TEHRAN, Iran — Iranians rallied on Friday against the US’s decision to designate the country’s powerful Revolutionary Guards as a foreign terrorist organization.
Thousands of worshippers came out of mosques after prayers and burned flags of both the US and Israel while also chanting traditional anti-US and anti-Israel slogans at such rallies of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”
State media said similar demonstrations took place in other Iranian cities and towns on Friday.
The US government this week designated the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group to increase pressure on Iran, isolate it further and prompt authorities to divert some of the financial resources Tehran uses to fund militant activity in the Middle East and beyond.
همه با هم پیر و جوان هم صدا با سراسر کشور لبیک به هشتگ #جمعه_پاسداری دست در دست سبزپوشان حریم ولایت با پاسداری از انقلاب اسلامی بپردازیم#جمعه_پاسداری #من_هم_سپاهی_ام #من_یک_سپاهی_ام #ما_همه_پاسداریم pic.twitter.com/87ecBufeFj
— اسماعیل الهامپی (@Esi_elhampe) April 12, 2019
Iran responded by designating all US forces as terrorist and labeling the US a “supporter of terrorism.”
Also Friday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sent a letter to the UN Security Council and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stressing that Iran would hold the US accountable for any future provocations against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC.
According to the state-run IRNA news agency, Zarif said the US and “several puppet governments will bear responsibility for dangerous consequences of the adventurism.”
“The provocative move will raise tensions to an uncontrollable level and increase threats in the region,” he said, adding that the Revolutionary Guard is at the forefront in fighting terrorism and extremism.
The commander of Iranian ground troops, Brig. Gen. Kioomars Heidari, said the US decision was self-destructive as the Americans “have put their own forces, particularly the US Central Command, in danger across the world.”
US President Donald Trump said his administration’s “unprecedented” designation “recognizes 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.”
It was the first time that Washington has branded part of a foreign government a terrorist group, meaning that anyone who deals with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps could face prison in the United States.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was formed after the 1979 Islamic Revolution with a mission to defend the clerical regime, and the force has amassed strong power both at home and abroad. The Guards’ prized unit is the Quds Force, which supports Iran-backed forces around the region, including Syrian President Bashar Assad and Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah.