The chief of staff of Iran’s military made a veiled threat against U.S. forces abroad Thursday in response to the Trump administration’s new sanctions against the country.
Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri warned the U.S. that applying the new sanctions and designating Iran’s paramilitary Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terror group would be a “risk” to U.S. forces in the Middle East.
“Counting the Revolutionary Guards the same as terrorist groups and applying similar sanctions to the Revolutionary Guards is a big risk for America and its bases and forces deployed in the region,” said Bagheri, according to Reuters.
The Trump administration announced a new round of sanctions against Iran’s ballistic missile program Tuesday. U.S. officials are also reportedly considering designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also expressed his disappointment with the sanctions, promising “an appropriate response.”
The IRGC is Iran’s paramilitary force which operates parallel to Iran’s traditional armed forces. It has tremendous economic and political influence across the country, and is traditionally close to the supreme leader and other hardline members of the Iranian government.
IRGC forces are responsible for foreign military operations, including support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and various other proxy groups in the Middle East. The group is believed to have supplied weapons to Iraqi insurgents, which were used to kill American troops during the U.S. occupation. U.S. forces have not come in direct conflict with IRGC forces currently, but have had to engage in defense attacks against pro-Assad proxy groups in Syria.
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