The Iranian foreign minister said during a recent interview that Washington’s unilateral sanctions on specific Iranian individuals and entities – imposed by the former Trump administration – remained an unresolved issue in the ongoing nuclear talks between Iran and the world powers in Vienna.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian specifically called U.S. sanctions against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a “red line” for the nuclear talks in the Austrian capital. The Iranian foreign minister referred to the elite military organization IRGC as “the most important security and defense” organization in Iran.

The Iranian top diplomat previously said that IRGC officials told him that the Iranian regime “should choose the interests of the country” in a scenario where nuclear negotiations with the West would be stuck over the issue of sanctions against the IRGC. However, following a public backlash in Iran, the Iranian foreign minister responded that “the red lines will be fully observed.”

Tehran places a high importance on the IRGC, Amir-Abdollahian stressed. The late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, was quoted once as saying, “I wish I was in the IRGC.”

In 2019, former U.S. President Donald Trump placed the IRGC on the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organization list.

“This unprecedented step, led by the Department of State, recognizes the reality that Iran is not only a State Sponsor of Terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft,” Trump had said in a White House statement. “The IRGC is the Iranian government’s primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign.”

The Biden administration, which appears to have moved Washington’s Iran policy 180 degrees since then, is reportedly considering delisting the IRGC from Washington’s list of foreign terrorist organizations. If true, the move is likely a carrot aimed at increasing the probability that the Iranian regime will agree to a new nuclear agreement with world powers.

However, several of Washington’s closest regional allies have urged the Biden administration to keep the sanctions in place against the IRGC.

“The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is a terrorist organization that has murdered thousands of people, including Americans. We refuse to believe that the United States would remove its designation as a terrorist organization,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said in a recent joint statement.

Moderate Sunni Arab states have also warned against removing the IRGC from Washington’s foreign terrorist list.

The United Arab Emirates shares Israel’s concerns and is reportedly very unhappy with the prospect of Washington ending its sanctions against the IRGC. Unnamed sources said the leaders in Abu Dhabi “are in great shock” and opposed to ending U.S. sanctions.

Widely considered the Iranian Islamic regime’s elite military force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is also thought to be Iran’s most powerful military organization. Unlike conventional military organizations, however, the IRGC’s influence extends far beyond military affairs and it controls much of Iran’s economy.

The IRGC is also tasked with protecting the Islamic Iranian Republic against domestic and foreign threats. In addition, the IRGC, and its Al Quds sub-organization – formerly led by the late Gen. Qassem Soleimani – is responsible for exporting Tehran’s Islamic revolution overseas. It has played a key role in building a vast network of pro-Iranian regional terrorist proxies, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen.

Source » allarab