Iran nuclear deal with Western nations ‘close’ to finalized: Deputy Sec. of State
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman says the ‘onus’ is on Iran to decide whether it wants to comply with never obtaining, using a nuclear weapon.
The Biden administration is considering removing the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) from the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) as Iran and the West try to restore a nuclear deal, two sources familiar with the deliberations told Fox News.
Axios first reported that the administration is considering removing the military force from the FTO in return for a commitment from Iran to de-escalate in the region. The sources told Fox that such a move is under consideration but no decision has yet been made.
A picture taken on November 10, 2019, shows an Iranian flag in Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, during an official ceremony to kick-start works on a second reactor at the facility. (Photo by ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images)
The designation was put onto the IRGC during the Trump administration, and Iran has continually called for it to be removed as part of the negotiations. Such a move would be controversial given the IRGC’s high profile role in destabilizing the region via proxies. Talks have been ongoing for weeks in Vienna to bring Iran back into the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), from which both the U.S. and Iran had left.
The FTO designation was put in place by the Trump administration in 2019 after it left the deal a year earlier. The administration also launched a strike to take out IRGC’s Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who headed up its paramilitary Quds Forces.
A senior administration official told Fox on Wednesday: “We don’t have a deal yet, and we’re not going to discuss anonymous speculation. We’re consulting with allies and partners, including Israel as we negotiate.”
The official said that President Biden “will make a decision on whether to re-enter the deal based on what’s in the best interest of American security.”
“And let’s be clear – President [Donald] Trump’s approach has been a clear failure and made the U.S., Israel, and our other partners in the region less safe. Not only has Iran’s nuclear program advanced dramatically, but their behavior in the region and beyond has gotten more aggressive,” the official said.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the U.S. is still in negotiations, “so I’m not going to speculate or outline from here what the final details look like.”
A bipartisan group of 21 House members, including 11 Democrats, recently wrote to President Biden expressing concern about the deal, including taking the IRGC off the FTO.
“Among other issues, we are highly concerned about reports indicating the potential lifting of the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and of the sanctions placed on members of the office of the Supreme Leader,” the letter said.
Iranian resistance groups have also warned against such a move. The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) issued a report last week saying that such a move would “no doubt heighten terrorism and mayhem in the region.”
The report outlined the IRGC’s work in military and terrorist operations in other countries in the region, via proxies, and the training of foreign mercenaries in places like Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. It also pointed to allegations the IRGC funded Hamas, and also looked to organize assassination attempts on U.S. soil.
Fox News’ Patrick Ward contributed to this report.
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