The United States is considering removing Iran's Revolutionary Guards from its foreign terrorist organization blacklist in return for Iranian assurances about reining in the elite force, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
The source said Washington had not decided what might be an acceptable commitment from Tehran in exchange for such a step, which would reverse former US President Donald Trump's 2019 blacklisting of the group and draw sharp Republican criticism, Reuters reported.
The move was the first time Washington had formally labeled part of another sovereign government as a terrorist group.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is a powerful faction in Iran that controls a business empire as well as elite armed and intelligence forces that Washington accuses of carrying out a global terrorist campaign.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Biden administration was weighing whether to drop the terrorist designation "in return for some kind of commitment and/or steps by Iran, with respect to regional or other IRGC activities."
The Biden administration's consideration of such a tradeoff was first reported by Axios, citing Israeli and US sources.
Multiple sources have said dropping the designation is one of the last, and most vexing, issues in wider indirect talks on reviving the 2015 deal under which Iran limited its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions.
Asked about the possibility of removing the IRGC from the US terrorism list, US State Department spokesman Ned Price declined to comment beyond saying that sanctions relief is at the heart of negotiations to revive the nuclear deal.