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Biden Taking A Huge Risk With The Revolutionary Guards – OpEd

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By Maria Maalouf *

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The Biden administration is trying to persuade the world that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is not a terrorist organization. This is impossible because the IRGC is a terrorist group. The White House is sticking to this effort because it wants to meet Iran’s demand that it remove the IRGC from its list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations in order to sign a new nuclear deal.

Many in Washington are urging President Joe Biden and his foreign policy experts to hold off this move until Iran at least pledges not to assign terror activities to the IRGC. However, it is ironic that the Biden administration is hastening its campaign to remove its terrorist designation. This policy is undoubtedly detrimental to the national security of the US.

Many important and very sensitive declassified intelligence documents are now being circulated among congressional staffers, researchers at think tanks and foreign policy and counterterrorism experts to verify that the IRGC has been involved in a perpetual crusade to kill Americans. These documents are very revealing. They also contain valuable information.

For instance, the acronyms in the documents point to the types of weapons the IRGC uses to target Americans in its attempts to assassinate them. They include: EFPs (explosively formed penetrators), IEDs (improvised explosive devices), IRAMs (improvised rocket-assisted munitions) and RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades), as well as rockets, mortars, small arms and sniper rifles. These are very dangerous weapons and the IRGC has proven itself masterful in utilizing them to kill Americans, Iraqis, Lebanese, Syrians and, of course, Iranians.

Political opportunities to defeat Biden’s plan to remove the IRGC’s terrorist designation are now evolving. They are influenced by several trends in American politics.

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First is the success or failure of the efforts to reach an accord with Iran over its nuclear program. If there is no agreement on Tehran’s nuclear activities, there will be no need to remove the IRGC from the terror list. Second, the Senate can vote down any agreement with Iran and any attempt to remove the IRGC from the terror list. Third, the IRGC can be its own worst enemy — if it cannot end its terror attacks, any potential assault by its members will prove to everyone that terrorism is embedded in its strategy.

Future US-Iran relations also depend on the outcome of the war between Russia and Ukraine. If Russia triumphs, the Biden administration may rush to conclude a nuclear deal with Iran, fearing greater closeness between Moscow and Tehran.

Most likely, the Biden administration will follow a two-track strategy. It will keep saying that a nuclear agreement with Iran is “within reach,” while simultaneously demanding that Iran make announcements that the IRGC will no longer continue its terrorist strategy.

Nonetheless, these are not clear policy options and will send mixed signals, which will be confusing to many as to what the best policy is for handling Iran. The problem is that there will never be “real progress” in making the IRGC a non-terrorist group. Iran can accept — temporarily — low rates of uranium enrichment, but it will never change the terrorist profile of its Revolutionary Guards. Iran has never been constructive in its nuclear talks with the West.

As a result, it will never be honest about the terrorist inclinations of the IRGC. Many are hoping that Biden may change his positive attitude toward the group, but this is very doubtful. There is no question that many Republicans will accuse the Biden administration of being complicit in encouraging Iran to be more of a destabilizing factor in the Gulf, the Middle East and the whole Islamic world.

Biden cannot give a good account of the IRGC. It is a huge risk for him to see it only as a political group and not as a paramilitary organization that is involved in terror schemes and is helping Iran build a nuclear weapon.

Strangely, Biden personally is excessively preoccupied with Iran. Tehran will exploit Washington’s wrongful policy toward the IRGC to strengthen its state-sponsored terrorism. Meanwhile, the ongoing political battle in America is to make the Biden administration ashamed to be obliged to confess that it does not remember anything that implicates the IRGC in terrorism.

• Maria Maalouf is a Lebanese journalist, broadcaster, publisher and writer. She has a master’s degree in political sociology from the University of Lyon. Twitter: @bilarakib

Arab News

Arab News is Saudi Arabia's first English-language newspaper. It was founded in 1975 by Hisham and Mohammed Ali Hafiz. Today, it is one of 29 publications produced by Saudi Research & Publishing Company (SRPC), a subsidiary of Saudi Research & Marketing Group (SRMG).

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