Italian group: Add Iranian Guard to EU’s terror list

MP Nirenstein: "We successfully pushed for Hamas to be put on the EU terror list. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard is a major cause of instability in ME."

By BENNY WEINTHAL JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
May 18, 2010 06:25
2 minute read.
Volunteers affiliated with the Iranian Revolutiona

Iranian Revolutionary Guards volunteers. (photo credit: Associated Press)

 
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BERLIN – A bipartisan group of legislators in Italy’s Chamber of Deputies are seeking to have the country’s Foreign Ministry put the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps on the EU’s list of terrorist organizations.

“Italy was able to push for Hamas to be put on the EU terror list,” Fiamma Nirenstein, vice president of the chamber’s foreign affairs committee, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

“It seemed right to turn to the government – through a parliamentary question I submitted with colleagues Giorgio La Malfa, Furio Colombo, Paolo Corsini, Renato Farina and Gennaro Malgieri – to ask about the possibility to include the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, whose activity is a major cause of instability in the Middle East,” she said.

Nirenstein submitted her query last week to the Foreign Ministry and Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, and said the ministry would probably reply within the next 10 days.

“Our government seems quite sensitive to the Iranian problem” with regard to “human rights and atomic activity,” Nirenstein told the Post. When asked if she planned to introduce a motion on the matter in parliament, she said she preferred to wait for an answer to her legislative query.


The Italian parliamentary effort to criminalize the Revolutionary Guard Corps follows the lead of the Dutch parliament, which voted last November to crack down on the 125,000-member paramilitary wing of the Iranian government, and urged the EU to designate it a terrorist entity.

Nirenstein is a member of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right People of Freedom party, as are Farina and Malgieri.

Italy is Iran’s second-largest EU trade partner, after Germany, although, according to Nirenstein, Italian-Iranian trade dropped by 30 percent in the past year. The Foundation for Defense of Democracies lists the Italian gas and oil giant ENI as being active in Iran.

“Getting the IRGC [Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps] on the EU terror list is still a long way away, but this is an encouraging start and I hope to see the Italian government embrace this initiative,” Dr. Emanuele Ottolenghi, a senior fellow at The Foundation for Defense of Democracies and an expert on Iranian energy, told the Post. “The Netherlands has already put the IRGC on its list. If Italy were to follow suit while lobbying other EU member states to do it at the EU level, it would send a strong signal. Besides, Italy is one of the places where IRGC-front companies operate to procure technology and conduct profitable business. An effective legislative tool against them would seriously harm their efforts in Europe.”

The Italian chapter of the European “Stop the Bomb” coalition welcomed the parliamentary initiative, saying in a statement that it was “further proof that Italy [is] one of the most sensitive European countries to the danger created by the Iranian regime.”

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