January 28. 2023. 10:00

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European Parliament calls on the European Union to list Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and its subsidiary forcesas terrorist entities


In a resolution backed by an overwhelming majority of lawmakers, the European Parliament in Strasbourg condemned “the brutal crackdown by Iran, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), on the demonstrations after the death of Mahsa Amini, following her violent arrest, abuse and ill-treatment by Iran’s ‘morality police".

Relations between the European Union (EU) member states and Tehran have deteriorated in recent months as efforts to revive nuclear talks have stalled. Tehran has detained several European nationals and the EU has become increasingly critical of a continuing violent crackdown on protesters, including executions.

Widespread anti-government demonstrations erupted in Iran in September after the death of 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, who had been detained for allegedly flouting the strict dress code imposed on women. Several protestors have been condemned to death and excuted. The latest was the execution of Alireza Akbari last Saturday, a British-Iranian national.

The EU summoned Iran’s ambassador earlier this month and told him it was appalled by the exécutions.

Tehran has also been criticized for supplying its ally Russia with kamikaze drones.

EU Foreign Ministers are to meet Monday (23 January) in Brussels to discuss further sanctions against Iran including blacklisting the IRGC.

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"It is crucial that the European Union and its Member States continue to send strong and clear messages to Iran in line with what has been done so far," said Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders who spoke to the European Parliament on behalf of EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

"I assure you that all options for the European Union to respond to events in Iran remain on the table at Monday’s Foreign Affairs Council," he said.

The US has already designated the IRGC as a terrorist group and the UK is set to follow suit.

The EU list of terrorist entities includes some 20 organizations, including Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State group, Hamas and the armed wing of Hezbollah, supported by Iran.

Designating the IRGC as a terrorist group would mean that it would become a criminal offence to belong to the group, attend its meetings and carry its logo in public.

The IRGC was formed after Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979 and has become a major military economic force in the country, also controlling Tehran’s nuclear and ballistics programme and funding terrorist operations and assassination plots elsewhere in the region and in the world. It was formed primarily for two specific goals: defending the regime and exporting the Islamic revolution to neighboring countries through terrorism.

Its influence has increased under the rule of current President Ebrahim Raisi, who took power in 2021.

The IRGC continues to expand its influence in Iraq, Afghanisatn, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen through its external arm, the Al-Quds Force.

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