The Biden administration has decided to keep Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on the United States's terrorism watch list, according to a news report and a social media post by the Israeli prime minister on Tuesday.

President Joe Biden's team had considered the possibility of removing the designation, as it has remained a key sticking point in the negotiations to restore the 2015 nuclear agreement. But a person familiar with the matter told Politico that Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of his final decision during an April 24 call.


“I welcome the decision by the US Administration to keep Iran’s IRGC on the Foreign Terrorist Organizations list — which is where it belongs,” Naftali said on social media Tuesday afternoon. “Thank you to [President Biden] for this principled decision and for being a true friend of the State of Israel.”

Biden’s push to reenter an agreement similar to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which intended to cap Iran’s nuclear activity in exchange for a rollback of international sanctions and was later abandoned by the Trump administration in 2018, has sparked bipartisan concerns.

"We are not negotiating in public and are not going to respond to specific claims about what sanctions we would be prepared to lift as part of a mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA," a National Security Council spokesperson told the Washington Examiner. "The President will do what’s in the best interests of U.S. national security."

As the administration contemplated removing the designation, the Middle Eastern nation was attempting to inflict “revenge” against the U.S. over the assassination of Quds Force Commander Quasem Soleimani, according to the director of national intelligence.


Mike Pompeo, who was the secretary of state under President Donald Trump when Soleimani was killed, has been a target of Iran, his successor Antony Blinken told Congress last month, while Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines identified their efforts to attack him and other U.S. officials as an attempt to avenge Soleimani’s death. The Iranian military figure was killed in January 2020 when he traveled to Iraq.

“A fair amount of their motivation in this scenario we assess to be in relation to Soleimani as part of their sort of efforts for revenge, and is a particularly challenging area, I think, to deter them from action in this space," Haines told lawmakers.