Israel urges U.S. not to remove Iran’s IRGC from terror list


Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid issued a joint statement on Friday urging the Biden administration not to remove the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps from the U.S. blacklist of foreign terrorist organizations.

Bennett and Lapid’s statement was unusually strong in its criticism of the Biden administration, calling the proposed move of removing IRGC from terror list “an insult to the victims.”

It reveals the impact a decision on the Revolutionary Guards have on U.S. relations with Israel and other allies in the region who have been targeted by the group and would see such a move as a betrayal by the Biden administration.

On Wednesday, Axios reported that the Biden administration is considering removing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from a terror blacklist in return for a public commitment from Iran to de-escalate in the region.

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.

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei meets with leaders of the IRGC last January. Photo: Handout via Getty

“The Iranian Revolutionary Guards are Hezbollah in Lebanon, they are Islamic Jihad in Gaza, they are the Houthis in Yemen, they are the militias in Iraq and Syria , ” Bennett and Lapid said. “The fight against terrorism is a global one, a shared mission of the entire world. We believe that the United States will not abandon its closest allies in exchange for empty promises from terrorists.” 

On September 10, 2019 Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah () pledged allegiance to Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei (R) and put himself at his disposal and stressed that any military strike against Iran “will ignite the whole region and annihilate countries and peoples.” Hezbollah was established in 1982 by Iran as a part of IRGC’s foreign Quds force
  • Bennett and Lapid said, “The IRGC is responsible for attacks on American civilians and American forces throughout the Middle East, including in the past year.” They added that the “IRGC was behind plans to assassinate senior American government officials.”
  • “The IRGC were involved in the murder of hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians, they destroyed Lebanon and they are brutally oppressing Iranian civilians,” Bennett and Lapid said. 
  • They added: “We find it hard to believe that the IRGC’s designation as a terrorist organization will be removed in exchange for a promise not to harm Americans.”

Go deeper: U.S. weighs deal to remove Iran’s IRGC from terror blacklist