Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has condemned US President Donald Trump's move in designating the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terror organization, saying the United States as the “world’s leading terrorist” is in no position to make such a decision.
“You made another mistake and called the IRGC terrorist; nobody cares what you do,” Rouhani said in a speech delivered on the occasion of the National Nuclear Energy Day in Tehran on Tuesday.
"You thought you could sow division in Iran or hurt the IRGC's popularity by speaking against it?" Rouhani asked. "Rest assured that today the IRGC is more popular than ever before in the hearts of the Iranian nation as well as in the region."
Trump said in a statement on Monday that his move "makes crystal clear the risks of conducting business with, or providing support to, the IRGC. If you are doing business with the IRGC, you will be bankrolling terrorism."
Rouhani noted that the US anger was not surprising because the IRGC has been protecting the region from Daesh and other terrorist groups planted by Washington.
“The United States keeps using Daesh as an instrument and is at the pinnacle of global terrorism,” the president said.
Iranian military advisors have played a key role in defeating Takfiri militant groups in Iraq and Syria by leading joint efforts involving government and popular forces.
“It was the IRGC that rescued regional nations from terrorist atrocities,” the Iranian president said, adding, “America and Zionists hold a grudge against the IRGC because it has always been the flag-bearer of resistance.”
Downing of Iranian passenger plane
Rouhani referred to America’s downing of an Iranian passenger jet with 290 people on board back in 1988 and said: “You shot down our passenger plane and now you are speaking of fighting terrorism?”
Iran Air Flight 655, an Airbus A300B2, was flying in Iranian airspace over the Strait of Hormuz from the port city of Bandar Abbas to Dubai, carrying 274 passengers and 16 crew members on July 3, 1988, when USS Vincennes fired two SM-2MR surface-to-air missiles and destroyed it midair.
US officials have claimed all along that the warship commanders had mistaken the civilian aircraft for a warplane. This is while the warship was equipped with highly sophisticated radar systems and electronic battle gear at the time of the attack.
“You claimed after attacking the aircraft and killing its passengers that you mixed it up with an F-14 fighter jet and everybody knows how ridiculous that claim is,” Rouhani said. “You conducted this act of terror to make it clear that you don’t have any red lines; that you kill women and children … your message was support for terrorism in the region.”
Rouhani said Trump’s latest move is part of a failed 40-year US campaign against the Islamic Republic, which is the biggest victim of terrorism.
“Today, the global arrogance and the United States are venting their animosity and [making up for their ] defeats by calling terrorist a group whose main motto has been fighting terrorism,” Rouhani said.
“No country in the world can claim it is a bigger victim of terrorism than the Iranian nation, terrorists that were made by the superpowers, on top of them America, and only listened to them,” he continued.
The president said America’s decades-long economic sanctions against Iran were basically an extension of Washington’s terrorist nature.
He said that despite Washington's efforts, Iran maintained good relations with all but a couple of countries in the region.
The US had already blacklisted dozens of entities and individuals affiliated with the IRGC, but not the entire force.
In response to Trump’s move on Monday, Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) designated America's West Asia force, known as the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), a "terrorist organization."
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