A majority of the Netherlands parliament voted this past week to place Iran's elite military unit, the Revolutionary Guards, on the European Union (EU) terror list. The Dutch resolution appears to be the first European motion to target the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist entity. The resolution cited the IRGC's support for Hamas and Hizbullah as reasons to label the Guards as an unlawful organization fomenting terror.
A second anti-terror resolution was also passed by the Dutch parliament. That motion urges the UN-affiliated International Maritime Organization (IMO) to bar Iran from "accession" to the IMO council because of Teheran's "illegal transportation of weapons."
While the United States designated the Revolutionary Guards a global terrorist organization in 2007, European Union countries have been reluctant about clamping down on the 125,000 member military wing of the regime. The resolution will be discussed in December at an EU meeting in Brussels.
When asked if the German government plans to support the Dutch parliament motion on the EU level, a Foreign Office spokesman said, "We have a good policy of not commenting on friendly European neighbors and partners, especially resolutions of independent parliaments."
According to the resolution, the "IRGC is increasingly functioning as the most important instrument of the present regime" and "this organization has played a leading role during the bloody suppression of the recent popular protests and that it is increasingly active in facilitating international terrorism, among which support to Hamas, Hizbullah and anti-Western militias in Iraq."
The resolution urged "the Government (Dutch) to advance that the European Union places the Iranian Revolutionary Guards on the European list of terrorist organizations." A political left versus right vote split among the Dutch parties was evident, in which 80 votes from the conservative-liberal parties favoured the terror label and 70 votes from the left of center parties opposed the resolution.
Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen's Christian Democratic Party voted for the anti-IRGC resolution. The liberal and right-of-center parties-the Christian Union, the Orthodox Protestant Christians, Gert Wilders' Party for Freedom, the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy- also supported the legislation.
In contrast to the voting pattern of the liberal and conservative parties, the block of leftist parties-the Labour party, the left-wing Liberals, Greens, Socialist Party, and Party for Animals-rejected the designation of the IRGC as a terror organization.
The groundbreaking vote of the Dutch parliament has received scant attention in the European press. Critics argue that the EU's flourishing trade relationship with Teheran plays a significant factor in blocking the labelling of the Revolutionary Guards as a terror organization. Last year, the European Union did 14.1 billion euro worth of trade with Iran.
Meanwhile, the Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin is slated to discuss the role of the IRGC at its international conference "Time to Act" on Saturday and Sunday in Berlin. Israeli, German and American experts will be speaking at the event."Money, Power and Terror: The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps" is one of the panels at the event. The global terror of the IRGC and its economic system in the Islamic Republic are listed as lectures.