Iran designates US as ‘state sponsor of terrorism’, forces in the Middle East as ‘terror group’

Tehran [Iran]: Iran on Monday (local time) designated the US as a “state sponsor of terrorism”, and labelled the US Central Command (CENTCOM) in the Middle East as a “terror group” in a tit-for-tat response to a similar move by Washington.

The Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), headed by President Hassan Rouhani, said that the move was announced few hours after the US labelled the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a “foreign terrorist organisation”.

Slamming Washington’s decision, the SNSC termed it “an illegal and dangerous action” that poses a “major threat to regional and international peace and security and grossly violates the rules of international law”, Fars News Agency reported.

It accused the CENTCOM of harming Iran’s national security interests and “destroying” the lives of “innocent Iranian and non-Iranian individuals” to promote Washington’s “aggressive policies” in the Middle East.
Claiming that the US and its allies “have always been advocates of extremist groups and terrorists in West Asian region”, the SNSC statement said that Washington should be accountable for “the dangerous consequences of its adventures”.

In an unprecedented first, the US designated IRGC as a “foreign terrorist organisation” in a bid to pressure Iran into abandoning “its deadly ambitions,” according to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.

This is the first time that Washington has labelled another country’s governmental entity as a terror body. The designation makes it illegal to provide any materials to Iran’s paramilitary organisation formed in the wake of the 1979 Islamic revolution to defend its government.

“In an important step to counter the Iranian regime’s terrorism, the US has designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, including Qods Force, as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation. We must help the people of Iran get back their freedom,” Pompeo said. The Qods Force is a unit of the IRGC.

The move was, however, welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying US President Donald Trump was “once again keeping the world safe from Iran’s aggression and terrorism”.

“Thank you, President @realDonaldTrump for your decision to designate the Islamic revolutionary guards as a terrorist organisation. Once again you are keeping the world safe from Iran aggression and terrorism,” he tweeted.