Conference of Presidents: 'We are deeply concerned' over delisting IRGC

Delisting the IRGC from the Terrorist Foreign Organization list remains the only major stumbling block between the US and Iran in their mutual efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement.

Iranian commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Hossein Salami, second from right, and Iran's Chief of General Staff Major General Mohammad Bagheri, third from left, attend the graduation ceremony of Imam Hussein Military University in Tehran, Oct. 3, 2021.  (photo credit: Iranian Leader Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Iranian commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Hossein Salami, second from right, and Iran's Chief of General Staff Major General Mohammad Bagheri, third from left, attend the graduation ceremony of Imam Hussein Military University in Tehran, Oct. 3, 2021.
(photo credit: Iranian Leader Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON – The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations issued a statement on Thursday, expressing “deep concern” about the prospects of reviving the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran.

“Iranian demands to remove its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the US Foreign Terrorist Organizations blacklist are outrageous,” wrote Dianne Lob, William Daroff and Malcolm Hoenlein – the umbrella organization’s leadership.

Delisting the IRGC from the Terrorist Foreign Organization list remains the only major stumbling block between the US and Iran in their mutual efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement.

“Iran remains the world’s most significant supporter of terrorism directly and through its regional and international proxies, including the IRGC – an armed, political faction responsible for untold deaths, violations of human rights, support for terror, and the targeting of American and Western interests across the globe,” they wrote.

“From the torture of Iranian citizens who speak against the extremist regime to targeting US forces including a recent missile strike targeting the US Consulate in Erbil, Iraq, to being the mastermind of deadly attacks against Jewish targets in Buenos Aires, Argentina, during the 1990s, there is no doubt that the IRGC should be targeted for more sanctions, not given any tacit pass or relief by the West,” they said.

Military units of the IRGC Ground Force are seen as they launched war games in the Gulf, December 22, 2018 (credit: HAMED MALEKPOUR/TASNIM NEWS AGENCY VIA REUTERS)Military units of the IRGC Ground Force are seen as they launched war games in the Gulf, December 22, 2018 (credit: HAMED MALEKPOUR/TASNIM NEWS AGENCY VIA REUTERS)

While some contend that the list is purely symbolic, they said it is not: “The FTO list expressly prohibits providing material support to listed terrorist organizations,” the statement reads. “Removing the IRGC restriction would give an explicit green light for bad actors to help Iran achieve its violent goals. Giving a blank check of approval or exempting in any way even part of an entity that promotes and engages in murder, subversion and undermining governments, sends an unmistakable negative signal throughout the Middle East.”

Maintaining the IRGC’s place on the terrorist list “reaffirms America’s commitment to our friends and our determination to our foes,” they said.

“We are also concerned about cash payments – reported to be as much as hundreds of billions of dollars – that would flow directly to Iran with little ability to monitor spending once received,” they continued. “Given the American-led international isolation of Russia, we question its reported role as the adjudicator of Western compliance with the deal, as well as the exemption of Iran from Russia’s Ukraine-related sanctions.

“The international community must not invest in a regime that, along with its IRGC and terrorist proxies, have the innocent blood of Americans, Israelis and many others on their hands as they pursue their extremist, hegemonic and nuclear aspirations.”