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January 26, 2023 12:23 pm

Israeli Leaders Demand EU Terror Designation for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps

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Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Commander Hossein Salami speaking in Tehran. Photo: Reuters/Nazanin Tabatabaee

Israel’s president has appealed to the EU to designate the Iranian regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization during meetings in Brussels with the bloc’s senior leaders.

President Isaac Herzog urged the measure at talks with the President of EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. “Iran is fighting Ukrainian citizens by supplying drones and lethal weapons, endangering the world by rushing toward nuclear capabilities, killing and torturing its own citizens,’’ he stated.

Herzog’s call was echoed separately by Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, who told the EU’s Ambassador to Israel, Dimiter Tzantchev, that “only a sweeping move” against Tehran would “send a clear message to the terrorist regime in Iran.”

The Israeli appeals follow Monday’s resolution passed by the European Parliament demanding the IRGC’s designation. After the resolution was passed, Josef Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, responded that it could not be implemented without the approval of the court of an EU member state through a ruling condemning the IRGC.

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EU diplomats are also understood to be concerned that designating the IRGC might wreck the slim hopes of reviving the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran, the US and five other world powers.

Fresh sanctions against Iran were jointly announced on Monday by the US, the EU and the United Kingdom. A statement from the US State Department noted the designations of Naser Rashedi, the Deputy Minister of Intelligence; Hossein Tanavar, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Commander in Qom; Mohammad Nazar Azimi, the IRGC Commander of the West Region Headquarters in Kermanshah; Kourosh Asiabani, the IRGC Deputy Commander of the West Region; and Mojtaba Fada (Fada), the IRGC Commander in Isfahan Province.

The split over the IRGC’s designation comes on the eve of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to the Middle East next week. Blinken is scheduled to meet Israeli leaders including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday and Tuesday.

A statement from Blinken’s office earlier this week confirmed that discussions would focus on “the enduring US support for Israel’s security, particularly against threats from Iran.”


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