Iran is warning the United States against designating its Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization, saying it would put the United States on the side of the Islamic State group.
"The Guards are the defender of the nation", government spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht told reporters.
While President Donald Trump is expected to announce this week that he will not certify Iran as in compliance with the landmark nuclear deal, it remains unclear if he will follow through with congressionally approved plans to extend a terror designation to the IRGC, a move that has prompted Iran to threaten greater attacks on USA forces in the Middle East. Jafari says the USA would have to move its military bases in the region outside the 1,250-mile range of the Revolutionary Guards' missiles. The U.S. government has sanctioned individuals and entities with ties to the Guard in the past, including a special forces unit in 2007.
Ali Akbar Velayati, a top Iranian offical, appeared to suggest military options were being considered.
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bahram Qassemi said on Monday that if the United States follows through with this "strategic mistake", then "Iran's response will be firm, decisive, and crushing and the United States should accept its consequences", according to Iran's Tasnim News. "Of course some measures have been planned which we will announce in due time", he added.
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Trump has repeatedly bashed a deal signed previous year by Iran and leading world powers curbing Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.
It is widely expected that Trump will not recertify Iran, saying it is no longer in the U.S. national interest, giving Congress 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions.
His comments come just 24 hours after Iran threatened the USA with a "firm, decisive and crushing" response to sanctions. Iran says it does not seek nuclear weapons and in turn blames the growth of militant groups such as the Islamic State group on the policies of the United States and its Gulf Arab fundamentalist Wahhabi allies.
"We are not afraid of the USA measures, " Rouhani said in the weekly cabinet meeting. "It is time to teach them a new lesson".
"It seems the Trump administration understands nothing but expletives and needs some shocks to learn the new concept of power in today's world", Deputy Chief of Staff of Iran's Armed Forces Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri said on Tuesday.