By Michael Hernandez
President Donald Trump slammed the Iranian government Monday in a message marking Nowruz, the Persian new year.
"Twenty-five centuries ago, Darius the Great asked God to protect Iran from three dangers: hostile armies, drought, and falsehood. Today, the Iranian regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) represents all three," Trump said in an unusually lengthy statement.
He continued to take aim at the guard corps, calling it "a hostile army that brutalizes and steals from the Iranian people to fund terrorism abroad" while accusing it of "corruption and mismanagement".
"The IRGC employs propaganda and censorship to hide the fact that the Iranian regime plunders Iran’s wealth and abuses its people," he claimed.
"Despite the oppression they face, Iranians are fighting to reclaim their rights. They long for a springtime of hope, and the United States stands with the Iranian people in their aspirations to connect to the wider world and have a responsible and accountable government that truly serves their nation’s interests," he added.
Nowruz marks the annual start of Spring and is celebrated across a wide swath of the Middle East, Caucasus
Trump has taken a hard line against Iran, its IRGC and the nuclear deal struck with world powers. He applied new sanctions on the IRGC, Iran's powerful military branch, in October.
In one of the most glaring splits with his outgoing top diplomat, Trump has threatened to withdraw from the nuclear accord unless Washington's negotiating partners in Europe agree to stricter enforcement terms.
He set a mid-May deadline for the western parties to agree to the new terms.