Senior White House officials confirm announcement for Monday; Iranian lawmakers warn US against “inappropriate and idiotic action”; Iran and Iraq announce enhanced air defense cooperation

The United States will officially recognize Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. The US State Department is expected to make the announcement on Monday after senior White House officials confirmed reports to journalists on Sunday. The United States will be the first country to designate an entire foreign government entity as terrorist. US sanctions have crippled Iran’s economy, Iran accusing Israel and the United States of “economic war” on the Islamic Republic.

Last week during a US State Department briefing, a spokesperson gave an update on the “President’s Iran strategy”, referring to the 970 Iranian entities and individuals targeted in sanctions, as well as “70 Iran-linked financial institutions and their foreign and domestic subsidiaries.” On Iran and Syria specifically, he stated, “We have targeted Iran’s illicit oil shipping networks, which enrich the brutal Assad regime and terrorist partners like Hezbollah. We are taking unprecedented steps to deepen our cooperation with allies and partners to confront Iranian-backed terrorism and aggression. Joint teams from the departments of State and Treasury have now visited more than 50 countries around the world to brief on our new policy and warn of the dangers and reputational risks of doing business with Iran.”

The US State Department reported on the President’s strategy for Iran, “Almost one year after the United States ended its participation in the Iran nuclear deal, and five months after the full reimposition of our sanctions, it is clear that our actions are restricting Iran’s cash flow. They are constraining its ability to operate freely in the region.” Also last week, a senior Trump Administration official claimed the White House may place more sanctions on Iran next month to coincide with the anniversary of President Trump leaving the nuclear deal.

Iran continues to develop and test its ballistic missile program despite its violation of international law and the nuclear agreement, mainly UN Security Council Resolution 2231. Under the resolution, Iran is forbidden to produce, create or launch ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Specifically on Iran’s missile program, the US State Department updated, “We are also working with our allies and partners to oppose Iran’s ballistic missile program. The United States, the UK, France and Germany have repeatedly highlighted Iran’s defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which calls upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons. We relayed our strong concerns to the UN Secretary-General following Iran’s launch of a medium-range ballistic missile in December, and its attempted satellite launches in January and February.”

Iranian lawmakers warned the United States against designating the Corps a terrorist organization. A majority of Iranian lawmakers released a statement on Sunday claiming that “the leaders of America, who themselves are the creators and supporters of terrorists in the region, will regret this inappropriate and idiotic action.”

Meanwhile on Monday, both Iran and Iraq announced enhanced air defense cooperation, Iran’s Chief of Staff Mohammad Bagheri reporting following a meeting with his Iraqi counterparty, Othman Al-Ghanmi, “Since air threats on Iraq and Iran are possible from the direction of the western borders, we decided to launch close cooperation in the field of air defense between the two countries.”

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