January 19, 2023
Iran warned the European Union on Thursday against listing the Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist entity, a day after EU lawmakers overwhelmingly voted to blacklist the powerful force over its role in the repression of protesters and the supply of drones to Russia.
Troops from the Revolutionary Guard’s Ground Force attend a manoeuver in northwestern Iran on October 17, 2022. Photo: AP
By France 24 with Reuters, AFP
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said the EU would “shoot itself in the foot” by placing the Revolutionary Guards on its list of terrorist entities, state media said.
“We have repeatedly said the Revolutionary Guards are a formal and sovereign organisation whose role is central for guaranteeing Iran’s security. Steps taken by the European Parliament to list the organisation as terrorist are in a way a shot in the foot of Europe itself,” the minister told the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell.
Amirabdollahian warned that Iran would take “reciprocal measures” in the event of a terrorist listing.
His comments came a day after the European Parliament voted to urge the EU to list the Guards as a terrorist organisation, blaming it for the repression of domestic protesters and the supply of drones to Russia’s military engaged in Ukraine.
The vote does not oblige the European Union to act, but it comes with foreign ministers already due to discuss tightening sanctions on Tehran at a meeting in Brussels next week.
Widespread anti-government demonstrations erupted in Iran in September after the death of Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, who had been detained over flouting the strict dress code imposed on women.
The European Parliament condemned the crackdown on protesters by Iran’s security forces, which include the powerful Revolutionary Guard Corps, as “brutal”.
Some EU capitals have begun to move towards adding the Guards to the terrorist blacklist, which would expose another important plank in the Islamic republic’s government to sanctions.
In the past, some have resisted this call, fearing it would be based on shaky legal grounds and further poison already dreadful ties with the West.
Europe’s position is hardening, however, and the opening of this week’s parliamentary session in Strasbourg was marked by a rally of Iranian expatriates demanding the terror listing.
Iran and world powers, including EU members France and Germany, have engaged in negotiations since 2021 to revive a 2015 nuclear deal, with discussions in a stalemate since September.