IRGC Popular in Baghdad, Erbil, Damascus, Beirut: Iran President

DS    
   SEVERE THREAT Iran is furious the US is planning to blacklist its Revolutionary Guards

Iran told the United States on Tuesday that it will keep "all options on table" if President Donald Trump designate its elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a terrorist organization.

"The Guards are the defender of the nation", government spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht told reporters.

"Any country that wants to have such a position about the Guards will share this view with the Daesh terrorists", he said, using another name the Islamic State group.

While President Donald Trump is expected to announce this week that he will not certify Iran as in compliance with the landmark nuclear deal, it remains unclear if he will follow through with congressionally approved plans to extend a terror designation to the IRGC, a move that has prompted Iran to threaten greater attacks on USA forces in the Middle East.

Iranian officials vowed last week to strike USA forces and bases in the region if the Trump administration moves forward with extending a terror designation to the IRGC. "Iran's reaction would be firm, decisive, and crushing, and the United States should bear all its consequences", the Guardian quotes ministry spokesperson Bahram Qasemi as saying Monday.

The threat also appears to have unified Iran's establishment, which have often been bitterly divided over the current government's efforts to improve ties with the West.

Ali Akbar Velayati, a top Iranian offical, appeared to suggest military options were being considered.

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"Diplomatic language is different to the language of defence forces but the content and the objective is the same", Jafari said.

The administration may be getting cold feet due to the objections of key US officials and those in the Treasury Department who view such a designation as harmful to American companies that have business interests in Iran, where the IRGC controls a majority of the economy, sources said.

"Unlike the pre-deal era when the whole world was united against Iran, the world is now united against the United States, particularly so because Trump's measures regarding other worldwide agreements has sparked global opposition", former Iranian diplomat Javid Ghorban Oghli said in an op-ed written for pro-reform Shargh Daily. "Of course some measures have been planned which we will announce in due time", he added.

US President Donald Trump is expected on October 15 to "decertify" a landmark 2015 worldwide deal about Iran's nuclear program, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

If Trump declines to certify the Iran deal, USA congressional leaders would have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on Tehran suspended under the agreement.

"If the USA wants to make its next mistake by taking any measure against the IRGC, then that will be a grave mistake", he noted, adding that the IRGC is not just a military organization, but a body that Iranian people love and has always defended the country's national interests during days of danger.

According to the spokesman, the USA shouldn't pressure Iran while negotiating regional issues. "It's time America be taught new lessons".

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