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

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

The US President, for the first time in the history of his country, formally labelled another nation's military a terrorist group, a move which singles out Iran as a country "promoting terrorism".

The designation also risks impacting U.S. relations with countries in the region that have direct relations with the Iranian government, including Lebanon and Iraq, where Shia-led armed groups are supported by the IRGC and are represented in the governments of those countries.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, addressing reporters, said that all businesses and banks around the world "now have a clear duty" to cut off all dealings that involve the Revolutionary Guards.

Pompeo and Hook said that 603 troops killed in Iraq since the United States invaded in 2003 - or 17 percent of the total U.S. death toll - could be attributed to Iran.

Critics have warned that the move could open United States military and intelligence officials to similar actions by unfriendly governments.

The US has already blacklisted dozens of entities and people for affiliations with the IRGC, but not the organisation as a whole.

The Revolutionary Guard recruits and trains thousands of fighters overseas through its Quds Force, headed by Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a shadowy but prominent figure whose fighters have fought alongside Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces and against Islamic State militants who view Shiites as heretics.

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

Tensions between the two countries have grown since Mr Trump pulled the United States out of a 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran last May and reimposed sanctions that had crippled Iran's economy.

Iran's Supreme National Security Council on Monday declared the United States a "state sponsor of terrorism" and U.S. forces in the region "terrorist groups", state media said.

Iran's top security council designated United States military forces a "terrorist organisation" in reaction to Washington's decision.

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.

"This designation is a direct response to an outlaw regime and should surprise no one", he said.

Ali Jafari spoke following a report by the Wall Street Journal that USA officials plan to designate the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization. More specifically within the IRGC, a small branch of rogue elements known as the IRGC-"Quds Force", led by none other than Major General Qasem Soleimani, exports terrorism and funds their operations through illicit activities including Illegal arms sales, front companies, and the drug trade.

In 2007, the US Treasury designated the IRGC's Quds Force, the unit in charge of operations overseas, "for its support of terrorism", and has described it as Iran's "primary arm for executing its policy of supporting terrorist and insurgent groups".

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani ...

Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said he "completely" supports the decision and said the announcement is "another example of [the administration's] commitment to reigning in the destructive and murderous Iranian regime". Tehran denies the charges.

The IRGC is estimated to have more than 150,000 active personnel, boasts its own ground forces, navy and air force, and oversees Iran's strategic weapons, including its ballistic missiles.

Critics had warned that such a move could leave U.S. troops in the region more vulnerable as a result.

At home, the Guards have amassed sweeping political and economic influence, with Brian Hook, the State Department´s representative on Iran, citing estimates that they control up to half of the Iranian economy.

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