European Parliament calls on EU to blacklist Iran's IRGC

On Thursday, the European Parliament is expected to pass another resolution dealing with Iran, including a call to declare the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization.

 Members of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) navy participate in an exercise in the south of Iran, in this picture obtained on January 17, 2023. (photo credit: IRGC/WANA/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
Members of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) navy participate in an exercise in the south of Iran, in this picture obtained on January 17, 2023.
(photo credit: IRGC/WANA/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

The European Parliament on Wednesday called on the European Union to add the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps to its list of terrorist organizations as part of a larger resolution it passed against Iran.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen welcomed the European Parliament’s decision, which passed with an overwhelming majority of 598 in favor and nine against.

On Thursday, the European Parliament is expected to pass another resolution dealing with Iran, including a call to declare the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization.

Iran is a terrorist state that exports terrorism to the Middle East, Europe and the entire world,” Cohen said in a statement he issued from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he has been meeting with diplomats, including from the EU.

"I thank the people of the Foreign Affairs Ministry at the Israeli embassies in Europe and the Israeli Embassy in Brussels ... for their efforts in this regard."

 Members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) attend an IRGC ground forces military drill in the Aras area, East Azerbaijan province, Iran, October 17, 2022. (credit: IRGC/WANA/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS) Members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) attend an IRGC ground forces military drill in the Aras area, East Azerbaijan province, Iran, October 17, 2022. (credit: IRGC/WANA/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

He has also held calls with his European counterparts since taking office at the start of this month. To date, only Israel, the United States, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia have designated the IRGC as a terrorist group. Great Britain is also said to be weighing the matter

“The introduction of the Revolutionary Guards, the largest terrorist organization in the world, to the list of terrorist organizations of the European Union, will be an important step in the fight against the Iranian regime,” Cohen said.“During the many policy talks that I have held since taking office, I have [emphasized] to all foreign ministers and leaders the importance of the fight against the Iranian regime, both in the nuclear field and in the context of financing and targeting terrorism,” he added

The European Parliament was expected to pass another resolution on Thursday that only deals with the IRGC.

Response from Iran 

Iran’s Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi strongly protested the European Parliament’s decision, attributing it to the body’s political and moral weakness, according to Iranian state media outlet Tasnim News.

“There is no need for concern about the European Parliament’s plan to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization. The IRGC will press on strongly,” Vahidi told Tasnim.

EU Parliament member comments

European Parliament member Charlie Weimers of Sweden tweeted on Wednesday, “The EU Parliament has today voted to call for the EU and its Member States to include the IRGC on the EU’s terrorist list. The amendment... was passed with an overwhelming majority. Tomorrow, I hope members will take the next step & call to suspend the JCPOA.” The JCPOA or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the official name of what is commonly referred to as the Iran nuclear deal.

Tense ties between Iran and the EU

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Tuesday she backed listing Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization to respond to the “trampling” of “fundamental human rights” in the country.

 Members of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) navy participate in an exercise in the south of Iran, in this picture obtained on January 17, 2023. (credit: IRGC/WANA/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS) Members of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) navy participate in an exercise in the south of Iran, in this picture obtained on January 17, 2023. (credit: IRGC/WANA/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

Ties between the EU member states and Tehran have deteriorated in recent months as efforts to revive nuclear talks have stalled. Tehran has detained several European nationals, and the bloc has become increasingly critical of the continuing violent crackdown on protesters, which has included executions.

“The reaction of the Iran regime is atrocious and horrible and they are trampling over fundamental human rights,” von der Leyen told reporters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.

Tovah Lazaroff and Reuters contributed to this report.