Iran approves bill labeling entire US army as 'terrorist' in response to its Revolutionary Guard being deemed a 'terrorist group'
Iranian legislators approved a bill on Tuesday to label all the United States military forces as "terrorist." The decision from Iran came a day after Washington amped up pressure on Tehran by announcing that no country would be exempt from US sanctions if they continue to purchase Iranian oil.
The bill, which received overwhelming support from the legislators, is an additional step after legislators initially approved labeling the US troops in the Middle East as "terrorist." The step was taken earlier this month in response to the US designating Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a "terrorist group."
President Donald Trump's administration re-imposed sanctions on Iran last year in November, including on its energy sector, after the US withdrew from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and other powers.
The declaration of the IRGC as a terrorist group added another layer of sanctions to the paramilitary force of Iran, making it a crime to provide the force with material support, according to Al Jazeera.
According to the Iranian bill, any military and non-military assistance, including logistics support, to the US Central Command (CENTCOM), which can be detrimental to the IRGC will be considered a "terrorist" action, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency.
According to reports, the CENTCOM Area of Responsibility includes the Middle East, including Egypt in Africa, and Central Asia, most notably Afghanistan and Iraq.
The bill also demands that the Iranian government take actions against other governments that have backed the US designation of Iran's force as terrorists formally, which includes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Israel.
The Trump administration, on Monday, announced that as part of its "maximum pressure" campaign it would not be extending sanction exemptions for countries that import oil from Iran. The campaign reportedly aims to eliminate the country's oil export revenue, which according to the US, funds destabilizing activity across the region.
Iran, hours before Trump's announcement on Monday, said stated its long-running threat again of closing the Strait of Hormuz if it is prevented from using the crucial waterway in the Gulf. The waterway is used by the country for half of its oil trade at sea. The US Navy, in the past, accused has accused Iranian patrol boats of harassing the US warships in the waterway.