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US to Remove Iran's Revolutionary Guard from Terror Blacklist? That Spells Big Trouble for Middle East

03-25-2022
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JERUSALEM, Israel – While the U.S. appears on the verge of completing the Iranian nuclear deal in Vienna, Israel is warning how one part might have dangerous implications on the entire Middle East.

After months of talks, Washington’s pursuit of this agreement could mean removing Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the list of “Foreign Terrorist Organizations” (FTO).

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett calls the potential concession dangerous because it involves the world’s deadliest terror organization.

"The IRGC, this terrorist group, is trying to murder Israelis and certain Americans around the globe.,” Bennett said on Sunday. “Unfortunately, we are seeing determination to sign a nuclear deal at almost any cost, including saying that the biggest terrorist group in the world is not a terrorist organization. This is too steep a price.”

Bennett says Israel will still treat the Revolutionary Guard as a terror organization regardless of the U.S. decision.

Former Deputy National Security Advisor for the Middle East Victoria Coates sees the IRGC as a menace to the region.

“They have become the operational terrorist arm of the Iranian government which employs terrorism as a tool of statehood. And that's, that's why we actually designated the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization,” Coates told CBN News. 

As part of the Trump administration, Coates helped designate the group as a foreign terrorist organization.

“That was powerful about the FTO for the IRGC, which was ground-breaking, it was historic,” Coates says. “We hadn't done that to a military before. It immediately stopped a lot of the IRGC commercial activities, which were one of the economic lifelines to the regime in Tehran.”

Coates says the Revolutionary Guard resembles a cancer, spreading terror through the region using proxies like Hezbollah, Hamas and the Houthis, plus international assassination threats. It’s also behind Iran’s ballistic missile program and its drone arsenal.

"You can launch 60 drones at once, and as they have such a long-range that we have no limit for targets, you name a place and we will hit it,” says Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard aerospace division.

Any U.S. agreement to remove the IRGC from the terrorist list would supposedly require a promise not to spread terror in the region.

Coates points out after the Biden administration lifted the designation off the Houthis in Yemen, they simply increased terror activities. 

“So, interestingly, as Israel has gotten closer to both Saudi Arabia and the UAE, they've been talking about this and what happened when the Houthis came off the list and how terrible it's going to be if the IRGC comes off the list. They’ll get a lot of money, they'll have freedom of movement again. And we've seen almost for the first time in my, in my memory, a united message out of Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and Jerusalem that this is unacceptable. And these are three of the United States’ most powerful allies in the region. We should listen to them,” says Coates.

If the Biden administration does not listen, many believe allies like the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Israel will find themselves targets of one of the world’s most dangerous terror organizations.

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