Israel urges U.S. not to drop terror designation for Iran’s IRGC

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Jerusalem (Reuters) – Israel on Friday urged the United States not to remove Iran’s Revolutionary Guards from its foreign terrorist organization blacklist in exchange for “empty promises”.

The United States was considering such a move, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday, in return for Iranian assurances about reining in the elite force and comes amid efforts to revive a 2015 deal under which Iran limited its nuclear program in return for relief from sanctions.

Israel’s prime minister and foreign minister said in a joint statement they “believe that the United States will not abandon its closest allies in exchange for empty promises from terrorists”.

“The Iranian Revolutionary Guards 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,” they said.

The IRGC is a powerful faction in Iran that controls a business empire as well as elite armed and intelligence forces that Washington accuses of carrying out a global terrorist campaign.

Multiple sources have said dropping the terrorist designation is one of the last, and most vexing, issues in wider indirect talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.