Despite being designated as a terror organization, the Biden administration will allow some former members of IRGC to enter the U.S.
By World Israel News Staff
The Biden administration announced policy changes Thursday that will ease restrictions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, with some former members now allowed to enter the United States.
The Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas agreed to drop some of the limits imposed on the IRGC due to its designation by the US as a foreign terrorist organization.
After consulting with US Attorney General Merrick Garland, Blinken and Mayorkas moved to exempt former members of the IRGC who were conscripted, and only served in the IRGC during their mandatory military service.
A wing of the Iranian military, the IRGC is dedicated to maintaining Iran’s Shi’ite Islamist system and character, but has also backed foreign terrorist groups, including Hamas and Hezbollah, and Houthi rebels in Yemen.
In 2019, the Trump administration added the IRGC to the Foreign Terrorist Organizations blacklist.
The designation imposed travel bans not only on current members of the IRGC, but also Iranians who formerly served in the Corps.
Iran has demanded the lifting of sanctions on the IRGC, including the terror designation, as a condition for the restoration of the 2015 nuclear deal. The Biden administration refused to drop the terror designation, however.
Thursday’s announcement does not specifically name the IRGC, but claimed that the existing policy barred “certain individuals who do not pose a national security or public safety risk from admission to the United States and from obtaining immigration benefits or other status.”
With millions of former and reserve members in the IRGC’s Basij Force, and large numbers of Iraqi militiamen linked to the IRGC, the Corps is by far the largest organization included on the US foreign terror organization blacklist.
The State Department and Homeland Security Department said the entry and immigration limits would be lifted only for individuals who “provided insignificant material support or limited materiel support” to terror groups, have “undergone and passed all relevant background and security checks,” pose “no danger to the safety and security of the United States,” and warrant “an exemption from the relevant inadmissibility provision(s) in the totality of the circumstances.”