Iranian Parliament ratifies bill designating US CENTCOM as terrorist group

Tehran: In a tit for tat move, 204 out of 256 Iranian Parliament members voted in favour of designating the US Central Command (CENTCOM) as a terrorist organisation on Tuesday.

This comes after the United States designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organisation last week, a move which was severely criticised in Iran. Right after the listing, Iran’s Foreign Ministry had advised its country’s Supreme National Security Council to include CENTCOM in its list of terrorist groups.

The bill also considers any type of financial, technological or information aid given to CENTCOM as a terrorist measure, according to Sputnik.

While announcing IRGC’s designation, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo had said: “The use of terrorism is central to the Iranian regime’s foreign policy. 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.”

IRGC’s listing is the first time that the United States has designated another country’s governmental entity as a terror body. The designation makes it illegal to provide any materials to Iran’s paramilitary organisation, which was formed in the wake of the 1979 Islamic revolution to defend its government.

“This is just another chapter, there are more chapters to come…This was long overdue,” a US official had said.

The CENTCOM, established in 1983, focuses on protecting the US’ national interests and those of its partners in 20 nations in the Middle East, Central and South Asia, and the strategic waterways that surround them.

Tensions between the United States and Iran are high, especially after Washington pulled out of the Iran Nuclear deal under US President Donald Trump.