Monday, October 1, 2007

'Iran government backs parliament's "terrorist" label for US army, CIA'

International Herald Tribune via Body on the Line ∙ September 30, 2007

Iran's Foreign Ministry on Sunday joined the country's parliament in labeling the U.S. Army and CIA as terrorist organizations in a largely symbolic move.

Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told reporters in his weekly brief that he agreed with the symbolic resolution passed by Iran's hardline parliament Saturday, which condemned the two American institutions for its actions in Japan in World War II, as well as more recently in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq.

"The label of terrorist is suitable for the military and security forces of the United States," he said. The move is seen as a response to a U.S. Senate resolution Wednesday calling for Iran's Revolutionary Guard to be labeled a terrorist organization.

Hosseini called the Senate's move an "unprecedented act" and warned that "even pointing to this issue is a threat and danger to global peace and security."
"It will weaken international bodies," he said.

The Iranian move is largely symbolic and still has to be ratified by the country's hardline constitutional watchdog to come into effect — and even then would have little affect the two countries already abysmal relations.

It is, however, significant that a government body is joining the hardline parliament in its description of American institutions as terrorist organizations.

The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday in favor of a resolution urging the State Department to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization. Charged with defending the system put in place after Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, the Guards answer to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and are revered by many for their defense of the country during the 1980s war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

The legislative move to classify Shiite Muslim-dominated Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard force as terrorist would be first such move against a foreign government entity and would freeze any of its assets under U.S. jurisdiction.

It would also allow the U.S. Treasury Department to move against firms subject to U.S. law that do business with the Guard, which have vast commercial interests at home and abroad.

Lebanon's senior Shiite Muslim cleric also criticized the Senate's resolution, saying Sunday that it amounted to "a war declaration" against Tehran.

The "classification of Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization, even though it (the Guard) represents the Iranian army and is a major reserve of the Iranian armed forces, cannot be viewed except as a war declaration," Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, the top religious authority for Lebanon's 1.2 million Shiites, said in a statement.

Tensions are high between Iran and the U.S. over Washington's allegations that Iran is secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons and supplying Iraq's Shiite militias with deadly weapons that have killed U.S. troops. Iran denies both claims. [So do the UN-IAEA, the CIA, and every nation on Earth minus a few neocon-Likudnik lapdogs.]

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