TEHRAN - The Revolutionary Guards ground forces have missiles in its arsenal that could penetrate the armor plating fitted to Israel's Merkava tanks and the U.S. Abrams tanks, the commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards said on Wednesday, the day U.S. officials said they might label his forces "terrorists".

But the speech by Commander-in-Chief Yahya Rahim Safavi, according to a report carried by Iran's Fars News Agency, made no mention of the U.S. threat to brand his units.

Safavi also said Iran's missiles with a range of 2,000 km were fitted with equipment that enabled them to be remote controlled - an apparent reference to the Shahab-3 missile, which has the range to hit Israel - and that Iranian missiles can hit warships operating anywhere in the Gulf and Oman Sea.

"Our coast-to-sea missile systems can now reach the breadth and length of the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea and no warships can pass in the Persian Gulf without being in range of our coast-to-sea missiles," Safavi said in his speech, Fars reported.

Iran, locked in a standoff with Washington over its nuclear plans, has previously boasted it had missiles that could sink "big warships" in the Gulf, a region where U.S. aircraft carriers and warships operate.

The United States is seeking to isolate Iran over what it says is Tehran's bid to build nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian nuclear program. Iran insists its atomic plans are directed at making electricity to preserve its oil and gas for exports.

U.S. officials said on Wednesday they may soon designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organisation in a move targeting the finances of the group.

Iranian officials could not be reached for comment.