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‘Ongoing threat’ to US officials from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard

Ongoing threat to US officials from Irans Revolutionary Guard


Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed Tuesday there is an “ongoing threat” against past and present American officials by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, just weeks after reports revealed the State Department is paying millions of dollars to protect former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from threats. 

“Is it true the IRGC is actively trying to murder former senior officials of the United States,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) asked Blinken during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. 

“I’m not sure what I can say in an open setting,” Blinken started to say. “Let me say generically, there is an ongoing threat against American officials both present and past.” 

“Is it true the State Department is spending roughly $2 million a month to protect those affected?” Cruz asked, referring to an Associated Press report that revealed the State Department is paying that amount towards security for Pompeo and a former top aide. 

“We are making — we will — we are making sure, and we will make sure for as long as it takes that we’re protecting our people, past and former if they’re, if they’re under threat,” Blinken responded. 

Cruz pressed further, asking the secretary if the department had specifically asked the IRGC to stop their attacks and threats against US officials and if they refused to do so. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing that there is an “ongoing threat” to US officials.
Al Drago/Pool via REUTERS

“Of course, within the context of any engagements that we have directly or indirectly with Iranians, one of the strong messages we sent to them is they need to stop targeting our people, period,” Blinken said. 

“Did they tell you no?” Cruz asked. 

“Again, I’m not going to characterize what they said, they know what they would need to do to address this problem,” Blinken said. “And that’s pretty straightforward.” 

The secretary revealed that such attacks against US officials have gone up 400% from 2019 to 2020, after the US pulled out of the Iranian Nuclear Agreement and designated the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization.

Blinken's admission comes after reports that the State Department is paying millions to protect former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from threats.
Blinken’s admission comes after reports that the State Department is paying millions to protect former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from threats.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Earlier in the hearing, Blinken was pressed by Republican and Democratic members on the Biden administration’s decision to pursue re-entering the nuclear deal. 

Blinken defended the move, saying it is the “best way to address the nuclear challenge posed by Iran and to make sure that an Iran that is already acting with incredible aggression doesn’t have a nuclear weapon.” 

Amid the talks, Iran has pushed for the IRGC to be removed from the foreign terrorist organization designation. 

According to Blinken, threats from the IRGC to US officials have gone up 400%  from 2019 to 2020 since the US pulled out of the Iran Nuclear Agreement.
According to Blinken, threats to US officials have gone up 400% from 2019 to 2020.
STR/AFP via Getty Images

“IRGC is a national army and a national army being listed as a terrorist group certainly is not acceptable,” Iran’s former foreign affairs minister Sayyid Kamal Kharazi said in March. 

Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) pressed Blinken on the possibility, asking if the State Department commits to not lifting the designation. 

“The only way I can see it being lifted is if Iran takes steps necessary to justify the lifting of that designation,” Blinken said. “So, it knows what it would have to do in order to see that happen.”



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