A senior Iranian official has cautioned that the Trump administration has waged an economic war against the Islamic Republic, particularly targeting the country’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.). “If the Americans were able to attack Iran, they would have done so a few years ago,” Mohsen Rezaei, the Secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council, said at a gathering of members of the I.R.G.C. and Basij Force in Hamadan Province on Thursday. The former I.R.G.C. chief commander called on all Iranians to act in unison to boost the country’s economy and promote “revolutionary spirit” among Iranian youth in order to foil enemy plots.
Rezaei blasted the latest U.S. sanctions against Iran, but stressed that the international community is not siding with the Trump administration to isolate the Islamic Republic. “You, as soldiers, confronted the humanity’s worst enemies. Today, our Guardsmen are facing the world’s worst terrorists. Our enemies are readying to weaken Sepah (I.R.G.C.), Basij and protection of the revolution so as to silence the voice of support for the oppressed,” he warned.
Comment: Tehran has responded more seriously to the latest U.S. sanctions because they target the I.R.G.C. and its elite Quds Force. After President Donald Trump signed the new sanctions, the Iranian Parliament earlier this month approved a bill titled “Countering America’s Adventurous and Terrorist Actions” which obliges the ministries of foreign affairs, defense and intelligence as well as the I.R.G.C. and its elite Quds Force to work together to prepare a “comprehensive strategic plan” to “counter the U.S. threats and subversive activities” against the Islamic Republic. The bill also requires relevant authorities to take actions against America’s “imperialistic, terrorist and divisive policies” and to report on the implementation of the plan to the parliament on an annual basis. According to the bill, the strategic plan, among other things, should cover the following:
- Summarize the strategic goals and short-term and long-term plans of the United States against Iran
- Identify countries that cooperate with the United States in achieving its goals
- Assess the U.S. military and intelligence capabilities and activities in the region
- Identify and report on U.S. “terrorist and hostile” activities in the region, including providing funding, weapons and training to “repressive” regional governments, particularly Israel
- Document U.S. human rights abuses
- U.S. assistance to terrorist and extremist groups in the Middle East, including the Islamic State, al Qaeda and Mojahedin-e-Khalq
In addition, the bill also requires the government to allocate more than $300,000,000 to further upgrade the country’s missile capabilities and a similar amount to the Quds Force, which is responsible for the I.R.G.C.’s external operations, particularly in the conflict zones of Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.