TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran s Supreme National Security Council on Monday declared the United States a “state sponsor of terrorism” and US forces in the region “terrorist groups”, state media said.
In a statement carried by the official news agency IRNA, it said the move was in response to the United States designating Iran s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a “terrorist organisation”.
The council slammed Washington s move as an “illegal and foolish act”.
In response, it “declares that it considers the regime of the USA a state sponsor of terrorism and the Central Command of America, known as CENTCOM and all forces related to it terrorist groups ,” the statement said.
Part of America s vast military presence around the globe, CENTCOM s area of command covers multiple war zones and hotspots including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and the Gulf.
Iran s top diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif had earlier urged President Hassan Rouhani to place CENTCOM forces on Tehran s list of terror groups, his ministry said.
Zarif blasted the US move on Twitter, saying it was timed to support Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of Tuesday s parliamentary election in the Jewish state.
“A(nother) misguided election-eve gift to Netanyahu. A(nother) dangerous U.S. misadventure in the region,” he wrote.
The US decision came as part of already far-reaching attempts to undermine the Iranian government.
President Donald Trump said the “unprecedented” move “recognises the reality that Iran is not only a State Sponsor of Terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft.”
“The IRGC is the Iranian government s primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign,” Trump said in a statement.
It is the first time the United States has applied the designation to part of a foreign government, rather than guerrilla groups or other informal entities.
The move follows Trump s decision to pull the United States out of a multilateral deal with Iran that was meant to lift crippling economic sanctions in return curbs on Tehran s nuclear programme