April 8, 2019 / 3:21 PM / 11 days ago

Iran decries 'illegal' U.S. designation of Guards, retaliates with terrorism listing: state TV

FILE PHOTO: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a news conference with Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim, in Baghdad, Iraq, March 10, 2019. REUTERS/Khalid Al-Mousily/File Photo

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran warned on Monday that Washington’s designation of its elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization could endanger peace and stability in the Middle East and beyond, state TV reported.

Tehran also took retaliatory action by naming the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) as a terrorist organization and the U.S. government as a sponsor of terror.

“This unwise and illegal measure is a major threat to regional and international stability and peace ... Iran labels the American regime as a supporter of terrorism,” Iran’s Supreme National Security Council said in a statement.

U.S. President Donald Trump designated Iran’s Guards a foreign terrorist organization on Monday — an unprecedented step that will raise tensions in the Middle East.

Iranian authorities have said the U.S. decision is a great mistake that will endanger U.S. interests in the region, where Iran is involved in proxy wars from Syria to Lebanon.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter that the move was aimed at securing the re-election of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday.

“Another misguided election-eve gift to Netanyahu”, and another “dangerous US misadventure in the region”, Zarif tweeted.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards commanders have repeatedly said that U.S. bases in the Middle East and U.S. aircraft carriers in the Gulf are within range of Iranian missiles.

Iran has threatened to disrupt oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf if the United States tries to strangle Tehran’s economy by halting its oil exports.

Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Catherine Evans

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