Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday called the United States the real leader of world terrorism, AFP reported. Rouhani’s remark came a day after Washington blacklisted Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organisation.
Tehran had on Monday responded to Washington by designating the US a state sponsor of terrorism. It also named the United States Central Command a terrorist organisation.
“Who are you to label revolutionary institutions as terrorists?” Rouhani asked in a speech marking National Nuclear Day on Tuesday. “You want to use terrorist groups as tools against the nations of the region...you are the leader of world terrorism.”
The Iranian president said the US naval ship USS Vincennes had downed Iran Air Flight 655 in July 1988 by firing missiles. “You have done everything imaginable,” Rouhani told the United States. “You wanted to tell the Iranian nation that we do not have any red lines, you wanted to say that we also kill children, you wanted to say that we also kill women.” He claimed that America has been transmitting the “message of terrorism” to the world.
Rouhani said that while the United States used terrorist groups as its tools, the Revolutionary Guards fought them “from Syria to Iraq”, Tehran Times reported. “By labelling the Guards as terrorist, America wants to compensate for its defeats at the hands of Iranians,” Rouhani claimed.
Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said the US decision was a strategic error, IRNA reported. Araqchi told Iranian National TV in an interview that the IRGC protected the Persian Gulf, where the US has strategic interests. Now, “new incidents” are possible, he added.
Araqchi claimed that the US Central Command is directly and indirectly responsible for the crisis in Syria, Yemen, Palestine and for supporting terrorists of the Islamic State group. He added that American soldiers will be considered terrorists instead of soldiers henceforth.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday called the US designation an “election-eve gift” to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He also called the move a “dangerous misadventure” on the part of the US.
Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani claimed that America’s decision shows its “stupidity and depth of animosity” towards Iran. “The bravery of the Guards against terrorists is not something that can be concealed from the eyes of nations,” Larijani said. He claimed that the IRGC “broke the back” of terrorists who “set the region on fire” in recent years.