US designates elite Iranian force as terrorist organization
The United States designated Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization, President Donald Trump said on April 8, marking the first time Washington has formally labeled another country's military a terrorist group.
Critics have warned that the move could open U.S. military and intelligence officials to similar actions by unfriendly governments.
The United States has already blacklisted dozens of entities and people for affiliations with the IRGC, but not the organization as a whole.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a strident Iran hawk, has advocated for the change in U.S. policy as part of the Trump administration's hardening posture toward Tehran.
The decision ahead of the first anniversary of Trump's decision to pull out of an international nuclear deal with Tehran and reimpose sanctions that had crippled Iran's economy.
Iranian officials reacted to initial reports prior to confirmation of the move, with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif warning of "another U.S. disaster" that he said was due to some U.S. officials acting on behalf of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is highly hostile toward Tehran.
A majority of Iranian lawmakers have also issued a statement carried by the state news agency IRNA saying that Iran would take "reciprocal action" if Washington designated the IRGC as terrorists.