Iran labels US ‘state sponsor of terror’ after Washington blacklists Revolutionary Guard Corps

Hours after the United States on Monday designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation, Tehran listed Washington as a “state sponsor of terrorism”, AFP reported.

Iran’s state media said Tehran’s decision was in reaction to Washington’s “illegal and foolish act” of designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organisation, according to AFP.

Washington’s designation includes the IRGC’s unit, the Qods Force. US President Donald Trump said it is the first time Washington has categorised a nation’s military as a terrorist organisation.

“This unprecedented step, led by the department of state, recognises 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,” a White House statement quoted Trump as saying. “The IRGC is the Iranian government’s primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign.”

Trump said the United States will continue to increase financial pressure on the Iranian regime “for its support of terrorist activity”. “It makes crystal clear the risks of conducting business with, or providing support to, the IRGC. If you are doing business with the IRGC, you will be bankrolling terrorism,” the statement said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Trump for desginating IRGC as a foreign terrorist organisation. “Thank you for accepting another important request of mine, which serves the interests of our countries and countries in the region,” Netanyahu said in a tweet. “We will continue to take action in various means against the Iranian regime, which threatens the State of Israel, the US and world peace.”

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described it as an important step to help the “Iranian people get back their freedom”. “The use of terrorism is central to the Iranian regime’s foreign policy,” Pompeo tweeted. “The designation of IRGC, including Qods Force, will help starve the regime of the means to execute this destructive policy. Maximum pressure will be unrelenting until Iran’s regime abandons its deadly ambitions.”

Unidentified Iranian officials on Friday had warned that Tehran will take reciprocal action if Washington categorised its military as a terror organisation, Reuters reported. “We will answer any action taken against this force with a reciprocal action,” a statement issued by 255 out of the 290 Iranian legislators had said.