US Weighs Dropping Iran's IRGC from Terrorism List
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, March 16.
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 US President Donald Trump's 2019 blacklisting of the group and draw sharp Republican criticism.
The move was the first time Washington had formally labeled part of another sovereign government as a terrorist group.
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 US terrorism list, US State Department spokesman Ned Price declined to comment beyond saying that sanctions relief is at the heart of negotiations to revive the nuclear deal.
Last week an Iranian official said the IRGC's removal from the blacklist had been under discussion as far back as June but that the issue had become more complicated after last summer's election of hardliner Ebrahim Raisi as Iran's president.
The Iranian official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the United States had made clear "they cannot remove it without major concessions from Iran," a stance he said had been rejected by Iran's lead nuclear negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani.
The IRGC's political influence in Iran's complex power structure has increased since the election of Raisi, who took office in August and whose government includes dozens of Revolutionary Guard commanders.
“God, we ask that you protect Your people, and hold Iran accountable for the terrorism that they cause.”