Israel applauds report saying Iranian terror group will remain on US blacklist

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President Biden has reportedly decided to keep Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on the Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) list. Although the White House has not confirmed the report, observers see it as a diplomatic triumph for Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

A Politico report on Tuesday quoted a senior Western official confirming the decision. Bennett, whose ruling coalition has been plagued with infighting in recent weeks, issued a statement on Tuesday evening welcoming the decision not to remove the IRGC from the list. His statement noted that the decision was the “just, moral and correct” decision and noted that it showed the United States’ commitment to Israel’s strength and security.

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Israel's PM appeared to confirm reports that the Biden administration is keeping the IRGC on its terrorist blacklist
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Israel’s PM appeared to confirm reports that the Biden administration is keeping the IRGC on its terrorist blacklist
(AP/Reuters)

Bennett said Biden informed him of his decision during their last conversation in April. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz was briefed on the issue during his meeting last week in Washington with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Israel has been a vocal opponent of the Biden administration’s decision to try to revive the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The Biden administration’s move is expected to spell a major setback for nuclear talks with Iran, which have already stalled for months. Iranian negotiators have linked the delisting of the IRGC, as well as the lifting of sanctions, to its willingness to continue negotiations.

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A senior Israeli official told Fox News Digital that even though Israel is not part of the Iran nuclear deal, it will continue to oppose it and do whatever it takes to protect the safety and security of Iran. its citizens: “agreement or no agreement”.

Observers say the Biden administration’s refusal to delist the group is a significant achievement for Israel. The effort they note was led by national security adviser Eyal Hulata and Shimrit Meir, an outgoing Bennett adviser.

Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Fox News Digital that “Keeping the IRGC on the FTO list helps more than just Iran policy, it helps Washington’s broader counterterrorism policy. . In this regard, designated terrorist groups will know that there is no way to avoid sanctions for terrorism unless they rid themselves of the ability and intent to support terrorism. »

He continued, “Rather than confusing diplomacy, it can help strengthen Washington’s hand and begin to undo the image that it will bow to non-nuclear sanctions in a nuclear deal.”

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On Wednesday, the Biden administration’s top man on the Iran nuclear deal, Robert Malley, was quoted by Reuters as saying, “We don’t have a deal with Iran and the prospects for Iran. to conclude one are, at best, tenuous”. His remarks, Reuters reported, were part of his prepared statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Gantz last week warned that Iran was moving ever closer to its nuclear goal by doubling its stockpile to 60% enriched uranium in the past two months, and said he was only weeks away from storing enough material to build its first nuclear bomb.

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Israel’s former military intelligence chief recently expressed a different view from the current defense chief and said a nuclear deal with Iran would delay its nuclear efforts and buy Israel time. Tamir Hayman noted that time is an important factor and that “many other things can be done: threaten, improve military capabilities, build international coalitions or create an agreement for the period after the current agreement”.

In addition to its efforts to block the deal, Israel has targeted Iranian movements in the Middle East and taken action against Iranian proxies in the region. He was also suspected of assassinating Iranian generals involved in Iran’s nuclear program or planning attacks on Israelis abroad.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi speaks before leaving Tehran's Mehrabad Airport for a trip to Oman, Monday, May 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi speaks before leaving Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport for a trip to Oman, Monday, May 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
(AP)

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The latest assassination took place last week, when two gunmen on motorbikes killed Colonel Hassan Sayyad Khodaei outside his apartment in Tehran. Khodaei was part of the Quds forces, which oversee foreign actions on behalf of the regime.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has vowed to avenge his death, blaming “global arrogance”, a term commonly used to describe the United States and its allies, such as Israel.

When asked by reporters on Tuesday to confirm reports that the IRGC remains on the terrorism list, State Department spokesman Ned Price did not comment.

Fox News State Department producer Nick Kalman contributed to this report.

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