US to name Iran's Guard a terrorist group

Trump administration expected to designate Iran's IRGC as a terrorist group

The decision, which critics warn could open US military and intelligence officials to similar actions by unfriendly governments overseas, is expected to be announced by the US State Department, perhaps as early as Monday, the officials said.

US national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are said to be leading supporters of the move.

"If the Revolutionary Guards are placed on America's list of terrorist groups, we will put that country's military on the terror blacklist next to Daesh [Islamic State]", Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh tweeted.

Earlier, the Foreign Policy magazine reported, citing USA officials, that the administration of President Donald Trump is considering the possibility of cutting diplomatic personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq as soon as this year or the next.

Seen as part of a broader effort to make good on US President Donald Trump's vow to take a tougher line against Iran, the proposal would - if implemented - mark an unprecedented step against an entire institution of a foreign government.

The US has already blacklisted dozens of entities and individuals affiliated with the IRGC, but not the group as a whole. They pledged to respond in kind against any action taken by the United States against Iran's armed forces.

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Meanwhile, previous year Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats cautioned the administration designating the IRGC could pose dangers to United States forces, according to one source familiar with the matter.

But defence officials have previously revealed troops in Syria and Iraq often operate within close proximity to members of IRGC.

Iranian lawmakers have also issued a statement expressing full support for the country's armed forces, especially the I-R-G-C.

"The designation of IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization is precedent setting".

Separately, Mohammad Ali Jafari, the IRGC's commander, said U.S. troops stationed in the Middle East would "lose their current status of ease and serenity" should Washington went ahead with "such foolishness" and warned of a "reciprocal move" from Tehran.

The IRGC has an estimated 125,000-strong military with army, navy and air units and answers to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

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