Published on: 01/15/2023 – 19:26
The 27 member countries of the European Union plus Great Britain will soon have to decide whether or not to add the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to their list of terrorist organizations. A request that will be the focus of the meeting of the Iranian diaspora this Monday in Strasbourg. What would be the consequences of such a measure? Answers with Majid Golpour, expert on Iranian affairs with the EU.
RFI: Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic are in favor of registering the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Guards as a terrorist entity and it seems that despite the reticence of the Parisian initials, they have won the support of France. Are we witnessing today a turning point in Europe’s attitude towards the Islamic Republic? And if so, what are the motives?
Majid Golpur: The European Union’s strategic shift towards the Islamic Republic began more than two months ago. Exactly since November 9 we have had a pause in European interparliamentary relations with Iran. The European Parliament has all its relations with [Téhéran] because of extreme injury human rights in Iran.
Then there was a whole series of European sanctions issued by the Commission, directed in a very reasonable and well-argued way against important personalities, people and institutions of the regime, in particular against the Minister of the Interior, heads of the provincial authorities, the law enforcement authorities, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, public radio and television officials. To date, the list of Iranian individuals and entities subject to EU sanctions in this regard includes around 150 individuals and entities.
On December 12, an official European Commission document announced the adoption of new conclusions regarding the Islamic Republic, condemning “the unacceptable repression of demonstrations in Iran and the human rights situation,” thereby supporting the ongoing dispute. So we are already at a strategic turning point. I believe that the room for maneuver to obtain a change in behavior from the regime or to obtain a regime change is shrinking more and more.
The European Commission, which is responsible for preparing and coordinating the sanctions, is now under pressure from the European Parliament to sanction the Revolutionary Guards. However, the implementation of this action encounters legal and security complications, since it is difficult to equate the Revolutionary Guard Corps with terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda or the Islamic State. This is an official army of a country with highly developed networks…
And very strong…
Yes, also very strong. So this action is troublesome, but it is done. There are also reflections on the Iran Nuclear Program Agreement (JCPOA), which is still not being shelved by the European institutions.
If Europe manages to add the Revolutionary Guards to the list of terrorist organizations, what will be the consequences for the Tehran regime given the economic weight of this entity?
The consequences will be everywhere. Because this decision would lead to the termination of all economic relations of the Revolutionary Guards. The Islamic Republic, particularly since Russia invaded Ukraine, has developed vast exchange networks in nine countries in the region, and all of these parallel markets are coordinated by the Revolutionary Guards. Adding the latter to the list of terrorist organizations would oblige international banking and financial authorities to halt all transactions with them.
If such a decision were made, any contact would be considered illegal sex under international law. This could lead to the isolation of this organization and severely limit the scope of action of the Islamic Republic and its unhealthy influences in the region, for example in Iraq, Lebanon or Syria.
The United States, under Donald Trump, placed the Revolutionary Guards on the list of terrorist entities, and that measure still stands. A similar position on the part of Europe would not push the Ayatollah any further Khamenei to its alliance with China and Russia?
The sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran under Donald Trump were intended to isolate Europeans from their trade with Iran. Hence the idea of secondary sanctions that directly affected European companies, while today we are talking directly about regime change. If Europe manages to accept this proposal, a fairly powerful international front would be formed, composed of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, America and Europe, and in this case it is not certain whether Russia and China will stay with the Islamic Republic .