On Monday, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that the Biden administration might be open to removing Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the list of “foreign terrorist organizations” and warned against the move.
“Everyone in his right mind should talk to the administration about this and tell them, ‘This is just wrong, don’t do that,'” Lapid said at a conference in Jerusalem.
At the same conference, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that Tehran was asking for the terror designation to be lifted and also warned against the move.
The Trump administration designated the IRGC as terrorists in 2019, marking the first time another nation’s military was added to the list. The sweeping designation opens up every IRGC member to US sanctions, and lifting it is likely a precondition for the revival of the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.
Both the US and Iran have signaled that they’re close to reaching an agreement to restore the JCPOA in Vienna, and the Israelis are not happy about it. But despite Israel’s opposition, the Biden administration has been coordinating closely with the Israelis on Iran.
Bennett’s government has taken a different approach to its opposition to the JCPOA than the previous government of Benjamin Netanyahu, which Lapid explained. “The easy thing to do is to go on television and yell and shout about the administration. But this is irresponsible. I am a responsible person and this is a responsible government,” said Lapid, who will replace Bennett as prime minister in 2023.
As the US has been engaged in indirect negotiations with Iran, Israeli officials have been threatening to attack Iran if the JCPOA is restored. In a recent phone call with Bennett, Biden said the US supports Israel’s “freedom of action” against Iran.