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Iran nuclear deal

US still considers Iran’s IRGC a terrorist group: State Department official

“It was never certain, it was never clear to us whether we’d be able to achieve a mutual return to [JCPOA] compliance, so we’ve always been engaged in contingency planning with our partners,” State Department Spokesman Ned Price said.

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The US still considers Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist group, State Department Spokesman Ned Price said Tuesday.

“You’ve heard from the Secretary [of State Antony Blinken] that the IRGC has conducted terrorist attacks. Clearly, we’re concerned by the threat that the IRGC poses,” Price told Al Arabiya in an interview from the State Department.

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Reports have suggested that one of the major sticking points that has prevented a return to the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the West has been Tehran’s demand to have the IRGC’s terror designation revoked.

Price suggested that steps taken by the State Department proved that the Biden administration was working to counter threats by the IRGC.

“Of the 107 sanctions that this administration has imposed on Iran since January 2021, until the present, 86 of them have been on the IRGC or its affiliates,” Price said. “We are working closely, using our own authorities, also with partners in the region, to counter the IRGC and the threat it poses potentially to our personnel and to our partners in the region as well.”

Nevertheless, the US is still hoping to reach a deal with Iran to revive the deal.

Biden administration officials believe a return to the deal would “verifiably and permanently” prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

And despite a weekslong halt to the talks, the US still thinks a deal is in its best interests.

“As of May 2022, we continue to believe that if the restrictions that the nuclear deal imposed were re-imposed on Iran, Iran’s nuclear program would be put back in a box, that breakout time that now stands at weeks would be lengthened significantly,” Price said.

He added: “It’s unacceptable that the breakout time is so low. President Biden has a commitment that Iran will not acquire a nuclear weapon.”

Price also said that a return to the so-called JCPOA would be one way to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

But he also said that the US and its allies would “pursue other means,” if needed, to ensure this would never happen.

The US has been discussing alternative plans with partners and allies in the event that no deal is reached.

“It was never certain, it was never clear to us whether we’d be able to achieve a mutual return to compliance, so we’ve always been engaged in contingency planning with our partners,” Price said.

Asked about comments by the UN nuclear watchdog chief that Iran was not forthcoming on past nuclear activities, Price said the US would be in close touch with the agency on the matter.

“But either way, we’re going to continue to partner very closely with the IAEA to make sure that Iran is complying with its commitments, or alternatively, to make sure that Iran is not able to acquire a nuclear weapon,” he said.

Read more: Frustration growing among US diplomats at the State Department

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