Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

Iran…The Day Sanctions Fall Short

A series of US, British, and European sanctions against Iran were imposed last Monday. These sanctions targeted individuals and entities, including the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the “Basij” militia, and its deputy commander.

Despite all of that, we saw EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell make a remarkable statement. He said that the EU could not include the IRGC on the list of terrorist entities until a court in the EU makes a verdict to that effect.

“It is something that cannot be decided without a court. A court decision [is needed] first. You cannot say: ‘I consider you a terrorist because I do not like you,’” Borrel said. He then added the court of an EU member should issue a concrete condemnation.

Here, several questions must be raised. It is not my area of expertise, but for the sake of argument, I ask: were all of these recent sanctions on Iranian entities and individuals imposed by the US, Britain, and France implemented through a court ruling?

Do all the crimes of the IRGC within Iran and in the Middle East region, besides those that it commits in the United States, Europe, and other countries of the world, require a court decision? If so, why hasn’t one of these countries taken action before?

Moreover, why didn’t they take the initiative now or months ago, when the IRGC’s crimes went as far as Ukraine? where the Russians used its drones! This question is especially pertinent given that the European Union has backed Ukraine in this war.

Or does Mr. Borrell not consider Ukraine a European country in the sense that it does not belong to the Union? This raises a different issue, and the question then becomes: what legal justification did the European Union have in imposing all these sanctions on Russia after the war in Ukraine?

We are not arguing for the sake of argument here. Rather, the aim is to pose questions that demonstrate that the European Union has not moved decisively, until now, against the terrorist crimes, whether in Iran itself or anywhere else, of the mullah regime, neither today nor yesterday, and evidence is abundant.

Here, it suffices to refer to what the IRGC is doing in Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, and Syria, as well as in Ukraine, on top of what they are doing in Iran itself, where they are repressing the people of Iran who demand dignity and an end to sham executions of Iranians. The crimes of the mullahs and the IRGC - be it those it commits against Iranian states, or international law - do not require evidence.

If the decision to include the IRGC on the list of terrorist organizations requires a court ruling, as Mr. Borrell says, the question becomes: whose responsibility is to go to court? Is it the responsibility of individuals or institutions?

The truth, which we in this region are all too aware of, is that the mullah regime only understands the language of force. It does not understand words, only actions. Nothing the West has done thus far threatens the Iranian regime. Indeed, the West’s actions give Iran hope that the door to negotiation is still open.

And so, all the sanctions imposed on the mullahs of Tehran so far have fallen short and are ineffective.