The United States is expected to designate the Revolutionary Guards a foreign terrorist organization, three USA officials told Reuters, marking the first time Washington has formally labeled another country's military a terrorist group.
Writing on Twitter, Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, head of the Iranian Parliament's Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, said Tehran would add the U.S. army to "the terrorist blacklist alongside Daesh" if the USA blacklisted the IRGC.
The Wall Street Journal, citing USA officials, said the motion could be announced on 8 April. It has been rumored for years.
CNN reported in July 2018 that the administration was considering the designation.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has advocated the change in U.S. policy as part of the Trump administration's tough posture toward Tehran.
"The designation of IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization is precedent setting".
On 26 March, the United States introduced a new round of sanctions against Iran by adding 16 entities and nine individuals to the sanctions list over their alleged financial support of the IRGC and other units of the Iranian Armed Forces.
"#NetanyahuFirsters who have long agitated for FTO designation of the IRGC fully understand its consequences for U.S. forces in the region", Zarif wrote on Twitter, referring to supporters of Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, Iran's regional arch-enemy.
The decades-long conflict between Tehran and Washington reignited a year ago when President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the U.S. out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program and re-imposed sanctions on the Islamic republic.
"The IRGC is already fully sanctioned and this escalation absolutely endangers our troops in the region".
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the IRGC was founded toward the end of Iran's 1979 revolution due to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's distrust of the Iranian military. Tehran has warned that it has missiles with a range of up to 2,000 km (1,242 miles), putting Israel and U.S. military bases in the region within reach.