The Iranian military feels U.S. President Donald Trump doesn’t understand its full capabilities and needs to be taught “new lessons,” Newsweek reports.
“It seems the Trump administration only understands swear words, and needs some shocks to understand the new meaning of power in the world. The Americans have driven the world crazy by their behavior. It is time to teach them a new lesson,” Masoud Jazayeri, spokesman for the Iranian armed forces and Revolutionary Guards commander, said Tuesday.
The comment comes as Trump reportedly plans to designate Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization and appears ready to declare Iran in violation of a landmark 2015 international nuclear deal. Both moves would be met with deep dissatisfaction by the Iranian government.
A spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry warned on Monday Iran’s response to blacklisting the Revolutionary Guard would be “firm, decisive and crushing and the U.S. should accept its consequences.”
The head of the Revolutionary Guard, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, said on Sunday the U.S. military would be treated like ISIS if Iran’s top fighters are labeled terrorists by the Republican president.
Jafari added that his country would respond to any new sanctions from the U.S. by expanding Iran’s missile capabilities.
“As we have announced in the past, if America’s new law for sanctions is enforced, this country will have to move its regional bases outside the 2,000 km radius of the Iranian missiles’ range,” Jafari said.
The Revolutionary Guard, which was founded after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, is responsible for defending Iran from internal and external threats, but it’s also one of the most powerful entities in Iran and its influence extends far beyond national security.
If the very organization protecting Iranians and their neighbors from terrorist groups, and the military branch that has the same professed goals as the U.S. in defeating the Islamic State and other militant groups in Iraq and Syria, is deemed to be not just an adversarial force but a terrorist group it might very well be seen by some Iranians as stopping just shy of a declaration of war against their country, Foreign Policy reports.
If Trump were to blacklist the force, which also plays a significant role in Iran’s economy, it could make things difficult for Iranian businesses in terms of interacting with international markets.
Another fact seemingly ignored by the administration is that the IRGC is engaged in wide-ranging economic activities, which were begun in the reconstruction period after the Iran-Iraq War when few foreign firms were willing or able to enter the Iranian market.
It is difficult to certify that any particular business in Iran is not linked in some way, however minor, to the IRGC or an IRGC-controlled entity or even just to former IRGC officers. If the IRGC becomes a “foreign terrorist organization,” it will become illegal for any company doing business with it to do business in the United States.