Reacting to the news that the U.S. is set to designate the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, IRGC Chief Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari announced on Sunday that in case the U.S. takes such a step, its forces in western Asia “will lose peace and quiet”.
“If the U.S. takes this step and endangers our national security we will take reciprocal measures, based on the policies of the Islamic Republic,” Jafari said.
Earlier on April 5, Reuters had reported, “The United States is expected to designate Iran’s elite Revolution Guards Corps, a foreign terrorist organization, three U.S. officials told Reuters, marking the first time Washington has formally labeled another country’s military a terrorist group.”
According to Reuters, “The decision, which critics warn could open U.S. military and intelligence officials to similar actions by unfriendly governments abroad, is expected to be announced by the U.S. State Department, perhaps as early as Monday (April 8), the officials said. It has been rumored for years.
Responding to the news Jafari warned on Sunday, April 7, that IRGC would put in motion reciprocal actions against the U.S. military forces and intelligence personnel in the region on its agenda if Washington labels it a “terrorist organization.”
Although Jafari has not said what sort of threat the U.S. military will face, one option for Iran is targeting American forces based in Iraq.
The possibility of adding IRGC to the list of international terrorist organizations has been on the table since 2018, immediately after President Donald Trump decided to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.
In October 2018, Gen. Jafari responded to the possibility by warning that, as reciprocal action, IRGC would regard the American military in the same way it treats the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group.
Through its force for extraterritorial military operations (Qods Force), IRGC has financed, trained, and armed Iraqi Shi’ite militia who are the primary opponents of the U.S. presence in Iraq.
Echoing Jafari’s latest warnings, Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif twitted on Sunday, accused what he described as #NetanyahuFirsters of being behind Washington’s decision to designate IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization.
“#NetanyahuFirsters who have long agitated for FTO designation of the IRGC fully understand its consequences for US forces in the region. In fact, they seek to drag the US into a quagmire on his behalf,” Zarif twitted, adding, “DonaldTrump should know better than to be conned into another US disaster.”
Meanwhile, in a statement published on Sunday, 255 members of Majles (Iranian parliament) threatened Washington by a double-urgency motion prepared to designate the U.S. military as a terrorist group if Washington takes a similar measure against IRGC.
“We will force Washington to regret such an unwise decision,” the MPs have warned.
A day earlier, on Saturday, the chairman of the influential Commission of National Security and Foreign Policy, Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh warned in a tweet, “If the IRGC is placed on America’s list of terrorist groups, we will put that country’s military on the terror blacklist besides the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS).”
In October 2017, when rumors about Washington’s possible decision to designate the IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization surfaced in the media, President Hassan Rouhani warned the Trump’s administration that it would be a “grave mistake.”
“If the U.S. makes the next mistake and adopts a measure against the IRGC, it will be the worst mistake,” Rouhani told his cabinet.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had also earlier lambasted the US for its hostile policies against the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps and warned of Tehran’s robust response if Washington labeled the IRGC as a terrorist group.
The United States has already blacklisted dozens of entities and people for affiliations with the IRGC, but the organization as a whole is not.