Iran threatened to add the US army to its terrorism list if Washington designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist group.
Writing on Twitter, Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, head of the Iranian Parliament’s Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, said Tehran would add the US army to “the terrorist blacklist alongside Daesh” if the US blacklisted the IRGC.
The threat came amid reports that the US administration was considering adding IRGC to its terror list, marking the first time Washington has formally labelled another country’s military a terrorist group.
The Wall Street Journal, citing US officials, said the motion could be announced on 8 April.
“We will answer any action taken against this force with a reciprocal action,” a statement issued by 255 out of the 290 Iranian lawmakers said, according to IRNA.
“So the leaders of America, who themselves are the creators and supporters of terrorists in the (Middle East) region, will regret this inappropriate and idiotic action.”
The US decision, which critics warn could open US military and intelligence officials to similar actions by unfriendly governments abroad, is expected to be announced by the State Department perhaps as early as Monday, the US officials said last week. The move has been rumoured for years.
IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari warned in 2017 that if Trump went ahead with the move, “then the Revolutionary Guards will consider the American army to be like Islamic State all around the world”.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a strident Iran hawk, has advocated the change in US policy as part of the Trump administration’s tough posture toward Tehran.
Set up after the 1979 Islamic Revolution to protect the Shi’ite clerical ruling system, the IRGC is Iran’s most powerful security organisation. It controls large sectors of the Iranian economy and has huge influence in its political system.