"[It's] the first time a government agency — a military — has been labeled a terrorist organization," Zeese told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear on Monday. "So if you want to start labeling militaries as terrorist organizations, we have a pretty long list, and the US would be at the top because we've killed more civilians more than any other country in the world."
"Not just in recent years, but since World War II," he added.
US President Donald Trump announced Monday that his administration would be hitting Iran's IRGC military force, including its Quds Force, with an FTO label because the group "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. "This action sends a clear message to Tehran that its support for terrorism has serious consequences."
The US move comes months after the US Department of Treasury imposed sanctions on the military organization in October 2017. At the time, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin cited similar reasons, stating that the IRGC "has played a central role to Iran becoming the world's foremost state sponsor of terror."
The Wall Street Journal first reported on Friday that the Trump administration was preparing to issue the FTO designation.
Zeese explained to hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou that the CIA has been against the designation for years over concerns that it would "put dialogue with other countries at risk, because the Iranian Revolutionary Guard [Corps] is involved in other countries, and is tied to Hezbollah," he said. Hezbollah is increasingly represented in the Lebanese government.
He added that the CIA was also concerned that the designation could endanger US servicemembers. "This is a counterproductive move, it's one more mistake… and we really need to break free of these course of measures and start to recognize the independence of countries, like Iran and Venezuela," Zeese said.
"This is a propaganda effort by the United States, but it's also an economic war effort, and it's really something that the people of the United States need to start standing up to," he continued.
"We have a lot of work to do as activists."
Since the US announcement, Tehran has responded by classifying US Central Command and related American forces as a terrorist group. Iran's Supreme National Security Council called the IRGC designation an "illegal and unwise move from the US."