US senators urge EU to designate Iran’s IRGC as terror group

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A group of Republican senators have written to the European Union calling for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to be designated as a terrorist group.

In the letter, dated March 22 and addressed to the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, the senators, led by Senator James Risch, expressed disappointment in the EU’s “hesitation” to include the IRGC on the EU terror list.


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The senators cited Iran’s support for Russia in its war on Ukraine, saying: “EU reluctance both weakens our collective resolve against Russia and ignores the Iranian government’s goal of sowing terror in the West.”

Ukraine and its Western allies have accused Iran of supplying Russia with armed drones for use in its war against Ukraine. Tehran, which maintains close ties with Russia, denies the charge.

The senators also said that the growing military cooperation between Russia and Iran, including the use of Iranian drones in Ukraine, makes the IRGC complicit in “Russia’s terror.”

The senators argued that the EU’s failure to blacklist the IRGC as a terror group allows it to continue to earn income from EU markets, and rejected arguments that there is not enough evidence to support a terror designation.

The 27-nation bloc has yet to blacklist the IRGC despite calls from some member states and the European Parliament.

Some EU officials reportedly fear that blacklisting the IRGC as a terror group could harm chances to revive Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Borrell has said that there needs to be a legal ruling in an EU member state before the bloc can make the move.

The US had already designated the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization under former President Donald Trump in 2019.

The senators said that a combined US and EU terror designation will weaken the IRGC's ability to “promote terrorism and will make the world safer for Americans and Europeans alike.”

Established in the wake of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution to protect the Shia clerical ruling system, the IRGC has an estimated 125,000-strong military with army, navy and air units and commands the Basij militia often used in domestic crackdowns.

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