Turkey's minister for Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu (R) shaking hands with Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and minister for Foreign Affairs Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani. (AFP)
CAIRO – 10 April 2019: Qatar and Turkey have voiced objection against a US decision to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist group.
“The United States issued this one-sided decision in the context of sanctions and pressure on Iran,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during a joint press conference with his Qatari counterpart Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.
“We do not support Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in Syria, but no country can declare another country’s armed forces a terrorist organization. We also do not support unilateral decisions.” Such measures “would lead to instability in the region,” Cavusoglu said.
Al-Thani said disagreements over the Iranian army’s behavior, or that of any other army, should not be solved by imposing sanctions.
President Donald Trump announced Monday the US will formally designate the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization, a move some in the administration had opposed over concerns about potential risks to US troops in the Middle East.
The step "recognizes the reality that Iran is not only a State Sponsor of Terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft," Trump said in a statement that described the IRGC as "the Iranian government's primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign."
Administration officials said the move is a response to Iran's destabilizing behavior across the Middle East, including support for the Houthi rebels in Yemen and Hezbollah in Lebanon, as well as for assassination plots in Europe and the US.
The announcement aims to drive a stake through the heart of a central institution in Iran. Formed after the Islamic revolution in 1979, the IRGC is not only Iran's most powerful military institution, it holds deep influence over domestic politics and the economy, with interests extending to and beyond the construction, telecommunications, auto and energy industries.
Following the decision, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned all companies and banks around the world from dealing with the IRGC.