Iran mulls NPT withdrawal if EU blacklists IRGC, Abdollahian warns

Iran Parliament holds closed session to discuss EP resolution on IRGC

January 22, 2023 - 16:1

TEHRAN – Iran’s Parliament held a closed session on Sunday morning to discuss the recent resolution adopted by the European Parliament on the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).

The session was attended by Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian and IRGC chief commander General Hossein Salami.

Alireza Salimi, a member of the Parliament’s presiding board, offered some details about the session. “In this meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps made statements and it was emphasized that if Europe commits an unforgivable mistake, Iran will take similar countermeasures,” Salimi told Tasnim.

He added, “According to the constitution, the IRGC is an official institution of Iran, and if this institution is declared a terrorist organization by European countries, Iran will also declare all European military institutions as terrorists. And from now on, none of the European military institutions in the region will be safe, and even their military advisors will not feel safe in their embassies.”

He continued, “The Europeans have sent messages that they do not intend to take such action and requested Iran not to take similar countermeasures. Americans have also sent messages to Iran and requested negotiations.”

After the session, the Iranian foreign minister confirmed that Iran is mulling countermeasures against Europe.

“Today I attended the closed meeting of the Islamic Consultative Assembly. In the presence of General Salami, the representatives appreciated the efforts of this sovereign body to maintain national security. In a countermeasure, the parliament is trying to put elements of the army of European countries on the terrorist list. The European Parliament shot itself in the foot. The answer is reciprocal,” Amir Abdollahian said on Twitter.

Earlier, he conveyed this message to the foreign policy chief of the European Union, Josep Borrell. In his phone conversation with Borrell on Thursday, Amir Abdollahian strongly criticized the European Parliament’s emotional approach and described the behavior as uncalculated and wrong, according to the Iranian foreign ministry.

“Today, we unfortunately saw the European Parliament approve the draft of an emotional, harsh and unprofessional resolution which runs counter to political rationality and civility,” the Iranian foreign minister said.

“We have repeatedly said that the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) is an official and sovereign institution, which has played and continues to play a vital and important role in providing security to Iran and the region, especially in the fight against terrorism,” he added.

Amir Abdollahian said, “The move by the European Parliament in designating an institution that builds security as ‘terrorist’ is a shot in Europe’s own foot.”

The Iranian foreign minister spoke of a legal and firm response on the part of Iran’s Islamic Consultative Assembly (Parliament), warning the European Parliament to mull over the negative repercussions of its emotional behavior and focus instead on the path of diplomacy, constructive interaction, and rationality.

“In the world of diplomacy, it is necessary to respect mutual security and place promotion of mutual trust on agenda instead of resorting to a language of threats and unfriendly measures. In any case, there will be a reaction and response,” he said.

Abolfazl Amouei, the spokesman for the Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, offered further details about deliberations in the parliament regarding Iran’s response to the EU.

He said the Committee held two extraordinary meetings on the IRGC designation on Saturday and Sunday to brainstorm a response to the EU.

“In yesterday's session, the general plan of the response of the Islamic Consultative Assembly to the action of the European Parliament was reviewed and evaluated,” he told the Parliament’s news agency ICANA.

He said the Committee had prepared a statement that was to be read at a later time.

“We have also prepared a plan. And to reach this plan, we invited all people with opinions and ideas in the parliament. The outcome of these meetings was a 3-point plan, which will probably be announced in today's public meeting of the parliament,” Amouei said.

He added, “The subject of this plan is a countermeasure that the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is obliged to implement. If the European side includes the authorities or institutions of the country, including the institutions mentioned in the constitution, such as the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps or Basij Mustazafin, in the list of terrorist organizations of the European Union, there will be a reciprocal and corresponding reaction.”

Amouei continued, “In the resolution of the European Parliament, it has been seen that some people, officials and natural and legal entities are included in the list of sanctions and some have been included in the list of terrorist organizations. Therefore, in our planned plan, in the event of any action from the other side, we obliged the government to prepare a list to designate officials and individuals as terrorists or subject them to financial sanctions or prohibit their entry into Iran.”

The lawmaker said, “On the other hand, we are looking to establish a mechanism in the country for cases of human rights violations. Actions against international law, including killing and genocide, and cases in which Europeans had a history, should be registered and prosecuted in international authorities. These cases are also foreseen in this plan.”

Iran is also mulling a withdrawal from the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in case the EU designated the IRGC as a terrorist group, according to the Iranian foreign minister. Speaking after Sunday's closed session, Amir Abdollahian did not rule out Iran's withdrawal from the NPT. "Every possibility is probable," Amir Abdollahian said in remarks to ICANA. He was responding to a question on whether Iran will quit the NPT if the EU puts the IRGC on its terrorism list.

Conspiracy against IRGC doomed to fail: Raisi

 President Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi also attended a session of the parliament on Sunday. He went to the parliament to defend the budget bill of the Iranian calendar year 1402.

He referred to the recent action of the European Parliament against the IRGC at the beginning of his speech.

“This action is a reaction against the insight and vigilance of the Iranian nation in thwarting the enemy's recent conspiracy and sedition to bring chaos to Iran,” Raisi said, according to a readout released by the official website of the Iranian presidency.

Stating that no other military force in the world has fought terrorism like the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps, the President added, "Both the military forces and the high political officials of the countries of the region and even the world recognize the important and decisive role of the IRGC, the Quds Force and General Qassem Soleimani in the fight against terrorism in the region".

President Raisi expressed gratitude to all IRGC forces for decisively confronting the terrorists and stated, "The new brutal conspiracy of the enemies of the Islamic Revolution against our powerful Islamic Revolution Guard Corps, which is a reaction to the revolutionary movement of our forces in the fight against terrorism, as well as a reaction to the vigilance and insight of the people of Islamic Iran is, as always, doomed to failure".

Also, Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf paid a visit to the chief headquarters of the IRGC in the early hours of Saturday and met with its chief commander General Hossein Salami.

In the meeting, Qalibaf reacted to the European Parliament’s recent resolution on Iran which called for listing the IRGC as a terrorist group. The resolution was adopted with an overwhelming majority and called on the European Council to list the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps as a terrorist group.

“They [MEPs] also call on the Council and the member states to add the IRGC and its subsidiary forces, including the paramilitary Basij militia and the Quds Force, to the EU terrorist list. Any country in which the IRGC deploys military, economic, or informational operations should sever and outlaw ties with this agency,” the European Parliament said in a press release after the adoption of the Resolution.

The move, though unbinding, elicited huge criticism from Iran. Officials, lawmakers, senior clerics, military officials, and media personalities all fiercely reacted to the possibility of the EU designating the IRGC. All of them have said that Iran will strongly react to the move. Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf said Friday that Iran will “certainly” deal with the Europeans “in a different way.”

In the meeting with General Salami, Qalibaf said the parliament is ready to decisively respond to the EU in case the IRGC was blacklisted.

“The European Parliament should know that the proposal it presented cannot change the facts. ISIS was supported and equipped by the arrogant Western Front, and the one who fought terrorism and ended the presence of ISIS in the region is the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. This is a truth that Europe cannot turn upside down, because all international organizations and honest people acknowledge it,” the speaker said, according to Iran’s official news agency IRNA.

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