Biden to remove five terror groups from Foreign Terrorist Organization list, report

The groups have been deemed defunct, but some worry their removals could be a prelude for removing Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Updated: May 16, 2022 - 9:58am

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The Biden administration will reportedly remove five extremist groups from the official Foreign Terrorist Organization list. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken notified Congress on Friday that each of the five groups is now considered defunct, according to Fox News. The groups' respective financial situations appear to be the reason for them being removed from the list.

The groups include Basque Fatherland and Liberty (also called ETA); the Japanese doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo, Kahane Kach, an extremist Orthodox Jewish group; and two radical Islamic groups – the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, and Gama'a al-Islamiyya.

President Biden is reportedly considering lifting the terrorist designation from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in exchange for some tenet of the Iran nuclear deal currently in negotiation. 

Fox says reports an unnamed senior Republican congressional aide told the news outlet: "Republicans on the Hill believe this was a dress rehearsal for trying to remove terrorism sanctions on the IRGC."

Administration officials have been trying for over a year to renegotiate the Iran nuclear deal, the U.S.-led international agreement that eased sanction on Iran in exchange for the country winding down in development of a nuclear weapon. The previous Trump administration pulled the U.S. out of the deal.

Conflicting reports U.S. and Iran could potentially be nearing a deal, but that the Trump-era designation o the IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization "is a key remaining sticking point," according to Axios. 

The IRGC is reportedly responsible for the deaths of nearly 600 members of the U.S. armed forces and remains active in terrorist activities. In April, a group of several dozen retired U.S. generals publicly urged the president not remove the group from the list.