WASHINGTON—Representative Scott Franklin (FL-15) led a letter urging Secretary of State Antony Blinken to keep Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on the designated list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. The letter comes in response to news reports that the Biden Administration is considering removing the IRGC’s FTO designation as part of a new nuclear deal with Iran.
“The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is one of the most dangerous terrorist groups in the world today,” Franklin stated. “Through its sponsorship of terrorism, the IRGC is responsible for the deaths of countless innocent people and at least 600 U.S. troops. It has consistently sought the destruction of our partners and allies in the region, most notably Israel, and has been an obstacle to peace in the Middle East for decades. The Biden administration simply cannot reward this terrorist regime with any sort of legitimacy from the U.S. government.”
In the letter, the members told Secretary Blinken that “it is critical that we stand by our allies and partner nations and ensure that the IRGC is not given the benefit of removal of sanctions by delisting them as a FTO. This would reward them with greater freedom to increase their malign activities.”
They also stated that they are “against any decision that would legitimize the IRGC and allow them to further threaten democracy & freedom around the world.”
The full text of the letter can be accessed here.
Franklin was joined by 86 of his colleagues. The list of cosigners includes:
Reps. Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Bob Gibbs (OH-07), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Madison Cawthorn (NC-11), Michael Cloud (TX-27), Vern Buchanan (FL-16), Maria Salazar (FL-27), Ted Budd (NC-13), Vicky Hartzler (MO-04), Dan Crenshaw (TX-02), Russ Fulcher (ID-01), Rodney Davis (IL-13), Tom McClintock (CA-04), Chip Roy (TX-21), Michael Waltz (FL-06), David P. Joyce (OH-14), Scott Fitzgerald (WI-05), Billy Long (MO-07), Randy Weber (TX-14), Ben Cline (VA-06) , Robert B. Aderholt (AL-04), Darrell Isa (CA-50), Nancy Mace (SC-01), Ralph Norman (SC-05), Lee Zeldin (NY-01), Yvette Herrell (NM-02), Jody Hice (GA-10), Glenn Grothman (WI-06), August Pfluger (TX-11), Jake Ellzey (TX-06), Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14), Jim Banks (IN-03), Mike Garcia (CA-25), Ann Wagner (MO-02), Trent Kelly (MS-01), David Kustoff (TN-08), Andrew Clyde (GA-09), David McKinley, P.E. (WV-01), Jim Jordan (OH-04), Charles “Chuck” Fleischmann (TN-03), Steven Palazzo (MS-04), Rob Wittman (VA-01), Barry Moore (AL-02), Steve Chabot (OH-01), Jeff Duncan (SC-03), Beth Van Duyne (TX-34), Jackie Walorski (IN-02), William Timmons (SC-04), Andy Barr (KY-06), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02), Bill Posey (FL-08), Ronny Jackson (TX-13), Andrew R. Garbarino (NY-02), Lance Gooden (TX-05), Michael Guest (MS-03), Troy Balderson (OH-12), Kevin Hern (OK-01), Michelle Steel (CA-48), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Jodey C. Arrington (TX-19), Julia Letlow (LA-05), Bryan Steil (WI-01), Gregory Steube (FL-17), Richard Hudson (NC-08), Bill Huizenga (MI-02), David Schweikert (AZ-06), Neal Dunn (FL-02), Kat Cammack (FL-03), John H. Rutherford (FL-04), Tim Burchett (TN-02), John R. Moolenaar (MI-04), Gus M. Bilirakis (FL-12), H. Morgan Griffith (VA-09), Mike Bost (IL-12), Chris Stewart (UT-02), Rick W. Allen (GA-12), Don Bacon (NE-02), Christopher H. Smith (NJ-04), Darin LaHood (IL-18), Joe Wilson (SC-02), Lisa McClain (MI-10), Mike Carey (OH-15), Andy Harris, M.D. (MD-01), Rick Crawford (AR-01), Adrian Smith (NE-03), and Troy Nehls (TX-22).
Created following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps primary responsibility is to protect the Iranian regime from internal and external threats. It has actively funded and supported several militant and terrorist groups including Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Houthi insurgency in Yemen. The IRGC has significant control over Iran’s foreign policy and controls segments of the country’s economy, which it uses to fund its operations. It was designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 2019 because it “participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft.” U.S. forces killed IRGC leader Qassem Soleimani in 2020 in an effort to deter future IRGC attack plans against U.S. interests. According to a Pentagon report, the IRGC killed more than 600 U.S. troops during the occupation of Iraq while under Soleimani’s command.