At the same time as the US Treasury's declared Iran's powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organization as part of Trump's crackdown on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as Iran Nuclear Deal, a senior commander in Iran's Quds Force, the elite overseas arm of the IRGC said that his forces have "buried many" like Donald Trump, and the US President's threats against Iran will "damage" America.
“We are not a war-mongering country. But any military action against Iran will be regretted ... Trump's threats against Iran will damage America ... We have buried many ... like Trump and know how to fight against America,” deputy Quds commander Brigadier-General Esmail Ghaani said, cited by Tasnim news agency. The IRGC is Iran's most powerful security entity and wields control over large swathes of Iran's economy as well as considerable influence within its political system.
The crackdown on the IRGC came just two days after Iran’s foreign minister warned of a tough response if Trump proceeded with threats to scrap a landmark nuclear deal signed under the Obama administration. Speaking during a closed session of parliament on Wednesday, Mohammad Javad Zarif told lawmakers that Iran “will never renegotiate” the deal brokered between Tehran and six world powers, Fars news agency reported.
Meanwhile, as reported earlier, world leaders and other officials urged Trump to stick with the deal, with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel stating on Thursday that “a termination of the Iran agreement would turn the Middle East into a region of hot crises.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May has also urged Washington to re-certify the deal, calling it “vitally important for regional security.” France also urged Trump to stick with the deal, with President Emmanuel Macron previously saying it would be a “big mistake” for the US to withdraw, and would risk Iran entering into a “situation very similar to the North Korean situation.” In a joint statement, Theresa May, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron all reiterated their commitment to the JCPOA, and expressed concerned by the possible implications of Trump's decision not to recertify the deal:
We, the Leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom take note of President Trump’s decision not to recertify Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to Congress and are concerned by the possible implications.
We stand committed to the JCPoA and its full implementation by all sides. Preserving the JCPoA is in our shared national security interest. The nuclear deal was the culmination of 13 years of diplomacy and was a major step towards ensuring that Iran’s nuclear programme is not diverted for military purposes. The JCPoA was unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council in Resolution 2231. The International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly confirmed Iran’s compliance with the JCPoA through its long-term verification and monitoring programme. Therefore, we encourage the US Administration and Congress to consider the implications to the security of the US and its allies before taking any steps that might undermine the JCPoA, such as re-imposing sanctions on Iran lifted under the agreement.
Iran President Hassan Rouhani accused Mr Trump of delivering insults and baseless accusations in his speech. He said the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps was essential for defending his nation against terrorism and that popular chants - "Death to America" was singled out by Mr Trump as evidence of Iran's hatred - were not directed at the American people but US policies.
During a televised address on Friday, Rouhani stressed that the deal cannot be amended and no new clauses can be added to it. He said the US "is more isolated than ever" and could not unilaterally change the deal.
Iran’s President Rouhani says US President Trump’s nuclear deal speech was full of insults and baseless allegations https://t.co/KrOFJEbDCa
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) October 13, 2017
Tehran will remain committed to the accord, but only while Iranian national interests are preserved, he said. Iran, however, will never hesitate to give a “proper answer” if its interests are violated, Rouhani warned.
“The Iranian nation has not and will never bow to any foreign pressure... Iran and the deal are stronger than ever,” Rouhani said. The Iranian president dismissed America’s anti-nuclear rhetoric, saying the US is the only country to have ever used an atomic bomb.
Predictably, Rouhani also decried the newly announced US sanctions against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, which the US branded a terrorist organization. No matter the restrictions, “Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps will continue its fight against regional terrorists," Rouhani said.
Earlier on Friday, Trump announced that his administration will not recertify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement and announced new sanctions against Tehran. The US president said he wanted Congress to come up with legislation that will amend the nuclear accord. If negotiations with Tehran on the amendments fail, “the deal will be terminated,” he warned. Trump's escalation comes despite the International Atomic Energy Agency’s confirmation that the Middle East state is in compliance with its obligations. "The nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] are being implemented," Yukiya Amano, director general of the IAEA, said.
Following Trump’s address, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini stressed the nuclear deal was “not a bilateral agreement. It does not belong to any single country and it is not up to any single country to terminate it.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry also slammed the US leader’s speech, saying that any use of “aggressive” rhetoric in international relations was “doomed to fail.” Moscow also pointed out that any renewal of UN sanctions against Iran was “out of the question.”