If Washington designates the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) as a terrorist group, Iran will respond in kind by labelling all US forces in the same way, Fars News Agency reported on October 10.
Iranian government spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobkaht delivered the threat as reports surfaced in international media that the Trump administration–set to this week make a major announcement on whether the US will remain committed to the nuclear deal–is seriously considering the move against the IRGC.
"If the US wants to put the IRGC on the list of terrorist entities, it will designate itself as terrorist because the IRGC has fought against the terrorists and anyone who stands against the IRGC, he/she will have the same position as a terrorist too," Nobakht said in a press conference.
The IRGC–the Iranian name of which translates as “The Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution”–is regarded by Iranians as comprising of elite troops who first and foremost deal with anything related to anchoring national security, although its massive indirect business holdings throughout the Iranian economy are a more controversial matter.
Nobakht added: “We always boast about the IRGC and consider its power to be that of the [Islamic] Republic itself.”
His comments were made just a day after IRGC General Major Mohammad Ali Jafari warned the US to keep its troops “2,000 kilometres away from Iran for their own safety”.
The remarks from the government spokesperson and military commander somewhat echoed an op-ed written by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who lamented the US and the Persian Gulf monarchies in a harshly worded 2,000-word article published by The Atlantic.
“Arab affairs are Iran’s business,” the foreign minister wrote in his defence of IRGC activities on the ground in Syria and Iraq following the success of those troops over US-backed Sunni groups and Islamic State.
“And we are not shy in admitting that non-Arab affairs are their business. How can they not be? We share borders, waters, and resources; we fly through each other’s airspace. We can’t not be interested in how our neighbours affect the part of the globe where we make our homes.”