President Joe Biden, left, is seen in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill on Feb. 9 in Washington, D.C. (Nicholas Kamm – AFP / Getty Images; Drew Angerer / Getty Images)
By Jack Davis March 22, 2022 at 4:07pm
The Biden administration’s efforts to appease Iran were attacked Tuesday by a House Democrat opposed to removing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from America’s list of terrorist groups.
Taking the group off the list has been floated as part of the White House’s attempts to revive the Iranian nuclear deal developed during the Obama administration and then cast aside by former President Donald Trump.
The agreement was designed to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon while rewarding it by lifting sanctions against it. Trump said Iran’s support of terror throughout the region meant the deal was already being violated in spirit.
Groups on the terror list face a number of sanctions designed to isolate them economically.
Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey told Fox News on Tuesday that the IRGC needs to be recognized as what it is.
“My biggest concern is giving billions and billions of dollars and allowing the Iranians to suddenly sell all this oil and have money to fund terror,” he said.
“Whether that’s through the IRGC or through all their proxies that we know they fund — whether that’s Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Jihad — these are all forces of evil in the region that have shown time and time again that they want to kill Americans, they want to attack our bases, they want to attack our allies.
“So the idea that we would suddenly unleash all these resources and remove sanctions on a clear terrorist-sympathizing country makes zero sense to me,” he said.
A former State Department official seconded Gottheimer’s concerns, according to Fox.
Should the IRGC be removed from the list of terror groups?
“Removing the IRGC from the list of designated foreign terrorist organizations would be a colossal mistake,” said Nathan Sales, a former State Department counterterrorism coordinator.
“The IRGC has perpetrated terrorism around the world and has the blood of hundreds of Americans on its hands,” Sales said. “Delisting the group would make it harder to prosecute its operatives and supporters, and harder to keep them from entering our country.”
Iran’s IRGC supports terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, Houthis, Hashd al-Shaabi, and has given safe haven to senior al-Qaeda leaders…yet President Biden is considering removing the IRGC from the terrorist watchlist? https://t.co/gfxEWuy1RP
— Rep. Barry Loudermilk (@RepLoudermilk) March 17, 2022
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is also opposed to wiping the IRGC’s slate clean, according to The Times of Israel.
Israel, he said, is “very concerned about the United States’ intention to give in to Iran’s outrageous demand and remove the IRGC from the list of terrorist organizations.”
“This is not just an Israeli problem,” Bennett said. “Other countries — allies of the United States in the region — face this organization day in and day out. … Even now, the IRGC terrorist organization is trying to murder certain Israelis and Americans around the world.”
However, he said, the Biden White House has signaled that it will do anything to make Iran happy.
“Unfortunately, there is still determination to sign the nuclear deal with Iran at almost any cost — including saying that the world’s largest terrorist organization is not a terrorist organization,” he said. “This is too high a price.”