FILE PHOTO: Regime backed groups burn a U.S. flag during a rally marking the annual Quds Day, or Jerusalem Day, in Tehran, Iran May 7, 2021. REUTERS./

 – The United States said on Thursday if Iran wanted sanctions relief beyond that of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal – an apparent reference to removing Iran‘s Revolutionary Guards from a U.S. terrorism list – it must address U.S. concerns beyond the pact.

“We are not negotiating in public, but if Iran wants sanctions lifting that goes beyond the JCPOA, they will need to address concerns of ours beyond the JCPOA,” a State Department spokesperson said, referring to the 2015 deal by the acronym for formal name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

“Conversely, if they do not want to use these talks to resolve other bilateral issues beyond the JCPOA, then we are confident that we can very quickly reach an understanding on the JCPOA and begin reimplementing the deal,” the spokesperson added. “Iran needs to make a decision.”

The U.S. spokesperson was responding to a top Iranian official who earlier said Iran will not give up on its plans to avenge the 2020 U.S. assassination of Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, despite “regular offers” from Washington to lift sanctions and provide other concessions in return. Read full story

The Quds Force is the foreign espionage and paramilitary arm of Iran‘s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) that controls its allied militia abroad. The Trump administration put the IRGC on the State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations in 2019, marking the first time Washington had formally labeled another nation’s military a terrorist group.

“Under any return to the JCPOA, the United States would retain and aggressively use our powerful tools to address Iran’s destabilizing activities and its support for terrorism and terrorist proxies, and especially to counter the IRGC,” the State Department spokesperson said.

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(Reporting By Arshad Mohammed)

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