America and Iran call each other sponsors of terror

A FEW YEARS before he became president, Donald Trump’s family probably did business with associates of Iran’s ideological armed force, the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). An article published in the New Yorker in 2017 says a tower bearing the Trump name in the Azerbaijani capital, Baku, was built by a company with links to the Guards. But on April 8th his administration blacklisted the force. Officials hailed the move as the first time America had branded a national army a terrorist outfit. “If you are doing business with the IRGC, you will be bankrolling terrorism,” Mr Trump said.

The IRGC is Iran’s most powerful institution. It can field 180,000 troops, has the country’s best weapons and has bullied its way into vast swathes of the economy. It answers directly to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, not the president, Hassan Rouhani. Within hours of America’s designation the Guards duly declared that America’s central command, which has 200,000 personnel in the Middle East and Central Asia, was a terrorist organisation.

America first branded Iran a sponsor of terror in 1984. It then designated the Quds Force (the IRGC’s unconventional-warfare arm that operates across the Middle East) a terrorist organisation in 2007. But a few years later America’s armed forces and the Quds Force...

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