Mohsen Rezaei, a senior commander in Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), has warned the US Navy to keep its vessels, including an aircraft carrier, at a distance from IRGC speed boats in Gulf waters.
“Mr Trump, tell your warships not to pass near the Revolutionary Guards boats”, the ISNA news agency cited Rezaei as saying on Tuesday.
The remarks came a day after Washington designated the IRGC as a terrorist organisation, in what Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described as a move rooted in America’s “rancour” against the IRGC.
“The IRGC is the vanguard both on the field confronting the enemy on [Iranian] borders and even several thousand kilometres away [in Syria] as well as on the political battleground against the enemy”, Khamenei pointed out.
Referring to the US’ move to blacklist the IRGC, Khamenei said that “such malice will lead nowhere” and that “with the their deceit rebounding back to themselves, the Islamic Republic’s enemies — such as Trump and the idiots […] in the US government — are moving toward rock bottom”.
IRGC head Mohammad Ali Jafari, in turn, dismissed Washington's designation, which he said “was quite laughable since the Revolutionary Guards are in people's hearts”.
Jafari also pledged that “the Revolutionary Guards will increase its defensive and offensive capabilities in coming year”.
Earlier, Iran's Supreme Security Council reportedly designated the US CENTCOM and related forces as a terrorist organisation.
“As a retaliatory measure to the US illegal decision [to recognize the IRGC as a terrorist organization], Iran declares the US regime a ‘state that supports terrorism’ and the CENTCOM and forces that are linked to it a 'terrorist group’”, the security council's statement, quoted by the Islamic Republic of Iranian Broadcasting state media outlet, read.
Announcing the decision to blacklist the IRGC on Monday, US President Donald Trump boasted that this “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”.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, for his part, confirmed that the designation will take effect one week from now, and called on other countries to follow suit.
US-Iranian relations collapsed to their lowest level in decades last May, when the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
*Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State) is a terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries.
In addition, Trump pledged to reinstate all nuclear-related sanctions against Tehran and to bring Iran's oil exports to a complete halt.
*Daesh (ISIL/ISIS/Islamic State), a terrorist group banned in Russia and a number of other countries