The US is reportedly weighing a move to delist Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terror organization, as it moves closer to reviving the nuclear agreement with Tehran.
Axios reported that in return, Tehran would commit to de-escalation in the region.
The IRGC, a hardline militia with close ties to Iran’s supreme leader, was designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization by former president Donald Trump’s administration after it withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
But the move is seen as a key final ask from Iran before it agrees to return to compliance with JCPOA. It would also be heavily unpopular among Republicans as well as hawkish Democrats in Congress.
As part of such a move, the Biden administration is considering including an announcement stating that it reserves the right to re-designate the IRGC if it does not uphold its pledge, Axios reported.
Israeli officials told the website that Washington has briefed Jerusalem on the matter, but that no decisions have been made.
Israel is reportedly opposed to the idea, particularly because the pledge from the IRGC to reign in its activities is not slated to include an explicit reference to actions against US allies in the region such as Israel.
According to Axios, former US vice president Mike Pence told Israeli officials about the possible move during a visit earlier this month. He said the IRGC would only commit to not harming Americans. But the White House told Israel that the latter notion was briefly considered and ruled out.
The State Department told Axios that no decision has been made on the IRGC designation and “any speculation to the contrary is simply uninformed.”
Moreover, the official said that the IRGC would remain on a separate terror list and would be subject to numerous other sanctions.
Another official told the site that the maximum pressure sanctions by the Trump administration, which included the listing of the IRGC, were “a clear failure,” as they only led to Iran to escalate its nuclear activity and nefarious actions in the region.
Rumblings of a possible IRGC delisting made headlines last month as well.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid came out against the idea then as well, saying, “Everyone in his right mind should talk to the administration about this and tell them, ‘This is just wrong, don’t do that.'”
“They are now asking to let the biggest terror organization on earth off the hook,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said then of the Iranians.