In March, the Biden Administration had signaled that it would consider removing the IRGC’s FTO designation, at the behest of Iranian negotiators, as a condition for Iran’s return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran Nuclear Deal. President Trump designated the IRGC as an FTO in April 2019, marking the first time the U.S. has assigned the designation to an entity of a foreign government.
At a press briefing on Friday, a State Department spokesperson stated that President Biden has rejected Iran’s demand and remains resolute that the IRGC is a terrorist organization. According to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, U.S. refusal to delist the IRGC will likely stymie near-term progress on a renewed Iran Nuclear Deal.
Iran’s international proxy militias—including Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq, and the Houthis in Yemen—are under the direct command and control of the IRGC. For over four decades, the IRGC has threatened the region’s remaining Christians and other religious minorities. The IRGC also touts a long resume of attacks against U.S. servicemembers and diplomats throughout the region, as witnessed most recently in the March 12 missile attack near the U.S. consulate in Erbil, northern Iraq.
“Pushing back on Iran’s demand to delist the IRGC from the U.S. terrorist list is an encouraging signal from the Biden Administration, but is just the beginning,” said IDC Executive Director Richard Ghazal. The Biden Administration should follow by conditioning any future engagement with Iran on the disarmament and dismantling of Iran’s malign international proxies,” added Ghazal.
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