US President Donald Trump yesterday designated Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization, marking the first time Washington has formally labeled another country's military a terrorist group.
Critics have warned that the move could open US 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.
"The IRGC is the Iranian government's primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign," Trump said in a statement.
The designation "makes crystal clear the risks of conducting business with, or providing support to, the IRGC," Trump said. "If you are doing business with the IRGC, you will be bankrolling terrorism."
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a strident critic of Iran, has pushed for the change in US policy as part of the Trump administration's tough posture toward Tehran.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday warned all banks and business of consequences to dealing with Iran's Revolutionary Guards, reported Reuters.
"Businesses and banks around the world now have a clear duty to ensure that companies with which they conduct financial transactions are not conducted with the IRGC in any material way," he told reporters, using the acronym for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Iran warned this weekend that if the US went ahead with the designation, Tehran would retaliate by designating the US military as a terrorist organisation in return, reported CNN online.