistake,” IranForeign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said, according to Iranian state media, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Reuters reported. “If they do, Iran’s reaction would be firm, decisive and crushing and the United States should bear all its consequences.”
And, Guard Commander Mohammad Ali Jafari said over the weekend: “If the news is correct about the stupidity of the American government in considering the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist group, then the Revolutionary Guards will consider the American army to be like Islamic State all around the world,” Reuters reported, adding that “additional sanctions would end chances for future dialogue with the United States and that the Americans would have to move their regional bases outside the [1,250-mile] range of IRGC’s missiles.”
President Donald Trump on Friday announced that he authorized the U.S. Treasury to impose sanctions on the IRGC for the Corps’ support of terrorism.
The White House back in February said it was considering a proposal that would designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as an official terrorist organization.
If implemented, the U.S. would add sanctions to the group on top of ones already imposed, and add members linked to the organization to the designated terror list. The White House was also considering adding the Muslim Brotherhood to the designated terror list.
The IRGC is Iran’s strongest military force that was founded after the Iranian revolution in 1979. While Iran’s regular military, the Iranian Army or the Artesh, exists to defend the nation’s borders from outside enemies, the IRGC exists specifically to counter domestic affairs in order to protect the country’s radical Islamic system. They are the defense against military coups or “deviant movements” against the government.
President Trump on Friday also said the U.S. would not certify the Iran nuclear deal, pushing the issue to Congress to determine how Iran needs to further comply. If an agreement can’t be reached, then he would terminate the deal, Trump said.
It was widely reported that Trump wanted to “decertify” the landmark Iran nuclear deal that was forged under his predecessor, Barack Obama; Trump said Iran is not in compliance with terms of the landmark pact that was inked under the Obama Administration in 2015.
“We are determined that the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism will not obtain nuclear weapons,” the President said Friday.
Trump has in the past said the deal is “one of the worst one-sided transactions the U.S. has ever entered into,” and it is not in America’s best interest.
During his speech last month at the United Nations General Assembly, Trump accused Iran of funding terrorists and creating a dangerous missile arsenal. The Iranian President later came out and said flatly that Iran wants to strengthen its missile capabilities – and doesn’t intend to ask permission to do it. And, Iran revealed a new ballistic missile during a military parade there.
The Iranian nuclear deal was drawn up in 2015 with Iran, the U.S. and five other nations. Its framework includes stipulations that Iran would redesign, convert and reduce its number of nuclear facilities in order to lift nuclear-related economical sanctions, which would reportedly free up billions of dollars in oil revenue and frozen assets for Iran. The U.S. and Iran also agreed to their own terms, along with terms penned with other nations.
President Trump had told the U.N. that the Iranian government “masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy,” and that it has “turned a wealthy country with rich history and culture into a rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos.”
Trump said the oil profits Iran makes “fund terrorists that kill innocent Muslims and attack peaceful neighbors.”
“We can’t let this happen while they also build dangerous missiles. We can’t abide by the agreement if they eventually construct a nuclear program,” the President said, pointing out that the Iran deal was “one of the worst one-sided transactions the U.S. has ever entered into,” and it’s an “embarrassment to the U.S.”
“I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it, believe me,” Trump said. “It’s time for the entire world to join us in telling Iran to stop pursuing death and destruction. […] Stop supporting terrorists.”
“We will stop radical Islamic terrorism because we can not allow it to tear up our nation and the entire world,” the President added.
Reuters had reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the agreement needs to change or the U.S. would not continue abiding by it, but that Iran has said the deal can’t be renegotiated.
Following the President’s U.N. address, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said Trump’s speech was “absurd” and that the President was “seriously ill-informed” about the deal.