Just hours after President Trump formally designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organization, Iran’s foreign ministry has put forward a bill placing US Central Command on a list of organizations designated as terrorists, akin to Daesh.
Today, I am formally announcing my Administration’s plan to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including its Qods Force, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This unprecedented step, led by the Department of State, recognizes 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. The IRGC is the Iranian government’s primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign.
This designation will be the first time that the United States has ever named a part of another government as a FTO. It underscores the fact that Iran’s actions are fundamentally different from those of other governments. This action will significantly expand the scope and scale of our maximum pressure on the Iranian regime. 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.
This action sends a clear message to Tehran that its support for terrorism has serious consequences. We will continue to increase financial pressure and raise the costs on the Iranian regime for its support of terrorist activity until it abandons its malign and outlaw behavior.
But, as Sputnik News reports, the Iranian Foreign Ministry responded to the designation on Monday, recommending that President Hassan Rouhani designate US Central Command (US CENTCOM), a US military theatre-level command whose area of responsibility includes the Middle East, on the list of organisations designated as terrorists by Iran.
Previously, the Iranian Foreign Minister noted that those US officials who advocated IRGC blacklisting, “seek to drag the US into a quagmire”.
“#NetanyahuFirsters who have long agitated for FTO (Foreign Terrorist Organisation) 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,” Mohammed Javad Zarif said on his Twitter account. “@realDonaldTrump should know better than to be conned into another US disaster.”
Iranian officials previously warned that the IRGC’s inclusion on the US terror list would be a “mistake” which would prompt Tehran to equate the US military with Daesh (ISIS). Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, chairman of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said a bill to this effect had already been prepared.
Designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization only makes sense as a step toward conflict https://t.co/KEtpqAQAqJ
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) April 8, 2019
It won't be forgotten in Tehran that, after the U.S. pocketed Iranian help in rolling back ISIS in Iraq, the U.S. then turned on Iran and designated the military force behind the counter-ISIS campaign as terrorists.
— Ryan Costello (@RyeCostello) April 8, 2019
Perfect example of Trump outsourcing US foreign policy to Netanyahu and MBS is making US troops less safe… https://t.co/PNiL2FMCNE
— Trita Parsi (@tparsi) April 8, 2019
The IRGC designation covers 11 million Iranians! Talk about solidifying & entrenching the Islamic Republic…
"Officials in the US said the broad terrorist designation covers 11 million members of the Iranian group & units in its hierarchy."https://t.co/AzRebVzhlj
— Sina Toossi (@SinaToossi) April 8, 2019
Colonel Pat Lang likewise presumes that the move is an attempt to provoke a war:
The AUMF on terrorism has been used far and wide as a hunting license to attack any armed group that could even distantly be thought a terrorist enemy. The anti-terrorism AUMF makes such attacks legal under US law.
Pat Lang continues:
The official designation as “terrorist” of the IRGC which is a 125000 man army with its own navy and air force makes it legal for the US Armed Forces to attack the IRGC and its people wherever they are found and under any circumstances that may occur. It is a declaration of war.
The neocon nitwits (Pompeo, Bolton, Hannah, etc.) may think that Iran’s reaction to this declaration of war will be submission to their will but IMO that is very unlikely. IMO it is more likely that the IRGC will absorb the new reality and will prepare for war with the US.
How will Iran respond? From the Moon Of Alabama blog:
Iran and its military have long prepared for war with the United States. There will be no change in anything that its military will do.
Iran has so far shown restraint whenever the U.S. tried to goad it into a fight. It has left U.S. forces in Syria and Iraq untouched even while the U.S. and Israel attacked Iranian elements. It will not react militarily to Trump’s latest provocation.
Should the U.S. attack IRGC forces abroad, Iran will likely respond by asking its foreign proxy forces, like the Hashd al-Shahbi militias in Iraq, to attack U.S. forces abroad.
Should the U.S. attack IRGC forces within Iran’s borders then all bets are off. There are plenty of U.S. bases and installations in the Middle East that can be reached by Iranian missiles.