US amends ban, allowing entry to Iranian former IRGC members

Former IRGC compulsory service members will be allowed entry into the US if they "pose no danger to the safety and security of the US."

 Iranian clerics set fire to American flag during the 43rd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Tehran, Iran, February 11, 2022. (photo credit: MAJID ASGARIPOUR/WANA/REUTERS)
Iranian clerics set fire to American flag during the 43rd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Tehran, Iran, February 11, 2022.
(photo credit: MAJID ASGARIPOUR/WANA/REUTERS)

Iranian men who served in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as part of their compulsory military service will now be allowed entry into the United States, a US Secretary of Homeland Security and Secretary of State notice published on Thursday said.

According to the notice, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken have, following consultations with Attorney General Merrick Garland, decided that aspects of the Immigration and Nationality Act will no longer apply to individuals who have either "provided insignificant material support or limited materiel support...to a designated terrorist organization."

A designated terrorist organization is an organization listed on the US' Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) blacklist, such as the Islamic Republic's IRGC.

The entry ban on these individuals will be lifted "provided they satisfy relevant agency authority that the individual...poses no danger to the safety and security of the United States."

Members of a special IRGC force attend a rally marking the annual Quds Day, or Jerusalem Day, on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan in Tehran, Iran, April 29, 2022. (credit: MAJID ASGARIPOUR/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS)Members of a special IRGC force attend a rally marking the annual Quds Day, or Jerusalem Day, on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan in Tehran, Iran, April 29, 2022. (credit: MAJID ASGARIPOUR/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS)

Other factors taken into consideration include whether the individual had any intent or desire to assist a terror organization or activity or had prior knowledge of targeting "noncombatant persons, US citizens, or US interests."

However, the decree did note that "This exercise of authority may be revoked as a matter of discretion and without notice at any time, with respect to any and all persons subject to it."

Iran nuclear talks to resume

The notice came two days before Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and the European Union's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced Iran's indirect talks with the United States on reviving the 2015 nuclear pact will resume soon.

"We are prepared to resume talks in the coming days. What is important for Iran is to fully receive the economic benefits of the 2015 accord," said Amirabdollahian, adding that he had held a "long but positive meeting" with the European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

One of the reported obstacles to a revived nuclear deal was the designation of the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization and the lifting of sanctions on the organization. Last month, however, an American report suggested US President Joe Biden pulled the plug on delisting the IRGC and told outgoing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of his decision.