A senior Iranian lawmaker says Tehran will blacklist the U.S. military - like the ISIL Takfiri terrorist group - if Washington labels Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) as a "terror organization".
Writing on Twitter, Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, head of the Iranian Parliament's Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, said Tehran would add the U.S. army to "the terrorist blacklist alongside Daesh" if the USA blacklisted the IRGC.
The Pentagon said that a move like this "could lead to a backlash against USA forces in the region without inflicting the intended damage to the Iranian economy", reported the Journal.
The decision, which critics warn could open U.S. military and intelligence officials to similar actions by unfriendly governments overseas, is expected to be announced by the U.S. State Department, perhaps as early as Monday, the officials said. The move has been rumoured for years.
Reports that Washington is preparing to officially designate Iran's elite military unit as a "terrorist organization" appeared earlier this week.
The policy change has been rumored for years and in 2017, IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari reportedly said if it was implemented, "then the Revolutionary Guards will consider the American army to be like Islamic State all around the world".
A foreign terrorist designation would make activities of the group more toxic in the view of the United States, with any transactions involving U.S. institutions or individuals subject to restrictions and punishment.
He added that if the USA endangers Iran's national security, Tehran will take reciprocal measures against Washington as well.
Republican Senator Ben Sasse said the move would be an important step in America's maximum pressure campaign against Tehran.
"We will answer any action taken against this force with a reciprocal action", a statement issued by 255 out of the 290 Iranian lawmakers said, according to IRNA, the Iranian state news agency. The nuclear agreement envisaged the gradual lifting of sanctions in return for Iran keeping its nuclear programme peaceful.
"#NetanyahuFirsters who have long agitated for FTO designation of the IRGC fully understand its consequences for U.S. forces in the region", Zarif wrote on Twitter, referring to supporters of Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, Iran's regional arch-enemy.
It is unclear what impact the U.S. designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization might have on America's activities in countries that have ties with Tehran, including in Iraq.