Press Release

ADL Task Force on Middle East Minorities Calls for U.S. to Keep IRGC on Foreign Terrorist Organization List

The Task Force also calls for reinstatement of FTO designation for Iran-backed Houthis

New York, NY, April 20, 2022 … The ADL (Anti-Defamation League) Task Force on Middle East Minorities stated today that it opposes any effort to remove the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) from the United States’ government’s Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list. The Task Force also calls upon the Department of State to reinstate the FTO designation for the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen. 

The IRGC is responsible for training and funding Islamist terrorist organizations including Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Houthis and many others.  Additionally, the Task Force opposes any efforts to distinguish between the status of the international terrorist activities conducted by the IRGC’s Quds Force and its activities within the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“These minorities threatened in Iran or by Iran — or threatened by Tehran’s proxies like the Houthis, Hezbollah, and others — are begging the United States to tighten the pressure on the IRGC, not loosen it now,” said ADL’s Senior Vice President for International Affairs and Task Force chair Sharon Nazarian. “The alternative is just more hate, more terrorism, and more death,” she added.

“The IRGC is responsible for the murder of countless people, including an untold number of Iranians,” said ADL Task Force on Middle East Minorities member Alireza Nader. “It led the massacre and maiming of thousands of Iranian protesters in November 2019. And it is the primary force keeping the Islamic Republic in power as it represses millions of Iranians.”

“Removing the IRGC from the foreign terrorist designation would be a slap in the face of the hundreds of thousands of innocent victims, from Iranian minorities to innocents across the region, from Israel to Iraq, Lebanon to Yemen, and so many more,” said ADL’s Task Force on Middle East Minorities member Marjan Keypour-Greenblatt. 

“The United States government must keep the IRGC terrorist designation in its entirety and must put the Houthis back on the list,” said Task Force co-chair Rev. Johnnie Moore, a former two-time appointee to the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom. “Democrats and Republicans must make this is as a red line in U.S. foreign policy. There’s no room for partisan wrangling on this one, too many vulnerable lives are directly in the crosshairs. The alternative is tantamount to inviting more destabilization in a world already on fire.”

The FTO designation of the Houthis was removed by the Department of State in February 2021 with the hopes that the removal of FTO designation would ensure humanitarian aid reach those most effected by the conflict in Yemen and that the Houthis would be disincentivized to continue their acts of terrorism. Instead, the Houthis have routinely blocked humanitarian assistance from reaching the needy and have only escalated their acts of terrorism, including by threatening the destruction of Israel, attacking minority communities in Yemen, and shooting Iranian-supplied rockets and drones indiscriminately toward cities populated by expatriate Americans as far as Abu Dhabi and Jeddah.

ADL Task Force on Middle East Minorities will continue to oppose all forms of hate and prejudice targeting the Middle East region’s vulnerable groups.