Members of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium February 2, 2023

New EU Council President Urged To Initiate IRGC Terror Listing

Sunday, 07/09/2023

Two members of the European Parliament have again raised the issue of designating Iran’s IRGC as a terrorist group, demanding action by the EU authorities. 

In a letter addressed to Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares, the new head of the EU Council, European Parliament members Evin Incir and Thijs Reuten have urged the council to initiate the procedure to add Iran’s Revolutionary Guards to the EU terrorist list. 

The letter, a copy of which was also sent to Josef Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, read, “In spite of the European Parliament's unequivocal demand, the Foreign Affairs Council has yet to reach agreement about adding the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its subsidiary forces to the EU terrorist list.” 

Unlike the United States which in 2019 put the IRGC on its Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) list, European countries have avoided the designation and prioritized diplomacy with the Islamic Republic in the hope of concluding a nuclear deal. The IRGC has been operating for decades across the EU. Most recently, a plot to murder Iran International journalists in London made the channel to relocate its studios to the US. 

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. In January, the European Parliament approved a resolution with absolute majority to designate the outfit as a terrorist organization. However, the EU executives refused to do so, with Borrell saying the move needs a ruling by a European court. 

In their letter, Incir – a Swedish politician of Kurdish descent – and Reuten – a Dutch politician – responded that according to the “Common Position 2001/931/CFSP, Article 1(4) which sets out the parameters for the inclusion of persons and entities on the EU terrorist list,” the IRGC can listed without any legal barriers. 

Among these parameters is “the instigation of investigations regarding, the prosecution for, or the condemnation of perpetrated, attempted, or facilitated terrorist acts,” reads the letter, adding that “The Council has further clarified that decisions by the competent authorities of third States may also serve as the basis of a listing proposal.” 

They concluded that “a conviction by a Member State Court is therefore not a requirement to initiate the listing procedure of the IRGC.” 

In June, a similar line of arguments was put forth by Iran’s exiled prince Reza Pahlavi, citing a group of French-Iranian lawyers who reasoned that here are no legal obstacles for the EU to blacklist the Revolutionary Guards. 

“Listing this entity, which is dedicated not to protecting Iran or Iranians but instead the power of the dictatorship, would be a strong and long-awaited recognition of reality and a show of support to my compatriots who are fighting for freedom and democracy in our country,” Prince Pahlavi said in June. 

Revolutionary Guard's commander-in-chief Hossein Salami (in green) during a war game in 2022

“The IRC's link with terrorism is unquestionable,” Incir and Reuten stated, noting that the IRGC and its proxies have a “well-established record of terrorist activity inside Iran, across the wider region, and within the EU.” 

Calling on the Council to hold the Revolutionary Guard to account, they said, “As the IRGC doubles down on its terrorist activity with impunity and continues to wage terror on the people of Iran by way of hundreds of executions this year alone, we urge you to explore all legal avenues to initiate IRGC proscription without delay.” 

“Your support for strong measures against the Islamic Republic will be indispensable for the people of Iran,” they concluded. 

In April, more than 130 Democratic and Republican Congresspeople issued a letter asking the European Union to designate Iran’s IRGC as a terrorist organization. The move came after the Biden administration denied it is pressuring Britain not to list the IRGC as a terrorist organization, as reported by The Telegraph. 

The UN Human Rights Council discussed a fact-finding report July 6 that said the regime continues its crackdown on dissent to stifle the nationwide protests ignited by death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini last September.

The E3 countries – France, Germany and the United Kingdom - have announced that they will keep in place sanctions imposed on the regime over its ballistic missile program beyond the October expiration date. They argue that they have ample evidence that the regime is violating its commitments under the deal both with weapons supplies to Russia and its clandestine uranium enrichment. 


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