April 8 (UPI) -- The Trump administration said Monday it's formally designated Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a "terrorist" group -- a move that drew sharp reaction from Tehran.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the IRGC "masquerades as a legitimate military organization" when it sponsors and participates in terrorist activities to bolster the government in Tehran.
"This unprecedented step ... 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," President Donald Trump said in a statement. "The IRGC is the Iranian government's primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorism campaign."
Pompeo blamed the IRGC for the detention of Americans in Iran -- including U.S. Navy veteran Michael White, who was accused of insulting Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and disclosing private information on the Internet. He was sentenced to 10 years in Iranian prison.
"The American people should know that we are working diligently to bring each of those individuals home," Pompeo told reporters.
Monday's move marks the first time any army from a foreign state has been designated a terrorist entity.
Before the announcement, Iran warned the United States against making such a declaration.
"If Americans adopt such an unwise decision and undermine Iran's national security, the IRGC will implement reciprocal measures based on the Islamic Republic establishment policies," Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari said.
Chairman of National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of Iranian Parliament Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh said lawmakers would respond immediately.
"We will start a double-urgency reciprocal measure, which will make the U.S. leaders, who have been behind the formation of terrorist groups in the region and support them, regret the stupid move," a statement by Iranian lawmakers read.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad said the Trump administration "should know better than to be conned into another U.S. disaster."