Rouhani: U.S. move will make IRGC more popular 

April 9, 2019

TEHRAN - President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday that the U.S. mistake in designating the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist organization will make Iranians more united and the IRGC “more popular”. 

Rouhani, who headed Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) in the 1990s and early 2000s, praised the IRGC, saying they have been sacrificing their lives to protect Iran.
 
“Today America that holds a grudge against the Guards, blacklists the Guards,” Rouhani said in a ceremony marking National Nuclear Day.

“America has used terrorists as a tool in the region while the Guards have fought against them from Iraq to Syria,” Rouhani asserted.

“By labeling the Guards as terrorist,” Rouhani added, “America wants to compensate for its defeats at the hands of Iranians.”
  
On Monday U.S. President Donald Trump labeled the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization.

In a show of solidarity with the IRGC, Iranian lawmakers attended the parliament on Tuesday dressed in IRGC uniform.
Immediately after the U.S. move against the IRGC, the SNSC took a retaliatory measure by naming the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) as a terrorist organization and the U.S. government as a sponsor of terror.

Rouhani and other Iranian officials have warned that terrorist designation against the IRGC will endanger U.S. interests in the region.

‘Election gift to Netanyahu’

In a tweet on Monday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the decision against the IRGC is an “election-eve gift” to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel is holding an election today.

Zarif also called the move a “dangerous U.S. misadventure in the region.”

‘Terror designation shows U.S. stupidity’

Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani also said the U.S. decision shows Washington’s “stupidity” and the “depth of its animosity” toward Iran.

Larijani said in the recent years that terrorists had put the region “on fire” it was the IRGC that “broke their back”.
 “The bravery of the Guards against terrorists is not something that can be concealed from the eyes of nations,” Larijani added.
 
Since coming to power in the White House in January 2017, Trump has been venting anger against Iran. In May 2018, he pulled the U.S. out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and 5+1 nations, and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.

This happened despite the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly confirmed that Iran is fully abiding by the terms of the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

However, Iran has threatened to abandon the deal and expedite its nuclear work if other signatories to the pact fail to protect Tehran’s interest.

“I am telling you (American leaders), if you pressure us, we will mass produce IR8 advanced centrifuges,” Rouhani warned.

PA/MH

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