By NASSER KARIMI Associated Press
TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian lawmakers dressed in paramilitary uniforms chanted “Death to America” as they convened Tuesday for an open session of parliament after the White House designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a foreign terrorist organization.
President Hassan Rouhani declared that the force’s popularity would only surge in the wake of the designation, saying guard members would be dearer “than any other time in the hearts of Iranian nation.”
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised the guard and said America’s “evil designs would not harm” the force.
The move by Washington on Monday was an unprecedented declaration against a foreign government entity — one that could prompt retaliation and make it harder for Americans to work with allies in the region who have contact with members and affiliates of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC.
It marks the first time the United States has designated an entire entity of another government as a terrorist organization, placing a powerful and expansive armed force with vast economic resources that answers only to Iran’s supreme leader in the same category as al-Qaida and the Islamic State group.
Iran’s rival, Saudi Arabia, welcomed the U.S. decision, describing it as a “serious and practical step to combat terrorism.”