Iran’s parliament on Tuesday passed a bill labelling the entire US military a terrorist organisation in response to last week’s assassination of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani by the United States.
The Iranian parliament’s presiding board earlier called the drone hit on Soleimani an act of ‘state-sponsored terrorism’.
The motion, which was approved unanimously by the Majlis, also allocated over $220 million to the Quds force, an elite unit responsible for clandestine military and intelligence operations abroad
Gen. Soleimani had been the Quds Force long-time commander; he was widely credited with helping Iraq defeat Daesh* and was considered to be one of Iran’s most prominent political figures, so his killing was interpreted by many in Iran as the de-facto declaration of war.
The US claimed that Soleimani was behind the rocket strike on an Iraqi base near Kirkuk on 27 December that killed an American contractor and injured several military personnel. The US also said, without providing evidence, that he was plotting more attacks on US assets.
Soleimani’s slaying prompted Iran to threaten retaliation and completely abandon the already-ailing 2015 nuclear deal.
There has been an ever-growing confrontation between Washington and Tehran ever since Donald Trump tore up the landmark agreement in May 2018. Following two rounds of Iran sanctions that year, the US in April 2019 designated Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation. The move paved the way for more sanctions against Iran, given the IRGC’s significant role in the nation’s economy.
Tehran responded by blacklisting the US Central Command (Centcom), which is responsible for all US military operations in the Middle East – effectively designating American troops there as terrorists.
*Daesh, aka IS/ISIS, is a terror group banned by Russia, the United States, and the United Nations.