Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 February 2020

Iran's Zarif criticises US plan to designate Muslim Brotherhood a terror organisation

The White House said it is working on sanctions against the movement

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sits for an interview with Reuters in New York, New York, US. April 24, 2019. Reuters
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sits for an interview with Reuters in New York, New York, US. April 24, 2019. Reuters

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif criticised a US plan to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation in comments made in Doha on Wednesday.

“The US is not in position to (..) start naming others as terror organisations and we reject by any attempt by the US in this regard,” he told reporters on a sideline of a conference. “The US is supporting the biggest terrorist in the region, that is Israel.”

President Donald Trump is working to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organisation, the White House said on Tuesday, which would lead to sanctions against the movement.

The debate comes less than a month after the Trump administration took the sweeping decision to declare Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards a terrorist group, the first time it has designated a unit of a government.

The Brotherhood, a nearly century-old Islamist movement born in Egypt with pockets of support across the Arab world, was designated a terrorist organisation by Cairo after the military in 2013 replaced Mohamed Morsi, a president with roots in the movement.

Placing the Muslim Brotherhood on Washington's list of foreign terrorist organisations would make it a crime for any American to assist the group and would ban from the United States its members, who are active in political parties in several countries.

"The president has consulted with his national security team and leaders in the region who share his concern, and this designation is working its way through the internal process," said White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.

The move comes three weeks after Mr Trump welcomed Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, who has demanded action against the group as the government deems it a dangerous opposition movement that could harm his rule and the country's security.

During their White House talks, Mr Trump praised Mr El Sisi for "doing a great job," saying the United States and Egypt had "never had a better relationship".

The terrorist designation would delight Mr Sisi as well as Saudi Arabia, which disdains the Muslim Brotherhood due to its support for political change in the kingdom, including over Riyadh's alliance with Washington.

Updated: May 1, 2019 05:57 PM



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