Milley says US should retain designation of Iranian guard as terrorist organization
General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, does not believe the United States should remove Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from the list of known terrorist organizations.
The president’s comments, which came during a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, follow reports that the Biden administration was considering such a move because it has remained a key sticking point in the negotiations to reinstate the 2015 nuclear deal, which was later scrapped by the Trump administration in 2018.
“In my opinion, I believe that the IRGC’s Al-Quds Force is a terrorist organization, and I do not support their removal from the list of foreign terrorist organizations,” he explained.
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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who also testified alongside Milley, declined to give his personal opinion on the matter.
President Joe Biden’s efforts to reinstate a deal similar to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which sought to cap Iran’s nuclear activity in return for the removal of international sanctions, has sparked bipartisan concerns.
The Guard “is a terrorist organization that has murdered thousands of people, including Americans,” read a joint statement by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid last month, days after Axios reported that the administration is considering changing the designation, though the State Department told the outlet that no decision has been made, and “any speculation to the contrary is simply misinformed.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said “time is getting extremely short” in an interview on MSNBC on Tuesday, adding that he was “not too optimistic about the prospects of reaching an agreement, despite all the efforts we deployed there and despite the fact that I think we would be – our security would be better.
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Andrea Mitchell, the host who conducted the interview, pressed the secretary on whether the Guard would continue to be considered a terrorist organization, and he declined to answer, saying he “wasn’t going to get into details of the status of negotiations.”
Additionally, on Tuesday, Michael McCaul, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told reporters that lawmakers intended to file a motion for discharge to force a resolution disapproving of the US government’s plan. Biden administration aimed at reviving the Iran nuclear deal.