As the Biden administration considers removing Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps from a terrorism blacklist, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Sunday that his country will continue to fight the group as a terrorist organization.
“If the United States decides to remove the IRGC from the list, Israel will continue to treat it as a terrorist organization,” Bennett said at the start of Sunday’s cabinet meeting.
The Prime Minister said that Israel would also continue to act against him as it does against terrorist organizations.
“As usual, our future will be determined by our actions, not our words,” the Prime Minister stressed.
He added that “unfortunately there is a determination to sign a nuclear deal with Iran at almost any cost, including saying that the biggest terrorist organization in the world is not a terrorist organization.”
“It’s not just an Israeli problem. Other countries – allies of the United States in the region – face this organization day after day,” he stressed.
The Israeli Prime Minister also recalled that in recent years the Iranian IRGC has fired missiles at peaceful countries and launched drones at Israel and other countries. “Even now, the IRGC terror organization is trying to assassinate some 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 of a nuclear deal.
When Tel Aviv first learned of US plans to remove the Iranian group from the blacklist, it tried to quietly protest the US decision.
However, over the weekend, Israel turned its refusal into an open battle.
Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid appealed directly to Washington in a statement, listing links between Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and terrorism.
On Friday, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, “There is a negotiation going on. I won’t go into details. But I would just like to point out that the status quo we are in has done nothing to make us any safer in any way. In fact, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards have only been strengthened.”
US General Kenneth McKenzie, head of the Central Command covering the Middle East, called the IRGC “the main malevolent actor” in the Middle East region.
“As for the effect their delisting would have, I really don’t know.”
“In terms of how we think about them, in terms of how we think about the threat and what they do on a day-to-day basis in theater, I don’t think that would change much.”