EU realized that putting IRGC on terrorist list is ‘play with fire’: Iran FM

January 29, 2023 - 22:17

TEHRAN – Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said on Sunday that the Council of European Ministers realized that placing the IRGC on the list of terrorist organization is a “play with fire”.

Abdollahian made the remarks in a meeting with four parliamentarians, Esmail Kowsari, who have been sanctioned by the European Union.

The sanctions showed that the EU doesn’t have a “true understanding” of the situation inside Iran and even of the Iranians outside the country, the foreign minister pointed out.

The sanctions “show that your words and moves in defending the interests of the country have been effective” and the EU took such a decision in reaction to such important positions, Abdollahian remarked.

On January 19, the European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization and asked the EU and its member states to put the IRGC on the terrorist list.

Abdollahian said after the move by the European Parliament he talked to concerned EU officials and unequivocally told them that if the EU does something against the IRGC as a sovereign body and part of Iran’s official military, Tehran’s response will be harsh.

He added, “They (Europeans) are aware of their situation and know their vulnerability in this regard.”

After the resolution by the European Parliament, Abdollahian talked to EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU.

Foreign Minister said much discussions took place among EU officials on whether take a decision on the IRGC or not and finally they realized that they cannot “play with fire” and then they put forward a second plan and put some individuals, including four lawmakers, on their sanctions list.

The foreign minister told the four MPs that “since the beginning of the victory of the Islamic Revolution some of you have not had even a working trip to Europe and also don’t have any capital there, therefore these sanctions are ‘just a kind of show’.”

The minister added these four legislators have been sanctioned because of their influence on the society, region and the resistance front.

“The European sides have ‘naively’ taken such measures and its consequences will be heavy for them.”

The minister expressed hope that the four MPs will appear more active in defending the country’s national security and interests.

“Your inclusion on the list of sanctions will make more influential and now you are a loud tribune for the dear Iranian people, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Revolution.”

On January 23, Borrell said designating the IRGC as terrorist could only happen if a court in an EU country determined that the IRGC was guilty of terrorism.

"You cannot say 'I consider you a terrorist because I don't like you'," he told reporters ahead of the talks between EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

Swedish Foreign Minister Billstrom also said on January 25 that “the Guard Corps cannot be put on the list of terrorist organization just for violating human rights in Iran, rather they should have ties with terrorism.”

Otherwise, he warned, there is a “danger that a person who is sanctioned would file a complaint at the European Court of Justice and be ‘delisted’ and such a thing has happened in the past, therefore ‘I don’t think such a move will be rational’,” DW reported.

In his January 19 meeting with Borrell, Abdollahian said the move by European Parliament is “shot in the foot”.

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