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Iran Designates US as World Leader of Terrorism
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Iran Designates US as World Leader of Terrorism

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USA – April 9, 2019

In a statement on Monday President Donald Trump announced that the United States is designating Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a foreign "terrorist organization", marking the first time Washington has formally labeled another country's military a "terrorist group".

Trump said that the designation "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".

The decision "underscores the fact that Iran's actions are fundamentally different from those of other governments" and he vowed to continue increasing financial pressure on Tehran until "it abandons its malign and outlaw behavior".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu swiftly welcomed the US decision on Twitter:

“Thank you, President @realDonaldTrump for your decision to designate the Islamic revolutionary guards as a terrorist organization.

Once again you are keeping the world safe from Iran aggression and terrorism.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, for his part, criticized Trump's decision as "another dangerous US misadventure" in the Middle East and a "misguided election-eve gift" to Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel

Another misguided election-eve gift to Netanyahu. Another dangerous U.S. misadventure in the region.

The latest designation allows the US to deny entry to people found to have provided the IRGC with material support or prosecute them for sanctions violations. That could include European and Asian companies and businessmen who deal with the IRGC's and its affiliates.

According to the US State Department, Trump's administration has already put sanctions in place on more than 970 Iranian individuals and entities for affiliations with the IRGC, but not the entire institution of a foreign government as a whole. Iran's regional rival, Saudi Arabia, welcomed the US’s decision on Tuesday.

In response to the designation, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council said it was likewise designating the United States Central Command as a terrorist organization, which oversees American military operations in the Middle East, and branding the United States as a "state sponsor of terrorism".

Speaking at a ceremony to mark Iran’s national nuclear technology day in Tehran on Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the United States was the real “leader of world terrorism”.

“You want to use terrorist groups as tools against the nations of the region… you are the leader of world terrorism,” he said.

Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani denounced the US’s decision as the “climax of stupidity and ignorance.” The Supreme National Security Council’s spokesman, Keivan Khosravi, said that going forward, “any unusual move by American forces in the region will be perceived as the behavior by a terrorist group.”

What can it mean, when Iran designates some organization as a “terrorist group”? The example of the terrorist group Jundallah, also known as People's Resistance Movement of Iran (PRMI), comes to mind in this case. The group has been designated a terrorist organization by Iran, New Zealand and the United States and it has been linked to, and taken credit for numerous acts of terror, kidnapping and the smuggling of narcotics.

The leader of Jundallah was Abdulmalik Rigi. On February 23, 2010, Rigi was a passenger on a flight that traveled from Dubai, United Arab Emirates to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan with a forged Afghan passport. When the plane was crossing the Persian Gulf, Iranian fighter jets intercepted it. The Iranian jets ordered the pilot to land in Iranian territory and "a number of foreign passengers were forcibly removed." When the plane landed at Bandar Abbas International Airport, Iranian forces identified Rigi and arrested him.

On June 20, 2010, the Iranian and international media reported that Rigi had been hanged in the Evin Prison in Tehran.

In response to the execution, Iran's then-Interior Minister, Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar, said:

"Over the past 30 years, our enemies faced defeat in every instance and their latest ploy was [inciting] the seditionists who wanted to break our ranks. With the execution of this villain, who was backed by several Western spy agencies and the Israelis, complete peace has returned to the region."

What could happen now, if any US official is found to be travelling in an aircraft crossing the Persian Gulf?

Another incident between Iran and the US took place in 2016 in the Persian Gulf. On January 12, 10 US sailors on two small riverine armed craft with a combined crew of nine men and one woman on board were detained by naval units from Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps off Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf. The humiliating scene with American navy members kneeling in surrender on deck was filmed by the Iranians and quickly made headlines across the world.

Under the command of Lt. David Nartker, 27, they were headed for Bahrain to take part in a military drill, having had less than 24 hours to prepare. Only one of their three boats was in order, sources said. The crew had to cannibalize one craft to get a spare part for an engine for another boat that needed repair.

Lt. Nartker’s crew reportedly did not even know where they had ended up, as the tiny islands did not appear on their GPS device. The sailors could probably have passed through the area smoothly without being detected had it not been for one of the boats – the one that had been repaired back in Kuwait – breaking down. While they tried to revive its engine, two Revolutionary Guard boats showed up.

Iran released a series of images and videos that, among other things, showed the U.S. Navy sailors on their knees with their hands clasped behind their heads as they were being apprehended on their vessels.

Lt. Nartker apologized while in Iranian detention: “It was a mistake, that was our fault, and we apologize for our mistake.”

They were promptly released by the Iranians after a series of calls by Secretary of State John Kerry, who brokered the release with his Iranian counterpart Mohammed Javad Zarif.

Netanyahu says Trump designated Iran Guards a terror group at his request, the Times of Israel wrote.

In his Hebrew tweet, Netanyahu said the move “serves the interests of our countries and of countries in the region,” and warmly thanked the US leader for “acceding to another one of my important requests.”

Author: USA Really