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President Joe Biden is keeping Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps on a list of foreign terrorist organizations, according to officials. The decision could complicate international efforts to restore a 2015 deal meant to restrict Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief. Lifting the IRGC’s 2019 terrorist designation (see background) has been a precondition for Iran to return to talks with global leaders, who have been working on reviving the deal for over a year amid rising tensions between Arab nations and Iran-allied groups. 

The US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal (see 101) in 2018 after former President Donald Trump said he would reimpose sanctions on Iran’s oil sector, claiming the deal wasn’t enough to curtail Iran’s nuclear program. Since then, Iran has begun escalating its nuclear activities. 

The US envoy for Iran told lawmakers yesterday the chances of renewing a deal were tenuous as the Biden administration attempts another shot at brokering an agreement.