Politics, not Substance, Driving US on Terror Blacklist of Iranian Guards

Issue too politically sensitive for Biden Administration

Removing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the terror blacklist has been an issue in the Iran nuclear talks for awhile. The Biden administration is now backing away from the idea, declining direct comment, but reportedly ruling out dropping the designation.

Those familiar say the matter is too politically sensitive for the administration to handle, and the potential political fallout is effectively putting the kibosh on the whole idea.

The political implications are clear, with Israel loudly objecting, and Republican lawmakers bashing the nuclear deal on rumors that such a clause might be part of the deal.

Politics seem to have driven the issue away entirely, but the practical implications seem to be lost on the administration. Obviously this would be a confidence-builder for Iran, and making this a sideline deal could’ve gotten Iran to commit to certain assurances which could themselves have been valuable political tools in selling the deal to opponents.

Iran may well have offered some valuable commitments, too, as the political impact of the IRGC listing is important for them as well. Trusting the US in a new nuclear deal is politically controversial in Iran, and getting the guard off the blacklist would allow Raisi to argue he’s getting a superior deal to the 2015 version.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.