German MP says EU has legal evidence to declare IRGC a terrorist entity

The EU declined to sanction the 125,000-strong IRGC without a court decision from an EU nation that declares it is engaged in terrorist activities.

 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. (photo 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.
(photo credit: IRGC/WANA/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

Norbert Röttgen, a Christian Democratic Union lawmaker in the German parliament, told The Jerusalem Post that the legal requirement for Germany and the EU to proscribe Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization has been met.

Röttgen, who was chairman of the Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee from 2014 to 2021, flatly rejected the arguments of the European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock who claim there is not a court case to justify the classification of the IRGC as a terrorist entity.

“All the legal requirements are fulfilled,” Röttgen said, adding that “currently the German attorney general is prosecuting terrorist attacks linked to the IRGC on several synagogues in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and in the US there is a federal court decision against the IRGC for acts of terrorism.”

The German parliamentarian said that “the German Foreign Ministry is pretending that there are legal obstacles to proscribing the IRGC. The foreign minister says that investigations or convictions in the EU are needed to list the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist group, but the European Court of Justice has clarified that investigations or convictions can also be from outside the EU for a group to be put on the terror list.”

The EU on Monday declined to sanction the 125,000-strong IRGC without a court decision from an EU nation that declares it is engaged in terrorist activities. The EU’s chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, said on Monday that "It is something that cannot be decided without a court decision first. You cannot say I consider you a terrorist because I don't like you.”

 EUROPEAN UNION flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels. (credit: YVES HERMAN/REUTERS) EUROPEAN UNION flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels. (credit: YVES HERMAN/REUTERS)

The EU’s refusal to take action against the IRGC sparked disappointment and outrage among Iranian dissidents and Iran experts. The Trump administration designated the IRGC a terrorist organization in 2019.

Jason Brodsky, the policy director for the US-based United Against Nuclear Iran, told the Post “I agree with Norbert. EU officials are using the legal requirement, which has been met, to punt an uncomfortable policy decision. The European Union has added individuals to its terrorism list before based on US indictments. See for example Gholam Shakuri who was charged in the 2011 bomb plot against Saudi Arabia's ambassador at Cafe Milano. There is a multitude of other examples. The legal requirement in the European Union is met even if there is not a court verdict.”

Brodsky added that “ It can be satisfied if there is an investigation or prosecution by a competent authority. That widens the universe to many instances of IRGC terrorism in Europe and abroad. If that's not enough, the former commander-in-chief of the IRGC and now current vice president for economic affairs Mohsen Rezaei is the subject of an INTERPOL Red Notice for the AMIA bombing. Thus there is no legal excuse. If the European Union considers itself an ally of the United States, it will sanction the IRGC as a terrorist organization as Washington has done.”

The Post reported in 2017 that the IRGC contracted the Pakistani man, Syed Mustafa H., to collect information on pro-Israel advocates in Germany, France and elsewhere in Western Europe. German prosecutors said the espionage was part of an assassination plot.

The US-designated terrorist organization, the Quds Force, an elite branch of the IRGC responsible for the extraterritorial operation, paid Mustafa at least €2,052 in July 2015-July 2016. The IRGC frequently outsources its terrorist operations.

The European Parliament passed a non-binding resolution last week, urging that IRGC be included on the EU’s terror list.

Kazem Moussavi, a prominent  German-Iranian dissident who is the spokesman for the Green Party of Iran in Germany, on Twitter termed Borrell an “EU appeasement politician “ for his refusal to designate the IRGC a terrorist entity. Moussavi reported that Iran’s regime executed six new people on Sunday and the regime displayed a banner in front of the British embassy, declaring “I am proud of the Revolutionary Guards.”

The IRGC has been involved in heavy protest crackdowns

The IRGC and the militia it oversees, the Basij, have played a key role in the current bloody crackdown of protestors in response to the regime’s morality police allegedly killing the 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in mid-September, resulting in the deaths of 522 people, according to a January 15 report by the US-based Human Rights Activist News Agency(HRANA). The security apparatus of the Islamic Republic has arrested roughly 20,000 people, and 110 demonstrators face the death penalty.

Moussavi is campaigning for the closure of the Iranian regime-controlled Islamic Center in Hamburg and the end of the twin city partnership between Iran’s clerical regime in  Isfahan and Freiburg. The local paper Badische Zeitung reported about the sharp criticism of the Freiburg-Isfahan partnership, including social media posts asserting Freiburg’s Mayor Martin Horn is cooperating with “representatives of a murderous regime” in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Moussavi and other Iranian dissidents have urged Horn to pull the plug on the partnership.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told the Post about the EU's refusal to proscribe the IRGC a terrorist entity: "Apologists from the murderous Iranian regime are rapidly running out of excuses and deflections against calls to treat the IRGC thugs and killers for what they really are- terrorists. "

The Wiesenthal Center has accused the German civil servant Michael Blume, who is responsible for fighting hatred of Israel in the state of Baden-Württemberg, where Freiburg is located, of failing to condemn the city partnership and advocate for its end.

The regime in Isfahan urges the destruction of Israel each year at its annual al-Quds rally. Wiesenthal listed Blume’s alleged anti-Israel and anti-Jewish activities in 2021 as the seventh worst outbreak of antisemitism. In January, a court in Hamburg ruled that Blume can be termed antisemitic due to his past incitement against Jews and a founder of the IDF, Orde Wingate.