Iran promised on Monday to give a "crushing" response if the United States designated its elite Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group.
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The pledge came a week before President Donald Trump announces final decision on how he wants to contain Tehran. He is expected on October 15 to will decertify the landmark international deal to curb Iran's nuclear program, in a step that potentially could cause the 2015 accord to unravel.
Trump is also expected to designate Iran's most powerful security force, the Revolutionary Guard Corp as a terrorist organization, as he rolls out a broader U.S. strategy on Iran.
"We are hopeful that the United States does not make this strategic mistake," foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA at a news conference.
"If they do, Iran's reaction would be firm, decisive and crushing and the United States should bear all its consequences," he added.
Individuals and entities associated with the IRGC are currently on the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations, but the organization as a whole is not.
Revolutionary Guard commander Mohammad Ali Jafari on Sunday said U.S. military bases in the region would be at risk if Washington designates the Guard a terrorist group.
"As we've announced in the past, if America's new law for sanctions is passed, this country will have to move their regional bases outside the 2,000 km range of Iran's missiles," Jafari said, according to state media.
Jafari also said that additional sanctions would end the chances for future dialogue with the United States, according to state media, and issued a stark warning to American troops.
"If the news is correct about the stupidity of the American government in considering the Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group, then the Revolutionary Guard will consider the American army to be like Islamic State all around the world particularly in the Middle East," Jafari said.
The Revolutionary Guard is Iran's most powerful internal and external security force. The Quds Force, the IRGC's foreign espionage and paramilitary wing, and individuals and entities associated with the IRGC are on the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations, but the organization as a whole is not.