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Amid Stalled Iran Nuclear Talks, US Keeps IRGC on Terror List

May 25, 2022

by: Kate Norman

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IRGC Ground Force commandos

Wednesday, 25 May 2022 | US President Joe Biden made the final decision to keep Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Washington’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO), a major sticking point in the paused talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.

Biden informed Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of his decision during their last conversation, which took place on April 24, according to Bennett’s office.

Bennett commended Biden and his administration for their decision in a statement released by his office yesterday, calling Biden a “true friend of Israel who is committed to its strength and security.”

“Over the past few months, we made our stance clear—the IRGC is the world’s largest terror organization, involved in planning and carrying out deadly acts of terror and destabilizing the Middle East,” the prime minister added.

“This is the right, moral and correct decision by President Biden, who updated me on this decision during our last conversation,” Bennett concluded. “For this I thank him.”

The nuclear deal with Iran, officially named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was originally signed in 2015 under then-President Barack Obama—under whom Biden was then serving as vice president.

In 2018, however, former President Donald Trump exited the deal and imposed “maximum pressure” sanctions against Iran. The Islamist regime responded by progressively violating its restrictions under the deal.

When Biden came into office in 2020, he immediately set about reviving the nuclear deal. Ongoing talks in Vienna, however, have yielded little progress—and have all but halted to a stop due to two sticking points: last year’s election of hardliner Ebrahim Raisi as Iran’s new president, and Iran’s demand that the US remove the IRGC from its FTO list.

Trump had placed the IRGC on the terror list in 2019 amid his sanctions campaign against the regime.

Though Iran demanded the removal of its guard from the FTO, Israel has vehemently opposed doing so—and Washington appears to agree.

To further stir the pot, Iran yesterday held a funeral for a chief IRGC guard who was killed on Sunday.

IRGC Col. Hassan Sayyad Khodayari was shot on Sunday by two unidentified people on a motorcycle who approached him while he was driving home—a neighborhood in the heart of Tehran that houses IRGC elite.

Iran has yet to officially place the blame on Israel—though the Jewish state is allegedly behind several assassinations of Iran’s top brass, most recently in 2020, when Iran blamed Israel for the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the father of the regime’s nuclear program.

Israel isn’t waiting for Iran to officially assign blame. Jerusalem has already prepared for the possibility of revenge attacks by placing its international embassies and consulates on high security alert.

IRGC commander Hossein Salami vowed revenge at the funeral for Khodayari on Tuesday.

“Our reactions will be harsh and crushing, and we will definitely make the enemy regret [its actions],” Salami vowed, as quoted by JNS. “Revenge for the blood of these loved ones will be harsh, and revenge for his blood will be taken. No evil act of the enemy will go unanswered…”

Salami continued his diatribe when he pinned the blame on “global arrogance,” a term frequently used by Iranian elite understood to mean Israel and the US.

These threats and vows of revenge are unlikely to get the IRGC removed from Washington’s terrorist list anytime soon—meaning the sticking point in negotiations might leave the nuclear talks in Vienna dead in the water.

Posted on May 25, 2022

Source: (Bridges for Peace, May 25, 2022)

Photo Credit: Tasnim News Agency/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

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