Iran warned the European Union on Thursday against listing the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) as a terrorist entity, amid a strong push by European politicians.
Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell that the EU will "shoot itself in the foot" state media said.
"We have repeatedly said the Revolutionary Guards are a formal and sovereign organization whose role is central for guaranteeing Iran's security. Steps taken by the European Parliament to list the organization as terrorist are in a way a shot in the foot of Europe itself," Iran's foreign minister said.
On Wednesday the European Parliament in an overwhelming vote called for the EU to list the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization, blaming it for the repression of domestic protesters and the supply of kamikaze drones to Russia's military, which uses it to attack Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure.
While the regime in Tehran insists that the IRGC is the country’s formal military organization and should be immune from sanctions by other states, the entity engages in widespread unconventional activities, such as domestic repression and foreign interferences in region countries. It maintains a domestic intelligence organization and prisons for dissidents, as well as engages in torture and other human rights violations.
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, led by the powerful Revolutionary Guard Corps, as "brutal".
These security and intelligence forces have killed around 500 civilians during the protests, maimed hundreds of other, jailed thousands and executed for detainees.
Both the resilience of the protest movement and the strong foreign reactions to government brutality have posed the most serious challenge to the clerical regime in Iran since its establishment in 1979.
The US State Department Wednesday refused to comment on specific steps by the EU, but spokesperson Ned Price told reporters, “What – where we do see eye to eye with our European partners is a recognition that Iran is the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism. There is no more nefarious exporter of international terrorism than Iran. There is no disagreement between the United States and our European allies on this.”
"It is necessary to respect mutual security in the world of diplomacy and increase mutual trust instead of following the language of threats and unfriendly actions. In any case of a terrorist listing, Iran will take reciprocal measures," Amir-Abdollahian said.
The foreign minister’s remarks contradict the behavior of Islamic Republic officials who for decades have threatened the West, Israel and some Arab regional countries.
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.