Washington’s decision this week to classify Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (RGC) as a “terrorist organization” will not contribute to regional stability, according to Iraq’s Foreign Ministry.
“Our region is in dire need of decisions that help reinforce its stability,” Iraq’s Al-Forat news agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed al-Sahhaf as saying on Wednesday.
“The U.S. decision on the RGC does not serve this goal,” he added.
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).
On Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi criticized the U.S. decision, which, he warned, “could have an adverse effect on Iraq and the entire region”.
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.