US President describes impact of Paris Accord
U.S. President Donald Trump refers to amounts of temperature change as he announces his decision that the United States will withdraw from the landmark Paris Climate Agreement, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Donald Trump has designated Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) as a “foreign terrorist organization” (FTO), a move that will further worsen U.S.-Iran relations and is expected to complicate the Middle East situation.

“Today, I am formally announcing my Administration’s plan to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including its Qods Force, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act,” Trump said in a statement issued by the White House on Monday. “This unprecedented step, led by the Department of State, recognizes the reality that Iran is not only a State Sponsor of Terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft,” Trump said. “The IRGC is the Iranian government’s primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign,” the statement continued.

“This designation will be the first time that the United States has ever named a part of another government as an FTO.It underscores the fact that Iran’s actions are fundamentally different from those of other governments,” he noted. “This action will significantly expand the scope and scale of our maximum pressure on the Iranian regime. It makes crystal clear the risks of conducting business with, or providing support to the IRGC.If you are doing business with the IRGC, you will be bankrolling terrorism,” Trump warned.

Later, the White House issued a separate statement, saying that the unprecedented designation, part of “a broader effort to counter Iran-backed terrorism around the world,” will “increase the financial pressure and isolation of Iran and deprive the regime of resources it uses for its terrorist activities.”

“This action puts other governments and the private sector on notice about the nature of the IRGC,” it said.In response, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that the U.S. designation is “another misguided election-eve gift to Netanyahu. A dangerous U.S. misadventure in the region.”

Zarif took to Twitter to denounce the move, which had been reported by the U.S. media on Friday. He said on Sunday that “#NetanyahuFirsters who have long agitated for FTO designation of the IRGC fully understand its consequences for U.S. forces in the region. In fact, they seek to drag the U.S. into a quagmire on his behalf.”

“@realDonaldTrump should know better than to be conned into another U.S. disaster,” Zarif added. The IRGC on Sunday warned against any move by the United States to designate it as a “terrorist organization.” “If the Americans make such a silly move and endanger our national security, we will put reciprocal measures on our agenda based on the policies of Iran’s Islamic establishment,” Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari was quoted as saying by Press TV.

Also on Sunday, Heshmatollah Falahat Pishe, chairman of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, told Tasnim news agency that the parliament has prepared a motion in this regard, and “Iran will consider the U.S. army as a terrorist organization if the United States designates the IRGC a terrorist group.” U.S. media quoted analysts as saying that the U.S. move, together with possible retaliation from Iran and the Shiite forces in Middle East nations, would further escalate the regional confrontation, and complicate the mission of U.S. forces and diplomats in the region that have to engage with governments that may have close links with Iran

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