May 25, 2022 - World

Israeli PM says Biden told him Iran's IRGC will remain on U.S. terror list

Bennett and Biden at the White House on Aug. 27, 2021. Photo:  Sarahbeth Maney-Pool/Getty Images
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and President Biden meet at the White House on Aug. 27, 2021. Photo: Sarahbeth Maney-Pool/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted Tuesday that President Biden informed him last month that Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps will remain on the U.S. terror blacklist.

Why it matters: Despite earlier signs of some progress, indirect talks to restore the Iran nuclear deal have been stalled for months. Tehran's demand that the U.S. remove the IRGC from Foreign Terrorist Organization list was one of the last major sticking points.

State of play: During the negotiations, the U.S. proposed removing the IRGC from the FTO list if Iran made a public commitment to de-escalation in the region, Axios' Barak Ravid reported.

  • Iran refused the proposal and as time passed, the Biden administration became increasingly concerned about the possible domestic political fallout of a deal with Iran regarding the IRGC, per Ravid.
  • Politico reported Tuesday that Biden informed Bennett of his final decision in their April 24 phone call. A readout of the call said the two leaders discussed "shared regional and global security challenges, including the threat posed by Iran and its proxies."

What they're saying: Bennett on Twitter on Tuesday thanked Biden for "this principled decision."

  • "I welcome the decision by the US Administration to keep Iran’s IRGC on the Foreign Terrorist Organizations list — which is where it belongs," he said.

A National Security Council spokesperson said the NSC does not "disclose the contents of our private diplomatic conversations."

  • "We are not negotiating in public and are not going to respond to specific claims about what sanctions we would be prepared to lift as part of a mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA," the spokesperson added.
  • "The President will do what’s in the best interests of U.S. national security."
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