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Teheran pledges crushing reply if Guards banned


Iran promised on Monday to give a “crushing” response if the United States designated its elite Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist group as the UN atomic agency Yukiya Amano chief on Monday affirmed Iran’s commitment to a 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran’s pledge came a week before President Donald Trump announces final decision on how he wants to contain Teheran. He is expected on October 15 to “decertify” a landmark 2015 international deal to curb Iran’s nuclear programme, a step that by itself stops short of pulling out of the agreement but gives Congress 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions.

Trump is also expected to designate Iran’s most powerful security force, the Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation as he rolls out a broader US strategy on Iran.

“We are hopeful that the United States does not make this strategic mistake,” foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying by the state news agency Irna at a news conference.

“If they do, Iran’s reaction would be firm, decisive and crushing and the United States should bear all its consequences,” he added.

Individuals and entities associated with the IRGC are already on the US list of foreign terrorist organisations, but the organisation as a whole is not.

IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari said on Sunday “if the news is correct about the stupidity of the US government in considering the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist group, then the Revolutionary Guards will consider the US army to be like Daish all around the world.”

Jafari also said that additional sanctions would end the chances for future dialogue with the United States and that the Americans would have to move their regional bases outside the 2,000 km range of IRGC’s missiles.

“I can state that the nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the (nuclear agreement) are being implemented,” the International Atomic Energy (IAEA) Agency chief said in prepared remarks during a conference in Rome.

An IAEA report released last month had also affirmed Iran’s compliance with the programme, which froze some of Tehran’s nuclear activities.

Iran’s stock of low-enriched uranium – used for peaceful purposes, but when further processed for a weapon – did not exceed the agreed limit of 300 kilos, the report said.

It added that Iran “has not pursued the construction of the Arak… reactor” — which could give it weapons-grade plutonium — and has not enriched uranium above low purity levels.

The deal was signed in July 2015 by Iran and five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany – establishing controls to prevent Tehran from developing an atomic bomb.