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Iran law: All US troops in Mideast terrorists

China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-05-01 22:55

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during the cabinet meeting in Tehran, Iran on April 24, 2019. [Photo/IC]

LONDON — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani signed a bill into law on Tuesday declaring all US forces in the Middle East terrorists and calling the US government a sponsor of terrorism.

The bill was passed by parliament last week in retaliation for President Donald Trump's decision this month to designate Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards a foreign terrorist organization.

It was not clear what the impact of the new Iranian law might have on US forces or their Middle East operations.

Rouhani instructed the ministry of intelligence, ministry of foreign affairs, the armed forces, and Iran's supreme national security council to implement the law, state media reported.

The law specifically labels as a terrorist organization the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), which is responsible for US military operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

"These two forces (Guards and CENTCOM) that are designated as terrorist groups reciprocally might confront (each other) in the Persian Gulf or any other region. The United States will surely be responsible for such a situation," Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA on Tuesday.

The United States has already blacklisted dozens of entities and people for affiliations with the Guards, but until Trump's decision not the organization as a whole.

Long-tense relations between Teheran and Washington took a turn for the worse in May 2018 when Trump pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, reached before he took office, and re-imposed sanctions.

Meanwhile, India's ambassador to the United States said on Tuesday that US sanctions on Iran could boost oil prices and inflation to a point that hurts the common person in India.The Trump administration said it would end waivers for Iran's oil buyers.

President Donald Trump's efforts to sink Iran's oil exports to zero will have a direct impact on India, one of the largest buyers of the oil, Harsh Vardhan Shringla said at a Carnegie Endowment event.

"We are apprehensive that that impact can translate into inflation, (and) higher oil prices," that could affect the common person in India, Shringla said.

Trump's sanctions on Iran are intended to curb its nuclear and ballistic missile program and reduce its influence in Syria, Yemen and other countries in the Middle East.

Many of India's oil refineries are calibrated to process crude oil from Iran and "it is not possible to suddenly convert those refineries (to run ) some other form of crude," Shringla said. Cutting off sales of oil from Iran, with which India has long had business and cultural relations, raises questions about long-term agreements on pricing and quality in the oil business, he said.

The Trump administration surprised Iran's oil customers last week by saying no waivers on the sanctions would be granted after May 1, ending six months of exceptions to the sanctions for reductions in purchases.

India's Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said last week that India will get additional supplies from other major oil-producing countries to compensate for the loss of Iranian crude.

But US-based critics of Trump's sanctions have said that over the long term even US allies will tire of having to comply with the measures and that smuggling of the oil could eventually rise.

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