Contact: Naomi Grant
Director of Communications
EMET is somewhat encouraged by emerging reports that the Biden Administration has reversed course and will no longer remove the IRGC from the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) List.
The IRGC is the umbrella group that is responsible for training and funding Islamist terrorist organizations including Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Houthis and many others. The IRGC was responsible for the bombing of Beirut, Lebanon in 1983 that resulted in the deaths of 241 US Marines who were asleep in their barracks.
If true, we are grateful that President Biden, as well as others in his administration, have understood how pernicious this would be to America’s national security interests, as well as to those of our friends and allies in the region.
Contrary to popular belief on Capitol Hill, we know that removing the IRGC from the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist list is not “merely symbolic.” This would have wide spread implications for IRGC members’ ability to travel or immigrate to the United States, their ability to use international banking systems and the ability of American citizens to sue the Islamic Republic of Iran for the wrongful deaths of their loved ones due to terrorism.
In particular, EMET would like to express its gratitude to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, who stated at a hearing on April 7th before the Senate Armed Services Committee, “I believe the IRGC-Quds Force to be a terrorist organization and I do not support them being delisted from the foreign terrorist organization.”
EMET has been working tirelessly to educate congressional offices on this and other issues related to the Iranian nuclear deal. In the past few weeks, many members on both sides of the aisle drew attention to the issue through press conferences and public letters. Growing opposition by members of congress and their constituents certainly played a part in this new reversal and EMET would like to thank all those who spoke out.
This is a welcome development and EMET will continue to do as much as possible to educate members of Congress and the public about the incredible dangers of what has been negotiated behind closed doors in Vienna. This piece of welcome news, if true, is just one of a whole slew of dangerous concessions made in Vienna that would place the United States and our allies in grave risk.
Said EMET Founder and President Sarah Stern, “It is nothing short of appalling that any responsible American interlocutor could actually entertain the thought of removing the IRGC from the State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Thousands of Americans have died or come back from Iraq missing limbs or in body bags because of IEDs manufactured by the IRGC. The IRGC is ‘the mother of all Islamist terrorist organizations’. It recruits, trains and equips Islamist terrorist organizations throughout the globe, including growing network of Hezbollah bases in South America.”
EMET is astounded that the United States behaved so obsequiously to the Islamic Republic and that we are still considering releasing at least $90 billion dollars in frozen assets to Iran. This money will not go to the good people of Iran, most of whom were born after the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and despise the regime, but to its nuclear program and to their many Iranian terrorist proxies, throughout the globe.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken promised a “longer, stronger deal.” What has emerged from Vienna is a shorter, weaker deal that never addressed the fatal flaws of the 2015 JCPOA: the sunset clauses, the missile development, and Iran’s malign behavior throughout the globe. This deal, paradoxically, actually brings us closer to war because it gives Iran a path to a nuclear bomb in a few short years. We all know how countries such as Russia and North Korea behave because they are under a nuclear umbrella. Countries in Iran’s neighborhood, who have to live with the consequences of a vastly enriched, emboldened and empowered Iran, were not even allowed into the negotiations.
Added Ms. Stern, “We at EMET are working with Congress every single day to make sure that they exercise their Constitutional responsibility for oversight, and get to see what is in the deal before it is too late.”
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