Forces of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (File)
Iran’s currency has fallen almost 8% after the Trump Administration sanctioned the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps on Monday.
The rial sank from 134,000:1 vs. the US dollar to 145,500:1 on Tuesday morning.
Anticipating the US move, Central Bank head Abdolnasser Hemmati insisted on Sunday that the rial was strong, despite a drop of almost 70% since January 2018; however, he failed to bolster currency markets amid comprehensive US sanctions imposed last November.
The devaluation, as well as Government intervention to prevent a further slide, has driven up inflation from single digits to almost 40%.
“Unprecedented” US Step
Donald Trump, who withdrew the US from the 2015 nuclear deal last May, announced the formal designation of the Revolutionary Guards as a “terrorist organization” on Monday.
A statement written for Trump declared, “This unprecedented step, led by the Department of State, recognizes the reality that Iran is not only a State Sponsor of Terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft.”
US officials said the designation authorizes economic and travel sanctions on 11 million members of the IRGC and affiliated units. It is the first time that the US has sanctioned an entity of another government as a foreign terrorist organization.
The Pentagon and CIA opposed the designation, arguing that it would allow Iranian officials to justify operations against Americans overseas, especially US special forces and paramilitary units working with the CIA.
But Trump promoted it as part of a campaign for regime change in Iran: “This action will significantly expand the scope and scale of our maximum pressure on the Iranian regime.”
Iranian officials immediately said they would retaliate for the designation.
The Supreme National Security Council designated the forces of US Central Command as a “terrorist organization”, in a response to Trump’s “illegal and unwise” move.
The Islamic Republic ofcIran regards this baseless move as a major threat to regional and international peace and security and a blatant violation of the compelling rules of international law and the United Nations Charter.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had called for the blacklisting of the US forces, in a letter to President Hassan Rouhani.
On Sunday, IRGC commander-in-chief Mohammad Ali Jafari threatened stronger measures without giving details: “If the Americans make such a silly move and endanger our national security, we will implement and put reciprocal measures on our agenda based on the policies of Iran’s Islamic establishment.”