In the latest development in US-Iran deteriorating relations, the Iranian parliament approved a motion to designate the US Military and Pentagon as ‘terrorist organisations’. Iran’s private news agency reported that the designation is in response to the assassination of their top military commander Qassem Soleimani.
Last year, the United States had designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). The Trump administration said that IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft.
“The IRGC is the Iranian government’s primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign,” the White House had said in a statement.
The designation of US forces as ‘terrorist organisation’ is expected to further escalate tensions and worsen the relationships between the two countries. Iran has already made an exit from the 2015 nuclear deal to retaliate against the actions of the US and announced to speed up its uranium enrichment programme. While the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) chief Jens Stoltenberg’s warned Iran against ‘further violence and provocations’, Iran has turned a deaf ear to calls for restraint.
In the ugly turn of events, the United States has also denied a visa to Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif meant for attending a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting in New York on December 9. The Iranian Foreign Minister has accused US President Donald Trump of violating international law and contempt for UN Charter and wanted to raise the issue in the meeting.
While several world leaders have been walking a diplomatic tightrope on US-Iran tensions, China has held the United States responsible for the escalation. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that the decision of the Trump administration to unilaterally withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal is the primary cause of nuclear tension.
On January 3, the United States announced that it killed Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike at Baghdad’s international airport. Trump said that the United States terminated him because he was plotting “imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel”. In a televised briefing, he added that Iran’s top commander made the death of innocent people his “sick passion”, contributing to terrorist plots as far away as New Delhi and London. Iran’s Supreme Leader has vowed to exact “severe revenge for the criminals who bloodied their foul hands with his blood”.
(With inputs from agencies)