Iranian diaspora is preparing for a Solidarity Rally in Strasbourg to urge the European Union to list the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) as a terrorist organization.
Thousands of Iranians from all over Europe who have pledged to participate in the Monday rally are passionately discussing ways to get to Strasbourg on social media to send a strong message to the European Parliament that has a plenary session on Tuesday.
Some social media users have urged Syrians, whose country has been a playground for the IRGC, and Ukrainians whose Russian enemy uses the Iranian-made drones against them, to join the rally and support their cause.
An underground alliance of protester groups in Iran has also welcomed and supported the diaspora’s initiative. “We wish to declare our full support for listing [the IRGC] as a terrorist organization by the international community,” United Youth of Iran, an underground alliance of revolutionary youth groups from various Iranian cities, said in a statement sent to Iran International Saturday.
The group has criticized the IRGC’s suppression of protests in Iran, direct and indirect violation of human rights in other countries including Syria and Ukraine, and economic corruption including alleged involvement in drug and arms trafficking and money-laundering by the Guards. “The IRGC’s actions bring nothing but pain, death and corruption to the Middle East and the world,” the statement said.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte Meeting with members of the Iranian community on January 10, 2023
Unlike the United States which in 2019 under President Donald Trump put the IRGC on its Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) list, European countries avoided the designation in the past few years and prioritized diplomacy with the Islamic Republic in the hope of concluding a nuclear deal.
Talks in Vienna to revive the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) came to an abrupt stop in March 2022, reportedly for Iran’s insistence that the IRGC be removed from the US FTO list. Later talks elsewhere failed to bring about an agreement.
The US and European powers have shown much less interest in a deal following the Iranian government’s heavy-hand suppression of protests in the country in the past few months. As early as October, the US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the deal was no longer the US government’s focus, and that focusing on supporting the protesters in Iran had taken priority.
News that Iran is supplying Russia with kamikaze drones also angered the West and added to the pressure to get tough with Tehran.
So far over 500 protesters have been killed by security forces, mainly consisting of the IRGC and its Basij militia. Four protesters have been executed so far by the state after hasty trials devoid of any regard for due process. Others are on death row.
Many politicians in France, Germany, and other European countries have been keen to pursue the IRGC’s designation by the EU and say that it has been long overdue.
“Let’s rally together, united, and with a common mind to label IRGC as a terrorist organization. Sanctioning criminals is not enough! We need a resolution! Let's make the world a safer place to live in!” Alireza Akhondi, Swedish-Iranian member of the Swedish parliament who has been campaigning for the EU designation of the IRGC tweeted on January 10.
In an interview with Iran International a week earlier, Akhondi said designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization should be followed by tracing the organization’s money and blocking its money-laundering channels to weaken it.
Members of the UK House of Commons on Thursday unanimously voted for a motion urging the UK government to proscribe the IRGC by listing it as a terrorist organization.