Days after Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) fired missiles aimed at the U.S. consulate in northern Iraq, President Joe Biden’s administration is reportedly planning to remove the Iranian outfit from the list of international terrorist organizations.
The decision to drop the IRGC — Iranian regime’s military arm — from the terror list, appears to be yet another concession made by the Biden White House to restore the Obama-era nuclear deal with Tehran.
“An agreement to restore the 2015 nuclear deal is nearly complete, but Iran’s demand that President Biden reverse Donald Trump’s decision to designate the IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization is a key remaining sticking point,” Israeli journalist Barak Ravid reported in the Axios news website on Wednesday.
In 2019, former President Donald Trump designated the IRGC as foreign terrorist organization, a move aimed at crippling Tehran’s ability to arm and finance jihadi and terror groups across the world.
The Reuters reported the IRGC possible removal from the U.S. terror blacklist:
The United States is considering removing Iran’s Revolutionary Guards from its foreign terrorist organization blacklist in return for Iranian assurances about reining in the elite force, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
The source said Washington had not decided what might be an acceptable commitment from Tehran in exchange for such a step, which would reverse former U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2019 blacklisting of the group and draw sharp Republican criticism. (…)
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is a powerful faction in Iran that controls a business empire as well as elite armed and intelligence forces that Washington accuses of carrying out a global terrorist campaign.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Biden administration was weighing whether to drop the terrorist designation “in return for some kind of commitment and/or steps by Iran, with respect to regional or other IRGC activities.” (…)
Asked about the possibility of removing the IRGC from the U.S. terrorism list, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price declined comment beyond saying that sanctions relief is at the heart of negotiations to revive the nuclear deal.
The news comes after the IRGC took responsibility for firing at least a dozen ballistic missile targeting the U.S. consulate compound and a U.S.-linked air field in Iraq’s northern city of Erbil.
While covering recently-concluded Robert Malley-led Iran nuclear negotiations in Austria, The Legal Insurrection repeatedly reported the possibility of the Biden administration delisting the IRGC as a terrorist outfit. I noted in my post on March 4 that “[e]mbarrassing concessions by the Biden White House could include … removing the Islamic Guard Corps (IRGC), the regime’s foreign terrorist arm, from the U.S. terror list.”
The IRGC is not merely a military and terrorist arm of the Iranian regime, it controls large parts of country’s economy. For instance, Iran’s biggest oil company, Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (PGPIC), has been siphoning off its revenues to the IRGC, the U.S. Treasury found in 2019.
President Trump’s sanctions targeted the IRGC and its front companies, crippling Iran’s ability to support its global terrorist infrastructure. If the Biden White House lifts sanctions placed during the Trump tenure, the IRGC will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the resulting economic windfall. The Islamic Guard funds and directs some of the deadliest Islamist terror groups across the globe, including Gaza-based Hamas, Lebanese Hezbollah and Yemen’s Ansar Allah Houthi militia.
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