In Brussels, in particular, people are still hoping to revive the Tehran nuclear deal. That’s why they don’t want tough action against the Islamic regime’s elite.
Foreign ministers of EU countries will agree on Monday to sanction three dozen members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard with entry bans and confiscation of any assets in the EU. But the ministers will not classify this elite force of the Islamic dictatorship in Tehran as a terrorist organization, several European diplomats have said. By doing so, they are thwarting a European Parliament resolution this week and Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission.
This is due to an obsession that is being vigorously defended, particularly in the EU external service under Josep Borrell, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (and one of von der Leyen’s vice-presidents ): namely, that the international deal on Iran’s nuclear program could still be saved – and that no one wants to provoke the regime in Tehran by branding its elite organization as a terrorist organization.
dictatorship protection force
“The high representative thinks it would be a bad idea to cut off all communication channels,” an EU diplomat said on Friday. “Just ask the Iranians themselves. And they say it would have a devastating effect on resuming the nuclear deal.”
The Revolutionary Guard was established shortly after the Islamic Revolution in 1979 to protect the Shia regime, particularly against any coup attempts by the regular Iranian armed forces. This second army numbers about 210,000 men, has ground troops, an air force, naval units and a foreign intelligence service. Above all, however, the Revolutionary Guards control Iran’s missile program – and therefore the key to militarizing the ostensibly purely civilian nuclear fission program. They also make up the country’s political elite: much of President Ebrahim Raisi’s cabinet is made up of former guards. They also control oil, gas, construction and telecommunications companies. EU sanctions would hit them hard here.