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8 Apr, 2019 18:36

Trump declaring IRGC terrorists cheered by hawks, slammed as ‘step toward conflict’ by critics

Trump declaring IRGC terrorists cheered by hawks, slammed as ‘step toward conflict’ by critics

US President Donald Trump’s decision to designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization was met with cheers by Israel and US foreign policy hawks. Critics called it stupid and dangerous.

The IRGC “actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft,” Trump said in a statement on Monday.

The designation came on the eve of elections in Israel, where the incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces a tough challenge from an opposition coalition. Netanyahu was quick to thank Trump, telling the US president he was “keeping the world safe from Iranian aggression.”

Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called the designation a “long overdue step.” His colleague Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) went a step further, calling the IRGC was a “direct arm of the Ayatollah’s hateful policies.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused the IRGC of “actively engaging” in terrorism for 40 years – since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 overthrew the US-backed monarchy. Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton was also jubilant about the designation.

Monday’s announcement showed “maniac” Bolton was dominating Trump’s foreign policy, according to journalist Glenn Greenwald, who called the IRGC designation “stupid, dangerous & provocative, making it much harder to forge a peace with Iran.”

Iranian-American activist Trita Parsi reasoned along similar lines, saying it is not a coincidence that all doors to diplomacy with Iran are being closed off one by one. Parsi also argued “key US allies” in the Middle East have long pushed Washington into war with Iran; he named no names, but it was clear he was referring to Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Ben Rhodes, adviser to former President Barack Obama and one of the architects of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, said the terrorist designation “only makes sense as a step toward conflict.”

Matt Duss, foreign policy adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), argued that Trump’s Iran policy has been opposed by “security professionals” and promoted by “ideologues and grifters.”

Lebanese journalist Rania Khalek pointed out that Iran was critical to defeating Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) in Iraq and Syria as well as Al-Qaeda, describing the designation as “backwards.”

Designating the IRGC a terrorist organization even as it provided relief to severe flooding in Iran was a “sadistic” move, according to RT America’s Dan Cohen.

At least 70 people have died in late March and early April due to torrential rains triggering floods in 24 out of Iran’s 31 provinces. Tens of thousands of people in nearly 2,000 cities and villages have been affected.

Iran has responded to the US designation by placing the US Central Command (CENTCOM) on its own terrorist blacklist.

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