Iran's Supreme National Security Council on Monday officially designated U.S. Central Command operating in the Middle East as a terrorist group.
The move was a direct reaction to the Trump administration earlier in the day designating the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) in a similar fashion.
As the Iranian FARS News Agency reports, the statement from the SNSC
declared the United States a "terrorist government," and blacklisted the "CENTCOM and all its affiliates a terrorist group" to reciprocate Washington's controversial decision to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization.
In a statement issued on Monday evening, the SNSC—that is headed by President Hassan Rouhani—condemned Washington's move, calling it "an illegal and dangerous action" that poses a "major threat to regional and international peace and security and grossly violates the rules of international law."
In its declaration, the SNSC also invoke the ongoing carnage in Yemen being carried out by the U.S.-backed Saudi coalition, and charged that the U.S. government and its allies "have always been advocates of extremist groups and terrorists" in the Middle East. The American military, the Iranians argued, must take responsibility for "the dangerous consequences of its adventures" in the region.
If Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is a “terrorist organization” because it has “been directly involved in terrorist plotting, malign activity and outlaw behavior in many countries” then what label could justly describe the entirety of the US military & national security state?
— Daniel Denvir (@DanielDenvir) April 8, 2019
The move by Tehran followed a formal request by Foreign Minister Javad Zarif submitted to Iran's President Hassan Rouhani:
In a letter to President Rouhani, Zarif requests the U.S. army and CENTCOM be put on Iran's list of terrorist groups in response to today's U.S. designation of the IRGC as an FTO. https://t.co/8r6eMSvYLp
— Erika Naegeli (@erikanaegeli) April 8, 2019
While anti-war voices in the U.S. condemned the State Department's new designation of the IRGC as just the latest policy by the Trump administration designed to bring the two countries closer to war, the Iranian response was not unexpected.