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Bennett, Lapid: “We Refuse to Believe” US Will Remove IRGC Terror Designation in New Iran Deal

The joint statement called the IRGC “a terrorist organization that has murdered thousands of people, including Americans.” “The Iranian Revolutionary Guards are Hezbollah in Lebanon, they are Islamic Jihad in Gaza, they are the Houthis in Yemen, they are the militias in Iraq. The IRGC are responsible for attacks on American civilians and American forces throughout the Middle East, including in the past year.
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March 21, 2022
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (Anna Moneymaker / Staff / Getty Images)

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid issued a joint statement on March 18 saying that they “refuse to believe that the Biden administration will remove the terror designation” from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in a new Iran deal.

The joint statement called the IRGC “a terrorist organization that has murdered thousands of people, including Americans.” “The Iranian Revolutionary Guards are Hezbollah in Lebanon, they are Islamic Jihad in Gaza, they are the Houthis in Yemen, they are the militias in Iraq. The IRGC are responsible for attacks on American civilians and American forces throughout the Middle East, including in the past year. The IRGC were behind plans to assassinate senior American government officials. They were involved in the murder of hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians, they destroyed Lebanon & they’re brutally oppressing Iranian civilians. They kill Jews because they’re Jews, Christians because they’re Christians, & Muslims because they refuse to surrender to them.” Bennett and Lapid added that removing the terrorist designation from the IRGC would be “an insult to the victims and would ignore documented reality supported by unequivocal evidence.” 

“We find it hard to believe that the IRGC’s designation as a terrorist organization will be removed in exchange for a promise not to harm Americans,” they said. “The fight against terrorism is a global one, a shared mission of the entire world. We believe that the U.S. will not abandon its closest allies in exchange for empty promises from terrorists.”

The potential lifting of the terror designation of the IRGC has been a point of concern among some House Democrats as well, as 12 of them wrote a letter to the Biden administration on March 10 stating that they are “highly concerned” over the coming deal, citing reports that it would remove the terrorist designation from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as well as sanctions on members of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s office. “It is hard to envision supporting an agreement along the lines being publicly discussed,” they said.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on March 17 that a new deal is “close” but they’re “not there yet,” though he sounded optimistic that “the remaining issues can be bridged,” The Times of Israel (TOI) reported. The TOI report also noted that Iran is transforming their uranium “into a type that is less easily recovered and diluted so that it can then be removed from the country” despite warnings from Britain, France and Germany against doing so.

Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar also lobbied against the pending new Iran deal during a memorial  ceremony for the victims of the 1992 terrorist attack in Buenos Aires, when a car bomb exploded at the Israeli embassy in the city. “The perpetrator of the attack in Argentina is Iran, and it is our moral duty to continue to pursue them until they are brought to justice,” Sa’ar said, per The Times of Israel. He argued that re-entering the deal would be “dangerous.” “The lifting of sanctions under the agreement will transfer huge sums to Iran and its proxies, like Hezbollah, harming peace and stability in the Middle East, and strengthening terror elements,” he said.

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