Iran warns EU against listing Revolutionary Guard as terrorist group

IRGC accused of cracking down on protesters and supplying drones to Russia

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian. EPA
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Iran on Thursday said the EU would "shoot itself in the foot" by listing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organisation as the European Parliament voted unanimously to recommend sanctions on senior officials.

"We have repeatedly said the Revolutionary Guard are a formal and sovereign organisation whose role is central for guaranteeing Iran's security," state media reported, quoting Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian speaking to EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell.

"Steps taken by the European Parliament to list the organisation as terrorist are in a way a shot in the foot of Europe itself."

Mr Amirabdollahian’s remarks came a day after MEPs voted in an amendment to an annual foreign policy report to urge the EU to blacklist the IRGC, the ideological arm of Iran's armed forces.

The EU blames the IRGC for the repression of protesters in Iran and the supply of drones to Russian troops in Ukraine.

The vote is non-binding but it comes as EU foreign ministers are due to discuss tightening sanctions on Tehran at a meeting in Brussels next week.

Widespread anti-government demonstrations erupted in Iran in September after the death of Kurdish-Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, who was detained over allegedly flouting the strict dress code for women.

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps members at a military drill in East Azerbaijan province, Iran, in October. Reuters

The European Parliament condemned the crackdown on protesters by Iran's security forces, which include the IRGC.

Kyiv and its western allies accuse Iran of delivering combat drones to Russia for use in the war on Ukraine it launched last February, an allegation Tehran denies.

"It is necessary to respect mutual security in the world of diplomacy and increase mutual trust, instead of following the language of threats and unfriendly actions. In any case of a terrorist listing, Iran will take reciprocal measures," Mr Amirabdollahian said.

Iran and world powers, including EU members France and Germany, have been negotiating since 2021 to revive a 2015 nuclear deal, with discussions deadlocked since September.

Updated: January 19, 2023, 12:52 PM