Murphy Under Fire for Pushing To Lift Sanctions on Top Iranian Terror Group

Chris Murphy
Sen. Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) / Getty Images
April 7, 2022

Sen. Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) is under fire for recent comments that advocate lifting sanctions on Iran's top terror group, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which is responsible for killing more than 600 Americans and fueling attacks on U.S. outposts across the Middle East.

His comments elicited fierce pushback on Thursday from Iranian Americans for Liberty, a grassroots advocacy organization comprised of Iranians and opponents of the hardline regime.

"Let us be clear—diplomacy with the world's leading fiscal and logistical sponsor of terrorism will never succeed. More importantly—diplomacy with the Islamic Republic will not benefit the American people, our allies in the region, or the liberty-seeking Iranian people," Bryan Leib, Iranian Americans for Liberty's executive director, told the Washington Free Beacon. "Shame on … Senator Chris Murphy and any elected official who believes removing the IRGC from the [Federal Terrorist Organizations] list will do anything but further embolden the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Murphy has been a vociferous defender of the Iranian regime, even as the IRGC and other Tehran-backed terror groups wage attacks on American military members, civilians, and U.S. facilities in the Middle East. The senator was forced to admit in 2020 that he had held a secret meeting with Iran's then-foreign minister, Javad Zarif, who played a central role in forming the 2015 nuclear accord that provided Iran and the IRGC with billions-of-dollars in cash windfalls. Murphy also objected to the Trump administration's 2020 assassination of IRGC terror leader Qassem Soleimani, which he controversially described as "the equivalent of the Iranians assassinating the U.S. secretary of defense."

On Thursday, Murphy again lent his support to the IRGC when he told MSNBC in an interview that the removal of sanctions on the terror group—which is being considered by the Biden administration as part of a package of concessions to Tehran included in the new nuclear accord—is "inconsequential."

"Yes. I mean, the practical impact of designating [the IRGC] as a Foreign Terrorist Organization is inconsequential," Murphy said.

Iranian Americans for Liberty, in a statement, said it is not surprised that Murphy is in favor of waiving sanctions on the IRGC due to his ties to an Iranian-American lobbying shop that has been accused of carrying water for the hardline regime.

"We are not shocked in the least that Senator Murphy stated this because he is directly affiliated with and has been financially supported by the National Iranian American Council (NIAC)," Iranian Americans for Liberty said. "NIAC recently launched a campaign urging the Biden Administration to lift all sanctions in place against the Islamic Republic, remove the IRGC from the FTO list, and reenter the JCPOA with no conditions. One does not need to look far to see how Senator Murphy echoes all of NIAC's talking points."

Sanctions on the IRGC, first imposed by the Trump administration, have clamped down on the group's funding and terrorism activities. The Free Beacon first reported last week that the removal of these sanctions would make it easier for terror-tied Iranians to make their way into the United States, according to a Republican-authored policy document circulating on Capitol Hill.

While Murphy sees no issue removing sanctions on a terror group responsible for killing hundreds of Americans, he has accused Republicans of not being tough on gun violence and insinuated that the GOP is responsible for those who committed mass shootings.