WASHINGTON: The United States is expected to designate Irans elite Revolutionary Guards Corps a foreign terrorist organization, three U.S. officials told Reuters, marking the first time Washington has formally labeled another countrys military a terrorist group.

The decision, which critics warn could open U.S. military and intelligence officials to similar actions by unfriendly governments abroad, is expected to be announced by the U.S. State Department, perhaps as early as Monday, the officials said. It has been rumored for years.

The Pentagon declined comment and referred queries to the State Department. The State Department and White House also declined to comment.

The Iranian mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a strident Iran hawk, has advocated for the change in U.S. policy as part of the Trump administrations tough posture toward Tehran.

The announcement would come ahead of the first anniversary of President Donald Trumps decision to pull out of a 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran and to reimpose sanctions that had crippled Irans economy.

Reuters

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