As the Biden administration is considering removing Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps from a terror blacklist, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday that his country will continue to fight this group as a terrorist organization.
“If the US decides to delist the IRGC, Israel will continue to treat it like a terrorist organization,” Bennett said at the start of Sunday’s cabinet meeting.
The PM said that Israel will also continue to act against it as it does against terrorist organizations.
“As usual, our future will be determined by our actions, not words,” the PM stressed.
He added that “unfortunately, there is determination to sign a nuclear agreement with Iran at almost any cost, including saying that the world’s largest terrorist organization is not a terrorist organization.”
“This is not just an Israeli problem. Other countries – allies of the United States in the region – face this organization day in and day out,” he stressed.
The Israeli PM also recalled that in recent years, Iran’s IRGC has fired missiles at peaceful countries and launched UAVs at Israel and other countries. “Even now, the IRGC terrorist organization is trying to murder certain Israelis and Americans around the world,” Bennett added.
Two months ago, Israel learned that the US delegation to the Vienna negotiations had received approval from the Biden administration to discuss with the Iranian delegation its demand that the US remove the IRGC from a blacklist of foreign terrorist organizations as a condition for a nuclear deal.
When Tel Aviv first learned about the US plans to remove the Iranian group from the black list, it tried to protest the US decision quietly.
However, during the weekend, Israel turned its refusal into an open battle.
Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid appealed directly to Washington in a statement, listing the connections between Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and terrorism.
On Friday, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said “There’s an ongoing negotiation. I’m not going to get into specifics of it. But I would just note that the status quo where we stand has done nothing to make us safer in any regard. In fact, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard has only been strengthened."
US General Kenneth McKenzie, the head of the Central Command covering the Middle East, called the IRGC "the principal malign actor" in the Middle Eastern region.
"As to what the effect delisting them would have, I really don’t know that."
"In terms of the way we think about them, in terms of the way we think about the threat and what they do on a daily basis across the theater, I don't think much would change as a result of that."