A group of Shi'ite militias in Iraq voiced rejection to Washington's designation of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization.
The Tehran-backed groups have said from the home of Iran's consul-general in Najaf that the IRGC had helped prevent four or five states from falling to Islamic State (ISIS) militants, while remaining silent about the crimes committed by these militias, especially the IMIS in Iraq and Hezbollah in Lebanon, or how Tehran is using these militias to achieve its schemes in the region.
Some of the militia groups themselves have been designated as terrorist organizations by Washington.
President Donald Trump on April 8 announced the decision to place the IRGC on the State Department FTO list, the first time the United States has designated a state entity of another government as a terrorist organization.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on April 9 that the United States had made "a vicious move," adding that the IRGC was at the "front line of confronting [the] enemies" of the Islamic republic.
The estimated 100,000-strong IRGC is a branch of the military that also plays a major role in Iran’s economy.
Trump said the designation "underscores the fact that Iran’s actions are fundamentally different from those of other governments" and warned that anyone who does business with the IRGC "will be bankrolling terrorism."
The IRGC has been involved in enforcing Islamic codes and crushing dissent at home, experts say, while taking part in covert operations, arms smuggling, and other efforts aimed at expanding Iran's influence abroad. It answers directly to Khamenei.
The United States has already blacklisted dozens of entities and people for affiliations with the IRGC, but not the organization as a whole.
In his statement on April 8, Trump said that Washington will continue to increase financial pressure and raise the costs on Iran "for its support of terrorist activity."