U.S. designates Iran elite military forces as foreign terrorist organisation

Members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards march during a military parade in Tehran Iran

The Trump administration is preparing to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard a "foreign terrorist organization," an unprecedented move against a national armed force that could have widespread implications for USA personnel and policy in the Middle East and elsewhere. It has been rumored for years.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

In making the decision to designate the IRGC, which has been rumored for some time, the White House considered the fighting force's near total penetration of Iran's society and economy.

"We will start a double-urgency reciprocal measure, which will make the USA leaders, who have been behind the formation of terrorist groups in the region and support them, regret the stupid move", a statement by Iranian lawmakers read.

Ahmad Amir-Abadi, a member of the Majlis presiding board, also said the parliament would designate all US bases in the region as terrorist bases should the USA go on with such move.

Last year, Trump unilaterally pulled the USA out of the Iran nuclear deal that had been negotiated by the Obama administration that had been agreed to by seven nations and imposed sanctions against Tehran.

The unprecedented move is part of the Trump administration's broader effort to counter Iranian terrorism around the world, the announcement said. While the United States has already blacklisted dozens of entities and people for their alleged affiliations with the Revolutionary Guards, the organisation has not been banned as a whole.

The designation makes it a federal crime for any US company to do business with the IRGC.

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However, experts warned the move could provoke a backlash against United States forces in the Middle East, where the IRGC operates widely.

Pompeo repeated the allegation made last week by his special representative for Iran, Brian Hook, accusing Iran and its proxies of being responsible for the death of 608 USA troops in Iraq between 2003 and 2011.

Mr. Trump, who has taken a hard line on Iran alongside National Security Adviser John R. Bolton, said the corps is acting as the central banker for terrorism, placing it apart from normal global behavior. "Thank you, my dear friend, President of the United States Donald Trump, for your decision to declare Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terror organisation", Netanyahu wrote.

US President Donald Trump announced the move in a statement. "The IRGC is already fully sanctioned and this escalation absolutely endangers our troops in the region".

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is Iran's most powerful security and military institution and holds sway over key economic and political affairs. Tehran has warned that it has missiles with a range of up to 2,000 km (1,242 miles), putting Israel and USA military bases in the region within reach.

It controls the country's ballistic missiles and nuclear programmes, answers directly to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and owns a vast network of businesses ranging from oil and gas projects to construction and telecommunication.

In a statement carried by the official news agency IRNA, it said the move was in response to Washington's "illegal and foolish act" of designating Iran's Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organisation.

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