According to Barak Ravid, reporting for Axios, three Israeli officials and two American sources have told him that the Biden administration is considering removing Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from the terror blacklist if Iran issues a public commitment to de-escalate its activities in the region.
Reuters cited a source that said Washington is not sure what would be the commitment it wants Tehran to make in exchange for being de-listed.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was placed by the Trump administration on the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) of the State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism on April 15, 2019.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted in response that Trump’s terrorist designation for the Iranian government’s organization fulfilled “another important request of mine.” The designation was criticized by Turkey, Iraq, and China, as well as Iran’s parliament, whose members wore IRGC uniforms in protest. In May 2019, the Iranian government declared the United States Central Command, whose area of responsibility includes the Middle East, a terrorist organization.
On Sunday this week, Iran attacked the Kurdish city of Erbil with a dozen ballistic missiles that targeted the United States consulate there. Iranian state media said Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps carried out the attack.
According to Ravid, the Biden administration is considering making a public announcement after de-listing the IRCG, saying the US reserves the right to redesignate it should Iran not honor its pledge to de-escalate its violence in the region.
It’s the honor system, see?
Ravid reported that the Israeli government is concerned about the fact that the US is not going to demand specific commitments from Iran, which would presumably include its proxies in Syria as well as Hezbollah and the Houthis.
Here’s another worrisome note: according to Ravid, when former Vice President Mike Pence visited Israel last week, he told Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid that Biden was going to ask for an Iranian commitment not to target US citizens assets in the region. When Bennett and Lapid checked with Washington they were told the idea had been considered and dropped.
Nothing to see here.
In this context, I highly recommend Lee Smith’s superb analysis in Tablet Magazine this week (Biden Blames the Jews for His Ukraine Policy). You’ll thank me later.
Finally, for our Purim feelgood issue: Tasnim reported Thursday that Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss discussed bilateral ties and international developments over the phone on Wednesday evening. In the telephone call, the British foreign secretary expressed pleasure at the new developments in bilateral ties and called for further expansion of the relations.
The Iranian foreign minister also welcomed Britain’s move to settle its 4-decade debt to the Islamic Republic as something to which the Iranian people had a right.
Amirabdollahian said about the talks in Vienna, “We are close to the final point of a deal more than any time before, but what can make a good and lasting agreement certain is realistic behavior by the Us and its decline to make new and false demands.” He added that Iran is ready for a final deal if all its red lines are respected.