A large political gathering of IRGC officers in Tehran in 2023

Several EU Countries Push to Designate IRGC as a Terror Organization

Tuesday, 05/28/2024

The economic powerhouse of Europe, Germany, along with a number of other European countries are pushing the EU to classify the Iranian regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization.

The German Press Agency (DPA) reported on Monday that diplomats told the wire service that “Multiple EU countries including Germany are pushing to classify the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization on the basis of a German court ruling.”

According to the DPA, diplomats emphasized on Monday that the Guard's terror listing would be primarily a symbolic step because there are already EU sanctions against them.

However, a blanket sanction on the IRGC—similar to the EU terror designation of Hamas—would be a powerful move that would adversely affect IRGC-linked structures in the EU, involved in activities such as spying on Iranian dissidents and carrying out terror plots.

The German legal ruling earlier this year is from the High Court in the city of Düsseldorf, stating that a 2022 attack on a synagogue in the city of Bochum was traced to the “Iranian state authorities.”

In March, Iran International reported that after the court ruling, the German Christian Democratic Union MP, Norbert Röttgen, had said, “The IRGC's terror listing must come now. There are enough starting points.”

Since December, the EU’s foreign policy head, Josep Borrell, and German foreign minister , Annalena Baerbock, have claimed there are no legal rulings within the EU that show the IRGC has carried out terrorist attacks within Europe.

A German paper, in December, wrote that a classified EU document states that IRGC can be sanctioned as a terrorist entity in Europe, despite assertions to the contrary by Borrell and Baerbock. Iran International has reported on a 2017 legal case that revealed that the IRGC hired a Pakistani contract killer to assassinate pro-Israel advocates in Europe.

The Trump administration sanctioned the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization in 2019. When asked what President Biden can do to convince the EU to sanction the IRGC, Jason Brodsky, the policy director for the US-based United Against Nuclear Iran, told Iran International “I think the Biden administration should be making this issue a priority and pushing very hard for the EU and the UK to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization. This would be a force multiplier in the transatlantic sanctions architecture against Tehran.”

He added “There is strong bipartisan support for the EU and UK to take this step. The US should be making it clear to its allies that not sanctioning the IRGC as a terrorist organization will have ramifications in their relations with the United States.”

Lawmakers from Germany and Austria welcomed the movement in Brussels toward a terror proscription for the IRGC.

Hannah Neumann, a German Green party member of the European parliament, wrote on X: “German court verdict suffices as basis for terror listing of #IRGC, says EU legal service. So, no more excuses @JosepBorrellF And thank you @ABaerbock for continuously pushing this file forward. IRGCterrorists‌.”

Baerbock is also a member of the Green party.

Ewa Ernst-Dziedzic, a Green party MP in the Austrian parliament in Vienna, wrote on X “No more excuses or after years of standstill, things are finally moving: German court ruling is sufficient as a basis for classifying IRGC as a terrorist organization, says the EU Legal Service. I have visited several times @OeParl in favor of this and would find this step more important than ever in view of current developments. Austria must take a clear stand!”

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the LA-based human rights organization, Simon Wiesenthal Center, told Iran International that he commends Germany for “taking the lead in a long overdue push to classify Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard for what it is-- a terrorist entity.”

The German media report did not name the other countries supportive of a ban on the IRGC. Borrell, who is widely viewed as sympathetic to the Islamic Republic, has been recalcitrant toward punitive measures targeting the IRGC.

A full terrorism designation imposed on the IRGC would enable European law enforcement personnel greater police and investigatory powers to prosecute Iranian regime officials and organizations.

The classification of the IRGC as a terrorist organization could also have profound effects on European-Iran trade relations. The IRGC is estimated to control over 50% of the economy in the Islamic Republic.

The state of Israel has been advocating for years that the EU outlaw the IRGC. In November, when asked if the EU and Germany should outlaw the IRGC, Lior Haiat, a spokesman for Israel’s foreign ministry, told Iran International “We do. Because it is a terror organization.”

Israel’s special envoy for combating antisemitism, Michal Cotler-Wunsh, also told Iran International in November, that the “IRGC and Hezbollah are terror groups and must be designated as such.”

More News