Iran warns USA over Revolutionary Guards terror label


Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari said Sunday that if the USA designates Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group, Iran, too, would consider American army present in West Asia as the ISIL terrorist group.

During a press conference Monday, Qasemi said that such a declaration would be a "strategic mistake", as quoted by Iran's Tasnim news agency.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said USA plans to target the Revolutionary Guard, a powerful branch of the Iranian military, as part of punishments against the regime, would be a "grave and strategic mistake".

The IRGC commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari noted on Sunday that 'Implementation of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) is tantamount to United States unilateral walking away from Iran nuclear deal'.

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"We hope that the wise in the United States will take steps toward preventing such a unsafe decision", he said.

"But if they do, our response will be firm, decisive and crushing and the United States needs to accept the consequences", Qasemi said at a press conference, according to Iranian media reports.

The pledge came a week before US President Donald Trump announces his final decision on how he wants to contain Teheran.

He also said that such an announcement would be a "strategic mistake", echoing the statements made yesterday by the IRGC commander.

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Qasemi, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman, said the USA accusations were "baseless". We may not see the demise of the nuclear deal - at least not yet.

Individuals and entities associated with the guards are already on the U.S. list of foreign terrorist bodies, but the Revolutionary Guards organization as a whole is not. Whereas Iran's regular military (or Artesh) defends the country's borders and maintains internal order, the Revolutionary Guard is meant to protect the country's Islamic Republic system, preventing foreign interference, coups by the military or destabilization by "deviant movements" (internal groups, individuals and elements opposed to the government).

Mr Jafari said through state media: "As we've announced in the past, if America's new law for sanctions is passed, this country will have to move their regional bases outside the 2,000 km range of Iran's missiles".

Qasemi also described as "baseless" claims that Iran is working with North Korea on nuclear weapons development. United Nations Security Council resolution 2231, which implements the nuclear deal, calls on Iran not to develop ballistic missiles. He is expected on October 15 to "decertify" a landmark 2015 worldwide deal to curb Iran's nuclear programme, a step that by itself stops short of pulling out of the agreement but gives Congress 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions.

Washington's approach to designating terrorist groups also appears somewhat fickle.

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