The leader of the Iranian Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) on Sunday effectively threatened to launch missiles at American military bases in the Middle East and treat United States troops like ISIS if the US escalates sanctions on Iran and labels the IRGC a terrorist group. Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said that new US sanctions on Iran would be viewed as an American withdrawal from the nuclear deal, according to a report by the Fars News Agency.
As a result, “If the US new sanctions act comes into action, the country (the US) should transfer its regional bases to 2,000km away, that is as far as the range of Iranian missiles,” Fars quoted the IRGC commander as saying.
He wasn’t done there. Following a report from Politico that the Trump Administration plans to label the IRGC a terrorist organization, Jafari unleashed. “If reports prove to be true that the stupid US administration intends to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization, then the IRGC will also specify the US army as a group (and target) like ISIL [a.k.a. ISIS] in all parts of the world, specially the Middle-East,” Fars quoted him as saying.
The dramatic escalation in rhetoric by Iran comes as the Administration of US President Donald Trump is set to make multiple decisions on Iran. President Trump has until October 15 to decide whether or not to certify to Iran’s compliance with the international nuclear deal. In addition, the Politico report noted that national security adviser H.R. McMaster has an October 31 deadline for a report reviewing the U.S. policy towards Iran.
According to Politico, part of that new policy approach is to name the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization for the first time. Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported that Trump does plan to “decertify” the Iran deal by arguing it is not in America’s security interests.
However, he is not expected to advocate for renewed sanctions, which would definitively take the US out of the nuclear agreement with Iran. A separate in-depth report by The Washington Post noted that the decertification won’t officially back the US out of the deal without new sanctions.
Overall, the approach fits in with comments made last week by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who said his office planned to present to Trump “a couple of options of how to move forward to advance the important policy towards Iran.”
In comments published by the State Department, Tillerson said on October 4 that the nuclear deal “represents only a small part of the many issues that we need to deal with when it comes to the Iranian relationship.”
“It is an important part of that, but is not the only part,” he said. “And I’ve said many times we cannot let the Iranian relationship be defined solely by that nuclear agreement.”
The Washington Post’s report on Trump’s expected approach to that nuclear agreement was based on a strategy briefing, it also noted that the plans could change. So while the US is still keeping its intentions officially a secret, Iran has certainly made its response to some of those options very clear.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, October 8, 2017)