Washington, DC – In Defense of Christians (IDC) stands against any potential decision by the Biden Administration to remove the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the list of foreign terrorist organizations (FTO).
The Biden Administration is reportedly considering removing the IRGC’s designation as an FTO to facilitate a return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran Nuclear Deal. President Trump designated the IRGC as an FTO in April 2019, marking the first time the U.S. has assigned the designation to an entity of a foreign government.
Iran’s international proxy militias—including Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq, and the Houthis in Yemen—are under the direct command and control of the IRGC. For over four decades, the IRGC has threatened the region’s remaining Christians and other religious minorities. The IRGC also touts a long resume of attacks against U.S. servicemembers and diplomats throughout the region, as witnessed most recently in the March 12th missile attack near the U.S. consulate in Erbil, northern Iraq.
The Biden Administration must make the disarmament and dismantling of Iran’s malign proxies a necessary condition to any future engagement with Iran, including a return to the JCPOA. Reports suggesting a possible move in the opposite direction are very concerning.
“Removal of the IRGC’s terrorist designation was not part of the original Iran Nuclear Deal,” said IDC Executive Director Richard Ghazal. “Removal of the FTO designation would constitute a separate, additional, and exceptionally dangerous concession to Iran, thereby further endangering the Middle East’s remaining Christians, and subverting U.S. interests in the region,” added Ghazal.
“A foreign policy that strikes at the foundation of Iran’s terror franchise is necessary in preserving American national security interests in the Middle East,” said IDC President Tonia Khouri. “Such policy will also protect the region’s religious minority communities from human rights violations by the radical, theocratic, and expansionist regime,” Khouri continued.