EU could classify Iran's Revolutionary Guard as terrorists, says Germany

Violent clashes break out Iran universities as protests persist

Security forces believed to be firing at buildings at a university in Sanandaj, the main city in Iran's Kurdistan province, on Monday. AFP
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The EU is considering whether to classify Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organisation.

The move comes after the IRGC warned Iranians that Saturday would be their last day of taking to the streets to protest against the death of Mahsa Amini, in a sign that Iran may intensify its already fierce clampdown on widespread unrest.

Amini, 22, died in the custody of the country's “morality police” on September 13 while visiting Tehran with her younger brother.

“I made it clear last week that we will launch another package of sanctions, that we will examine how we can also list the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organisation,” Germany's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told broadcaster ARD on Sunday.

Berlin last week said it was tightening entry restrictions on Iran beyond an already announced EU sanctions package.

Germany condemned “in the strongest terms” the violent crackdown on demonstrators and the state repression of journalists, a government spokesperson said on Monday.

About 1,000 people have been indicted in Tehran over rioting and the trials will be held in public this week, the semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted the head of the judiciary in the Iranian capital as saying on Monday.

The IRGC's warning on Saturday was ignored as Iranian students clashed with security forces at a university in Tehran on Sunday.

Clashes broke out at the Islamic Azad University, where groups attacked protesters at a memorial ceremony for victims of a shooting at a major Shiite holy site in southern Iran, the country's semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

Several students were wounded, Tasnim said, without elaborating.

A UGC video posted on October 28 reportedly showing security forces firing at protesters at Islamic Azad University of Mashhad.  AFP

Videos on social media purportedly showed security forces firing tear gas and live ammunition at students who were denouncing Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

University campuses have emerged as opposition bastions, playing a central role in the protest movement.

A video posted by the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights showed a member of the Basij, an IRGC paramilitary unit made up of volunteers, firing a pistol at close range at protesting students.

The human rights group said it strongly condemned “the encroachment of university campuses by armed plainclothes forces and violent crackdown on peaceful student protests”.

Hardline pro-government students at several universities across the country had gathered to commemorate a deadly ISIS claimed attack on a mosque in Shiraz that killed 13 people on Wednesday, including women and children.

The ceremonies also drew masses of antigovernment protesters, including at the Islamic Azad University, who chanted “freedom, freedom, freedom”.

The Iranian government has repeatedly claimed that foreign powers orchestrated the protests, without providing evidence.

The unrest has become one of the most serious threats to Iran’s ruling clerics since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The protests first focused on the state-mandated hijab, or headscarf, for women but quickly grew into calls for the downfall of Iran’s theocracy itself.

At least 270 people have been killed and 14,000 have been arrested in the protests that have swept over 125 Iranian cities, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, an NGO in the country.

Since October 24, the country’s authorities started hearing the cases of at least 900 protesters charged with “corruption on Earth” — a term often used to describe attempts to overthrow the Iranian government.

Those convicted face the death penalty.

Updated: October 31, 2022, 11:24 AM
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