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Iran: Listing Revolutionary Guards as terror outfit is 'attack on national security'

January 23, 2023 at 2:58 pm

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Nasser Kanaani [@IRIMFA_EN/Twitter]

Iran warned, Monday, that the European Parliament’s push to classify the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation is an attack on the country’s national security, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Speaking at a weekly press conference in Tehran, Foreign Ministry spokesman, Nasser Kanaani, said any hostile act against the elite force would be met with a “decisive response”.

In a non-binding vote last week, the European Parliament condemned the IRGC for its crackdown on protesters during months of demonstrations and for supplying drones to Russia for use in Ukraine.

Members of European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of a resolution calling on the EU and its member states to place the IRGC on the EU terror list, prompting strong reactions from Tehran.

However, it is reportedly unlikely that the resolution will be included in the next round of sanctions against Iranian individuals and entities, which the EU is expected to adopt on Monday.

Kanaani called the European Parliament resolution “irresponsible and illogical” and said European countries had been warned through diplomatic channels.

He said the move violates the UN Charter and is an “attack on the security of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” warning of the negative consequences.

Iran has “the necessary will to respond” and European countries should not “impose more than this cost on bilateral relations”, the spokesman said.

His remarks came a day after the Iranian Parliament warned of a “firm and prompt” response, should the European Parliament add the IRGC to its list of terrorist groups.

The closed session of the assembly, chaired by Parliament Speaker, Baqer Qalibaf was also attended by Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and IRGC Chief, Gen. Hossein Salami.

Qalibaf said that European Forces stationed in the region would be classified as “terrorist groups” if the IRGC were blacklisted, and called on Western countries “not to close the window of diplomacy”.

READ: Iran vows to include European armies on terror list 

According to Iran, classifying the elite Force as a terrorist organisation would be a “completely illegal” step, as it is the official military branch of the Iranian government.

Amir-Abdollahian told reporters after the parliamentary session that “all counter-measures are conceivable,” including Iran’s withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the expulsion of Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspectors from the country.

While the IRGC is classified by the US as a “foreign terrorist organisation”, European countries have been reluctant to take action against it because of legal problems.

The issue has returned to the spotlight in recent months in the wake of protests in Iran sparked by the death of a young woman in police custody, as well as reports of Iranian drone deliveries to close ally, Russia.

European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, also announced last week her support for blacklisting the IRGC after senior officials from France, the United Kingdom and Germany said they would consider the move.

In a telephone conversation with EU Foreign Affairs envoy, Josep Borrell, on Thursday, Amir-Abdollahian called the push to blacklist the IRGC “inappropriate”, adding that the European Parliament had “shot itself in the foot” by doing so.

Borrell said, on Monday, the European Union could not list the IRGC as a terrorist organisation until an EU court ruled that it was one.

“This is something that cannot be decided without a court, without a court decision. You cannot say I consider you a terrorist just because I do not like you,” Borrell told reporters before a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels.

READ: Germany says it echoes US in shifting Iran focus from nuclear to rights issues