The United States underlined Wednesday that it is united with its allies and partners around the world and in the Middle East to respond to any Iranian attack.
"We are united in our resolve against threats and provocations, and we will work with partners and allies around the world and in the region to deter and to respond to any attacks that may be carried out by Iran," State Department Spokesman Ned Price said at his briefing Wednesday.
The comment was made in response to a question on an IRGC commander's remarks Tuesday who said Wednesday that the killing of all American leaders would not be enough to avenge the US assassination of Qods Force commander, Ghasem Soleimani in January 2020.
Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour, commander of IRGC's Ground Forces, made the remark after a visit to Soleimani's grave in Kerman. "Therefore, we must avenge him by other methods," Pakpour said.
"Also, there were shattering responses to the moves of the Zionist regime and the US in the region," he added, reminding that the IRGC had fired missiles at US bases in Iraq a few days after the assassination.
Price argued that most of the Biden administration's sanctions on Iran were imposed on the IRGC. "We are committed to seeing to it, using every appropriate tool, that we respond to, that we deter, the malicious activity that the IRGC engages in."
Mohammad Pakpour, commander of IRGC ground forces.
State Department's Deputy Spokesperson Jalina Porter also said at the briefing that out of the 107 designations made by the Biden administration in relation to Iran, 86 specifically targeted the IRGC-related persons as well as affiliates. She also told reporters that Biden shares the view of General Milley that "the IRGC's Qods Forces are terrorists" but declined to comment on any of the topics in the nuclear talks.
President Joe Biden’s administration, while committed to restoring the JCPOA, has been hesitating in delisting the Guards, that are not just a military organization but also an internal security force and a business conglomerate.
Mohammad Marandi, the Iranian negotiation team's media adviser, told Fars news agency Thursday that it was pressure from Biden's opponents at home and Israel's supporters that caused "Americans' change of behavior" and the slowing of the progress of the talks.
"Eventually this had led to the Biden administration's loss of courage to achieve a deal … The halt in the talks is more detrimental to the US than to Iran," he added.
Republicans in the US have strongly opposed the administration's consideration of removing Foreign Terrorist Organization designation from Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) whereas Tehran insists that without that there will not be a deal.
"The removal would betray our allies in the region including Israel," said conservative Republican Senator Bill Hagerty in a tweet Wednesday. In a letter to Biden Monday, Hagerty and several other Republican senators called such a step "wildly misguided" and said the IRGC is "actively trying to kill US politicians and public servants on UA soil."
Talks that began between the new administration of President Ebrahim Raisi on November 29 were halted over a month ago after negotiators reached a deadlock over Iran's demand for delisting of the IRGC.
At a meeting with heads of the three branches of government and some other current and former senior officials on Tuesday, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who closely supervises the talks described the progress of the talks as "good", but this was later changed into "the country's diplomacy is moving in a good direction" on all his social media accounts and website as well as most media outlets.