Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, the IRGC’s chief commander, said that if the US designates the Guards as a terrorist group, it will consider the US Army as the equivalent of the Daesh terror group.
“If scattered news of the stupidity of the American government in considering the IRGC a terrorist group happens to be true, then the IRGC will consider the US Army to be like Daesh [ISIS] all around the world, particularly in the Middle East,” Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said.
“As we’ve announced in the past, if America’s new law for sanctions is passed, this country [the US] will have to move its regional bases outside the 2,000-kilometer range of Iran’s missiles,” Jafari warned.
Currently, US military bases are located in countries neighboring Iran, less than 500 kilometers (310 miles) from Iran’s borders.
The top commander was responding to plans by the US administration to target Iran’s affiliates, with a focus on the IRGC.
The White House said on Friday that President Donald Trump would announce new US responses to Iran’s missile tests, support for “terrorism” and cyber operations as part of his new Iran strategy.
The actions include financial sanctions on anyone who does business with the IRGC, according to AP.
They form part of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) passed in August, which relates to Iran, Russia and North Korea.
It was signed into law by Trump, who issued statements that he found the legislation to be significantly flawed.
The general said that Iran “deems the implementation of CAATSA to be equal to America’s unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA,” which will allow the country to exponentially ramp up its defense capabilities, including its missile program.
“We will use the opportunity of the stupid behavior of the Trump administration to make a leap in defense, missile and regional programs,” Jafari said.
The JCPOA stands for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – the nuclear accord which Tehran reached with the US and other countries in 2015 to limit its nuclear program in exchange for lifting of sanctions.
Trump is expected to announce by October 15 that he will "decertify” the deal in a step that potentially could cause the accord to unravel.
Jafari added that the US is mistaken if it thought it could pressure Iran into negotiating on regional issues. “If the ultimate goal of the Americans in raising such issues is to negotiate with Iran about the region, they have chosen a completely wrong path.”
New US sanctions, he said, will eliminate the chance of any engagement forever.
“These sanctions will cap the JCPOA experience for us, and the experience is that dialogue for America is a tool for pressure and hostility rather than interaction or problem-solving,” Jafari added.
The prospect of Washington retreating from the nuclear deal has worried some US allies that helped negotiate it.
If Trump does not certify that Iran is in compliance, the US Congress will have 60 days to decide whether to re-impose sanctions waived under the deal.
UN inspectors have verified eight times Iranian compliance with the terms.