Iran vows to retaliate if US lists Revolutionary Guards as terror organisation

Iran has threatened to retaliate against the US if it designates its elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation.

Washington is reportedly expected to designate the IRGC as terrorists next week, marking the first time it has formally labelled another country’s military a terror group.

In response, a majority of Iranian parliamentarians said: “We will answer any action taken against this force with a reciprocal action.”

The statement was issued by 255 out of the 290 Iranian politicians, according to state news agency IRNA.

“So the leaders of America, who themselves are the creators and supporters of terrorists in the [Middle East] region, will regret this inappropriate and idiotic action,” it added.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has advocated the change in US policy as part of the Trump administration’s tough posture towards Tehran.

In 2017, IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari warned that if Donald Trump went ahead with the move “then the Revolutionary Guards will consider the American army to be like Islamic State [Isis] all around the world”.

The change in policy comes as Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged Iraq to demand US troops leave “as soon as possible” during a visit by Iraqi prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.

Iran and the US have been competing for influence in Iraq since the US-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Some 5,200 troops are stationed in Iraq as part of a security agreement with the Iraqi government to advise, assist and support the country’s troops in the fight against Isis.

“You must make sure that the Americans withdraw their troops from Iraq as soon as possible because expelling them has become difficult whenever they have had a long military presence in a country,” Iran’s supreme leader was quoted as saying by state media.

“The Iraqi government, parliament and current political activists in the country are undesirable for the Americans ... and they are plotting to remove them from Iraqi politics.”

Set up after the 1979 Islamic Revolution to protect the Shia cleric ruling system, the IRGC is Iran’s most powerful security organisation.

It controls large sectors of the Iranian economy and has huge influence in its political system.

Additional reporting by agencies