Dennis Ross
Dennis RossUri Lenz/Flash 90

Dennis Ross, who served as former US President Barack Obama’s Middle East advisor and as special Middle East coordinator under President Bill Clinton, on Wednesday criticized reports that the Biden administration is considering removing terrorism sanctions from the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as part of negotiations to restore the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“Tying the delisting of the IRGC to Iran promising to de-escalate in the region makes us look naive. For the IRGC, which admitted this week to firing rockets into Erbil, to promise to de-escalate regionally is about as credible as Putin saying Russia would not invade Ukraine,” tweeted Ross.

His comments followed a report by Barak Ravid of Axios, which said that the administration is considering the move in exchange for a commitment from Iran to de-escalate its spread of violence throughout the Middle East.

The US would monitor Iran's compliance with its agreement to de-escalate and would retain the option to restore the designation if Iran is not found to be in compliance, three Israeli officials and two US officials told Ravid.

Iran has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal it signed with world powers, in response to former US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in May of 2018, but has held several rounds of indirect talks with the US on a return to the agreement.

There have been indications recently that a deal between Iran and world powers could be reached within days.

However, the talks were suspended on Friday and no timetable has been set for their resumption.

Even if an agreement is reached, President Joe Biden is likely to face opposition at home. Earlier this week, 49 of the 50 Republican US senators said they will not back the emerging new nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

They pledged to do everything in their power to reverse an agreement that does not "completely block" Iran's ability to develop a nuclear weapon, constrain its ballistic missile program and "confront Iran's support for terrorism."

Last week, a bipartisan group of 21 Members of Congress, led by Reps. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), Elaine Luria (VA-2), and Tom Reed (NY-23), urged the Biden administration to address concerns surrounding the looming agreement with Iran.

Last month, nearly 200 House Republicans wrote to Biden and warned that any nuclear deal made with Iran without Congress' approval "will meet the same fate" as the 2015 agreement.

"We will view any agreement reached in Vienna which is not submitted to the US Senate for ratification as a treaty — including any and all secret agreements made with Iran directly or on the sidelines of official talks — as non-binding," the GOP lawmakers wrote to Biden.