Lebanon’s Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Wednesday condemned the U.S.’ decision to declare Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (RGC) as a “terrorist organization”.
“The United States humiliates an entire nation [Iran] for Israel, makes terrorist groups and facilitates them, and then declare defenders of the land and sanctities terrorists,” Nasrallah said in a televised speech.
Extending his group’s support to Iran, the Hezbollah leader said the Washington’s decision reflects “U.S. President Donald Trump’s disappointment over the strength and influence of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps”.
On Monday, the U.S. administration took the unprecedented step of officially designating Iran’s RGC as a “foreign terrorist organization”.
The move marked the first time for a government agency to be designated as a “terrorist” entity (although Iran’s Quds Force, a component of the RGC, was dubbed a “supporter of terrorism” by the U.S. Treasury in 2007).
Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, for its part, responded to the move by officially designating U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) — and all affiliated bodies — as a “terrorist organization”.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif described the U.S. decision as a “gift” to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in advance of Tuesday’s Knesset elections (in which Netanyahu’s Likud-led coalition won a majority of seats).
Iran’s powerful RGC was originally founded to serve as the vanguard of the country’s 1979 revolution. It currently enjoys more autonomy than the rest of Iran’s military, answering directly to Iran’s supreme leader.
The RGC is also solely responsible for Iran’s formidable ballistic missile program.