- The Washington Times - Monday, October 9, 2017

Tehran issued a thinly-veiled warning to U.S. and allies troops in the Middle East, saying those forces could be at risk should Washington press ahead with fresh sanctions against Iran.

“If America’s new law for sanctions is passed, this country will have to move their regional bases outside the 2,000-kilometer range of Iran’s missiles,” Iranian Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, head of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps or IRGC, told state-run media Monday.

His comments come as the Trump administration weighs whether to designate the Corps as a terrorist group.

Gen. Jafari went further Monday, saying that Iranian forces would consider U.S. troops in the region on par with the Islamic State if the White House follows through with its threat to label Iranian troops as terrorists.

“If the news is correct about the stupidity of the American government in considering the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist group, then the Revolutionary Guards will consider the American army to be like Islamic State all around the world, particularly in the Middle East,” he said.

Tagging Iranian forces as terrorists and issuing new sanctions as a result is one of the options Trump White House officials are reportedly weighing as part of a new U.S. strategy toward Iran.

The IRCG and its elite Quds Force units have reportedly provided weapons, training and support for Lebanese terror groups such as Hezbollah, while facilitating the same kind of support for Shia paramilitaries fighting alongside forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

IRCG members were also reportedly the main military force coordinating Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program, prior to the signing of a landmark nuclear deal granting greater oversight into Iran’s nuclear enrichment programs in exchange for eased political and economic sanctions.

Mr. Trump has reportedly said he has made a decision on whether to re-certify the Iran deal, which is due on Oct. 15. But he has not indicated whether he will choose to decertify the pact or continue Washington’s participation in the deal.

Last week, Defense Secretary James Mattis told Congress that the decision was still pending, declining to speculate on whether Mr. Trump was leaning toward decertification.

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