One of Tehran’s demands for renewing the 2015 Iran nuclear deal was for the elite Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards to be removed from the US terrorist organization list, according to the Pentagon’s top general.
“I believe the IRGC Quds Force is a terrorist group, and I do not support their removal from the list of foreign terrorist organizations,” Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley said at a Senate hearing.
Iran has demanded that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps be removed from the State Department’s official “Foreign Terrorist Organization” list as a condition for returning to the 2015 nuclear deal, which aimed to limit Iran’s nuclear development and prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons capability.
The former US administration of Donald Trump unilaterally terminated the agreement in 2018 and labeled the Guards as FTOs a year later.
President Joe Biden has attempted to save the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, as the 2015 agreement is officially known, through discussions.
However, in the last month, talks have stagnated over a few last concerns, including Iran’s desire for the terror label.
Milley and the Pentagon are not actively involved in the talks, which are led by the State Department.
Milley did not specify if he was advocating that the Quds Force be retained while the Revolutionary Guards as a whole be removed from the list.
“The IRGC — most notably through its Quds Force — has the highest involvement among Iran’s actors in directing and carrying out a worldwide terrorist campaign,” the State Department said in a statement on the original designation.
It singled out particular Quds Force actions, such as attempted bombings and assassinations in the US and other countries.
The removal of the terror designation, according to US officials, would have little practical impact because the IRGC is still subject to a broad list of economic and political restrictions.