US 'siding with terrorists' if it places Guards on terror list, says Iran

US 'siding with terrorists' if it places Guards on terror list, says Iran
Iran said that the United States would be siding with the Islamic State group if it designated the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organisation, reports said on Tuesday.

2 min read
10 October, 2017
Reports suggest Trump Trump may designate Iran's Guards as a terrorist group [Getty]
The United States would be siding with terrorists if it were to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organisation, Tehran said on Tuesday. 

"The Guards are the defender of the nation," government spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht told reporters. 

"If the US wants to put the Guards on the terrorist list, it puts itself in the camp of terrorists. 

"Any country that wants to have such a position about the Guards will share this view with the Daesh terrorists," he said, referring to the Arabic name for the Islamic State group.

The comments came after reports in the Financial Times and other media platforms suggested US President Donald Trump may call for the Guards to be designated as a terrorist group in the coming days, as part of a tougher strategy against Iran.

Analysts say such a move would have a very limited impact on the Guards, who are already subject to a wide range of sanctions. 

However Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi threatened a "firm, decisive and crushing" response if it went ahead.  

The threat also appears to have unified Iran's establishment, which have often been bitterly divided over the current government's efforts to improve ties with the West. 

On Monday night, Iran's Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif and Guards commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari appeared together for reporters on the side-lines of a conference in Tehran. 

"Diplomatic language is different to the language of defence forces but the content and the objective is the same," Jafari said.

"Americans would isolate themselves" if they designated the Guards as a terrorist group, Zarif chimed in. 

"If American officials make such a strategic mistake, the Islamic republic of Iran will definitely take a reciprocal action. Of course some measures have been planned which we will announce in due time," he added.

Trump must decide by October 15 whether to recertify Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal it signed with world powers in 2015. 

It is widely expected that Trump will not recertify Iran, saying it is no longer in the US national interest, giving Congress 60 days to decide whether to re-impose sanctions. 

But despite Trump’s anti-Iran sentiments, the other signatories to the agreement – Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia – have urged the US to stick with the deal, saying Tehran has so far stuck to its commitments to restrict its nuclear programme. 

Agencies contributed to this report