US Lawmakers Urge EU to Declare IRGC a Terrorist Organization

US Congress (AFP)
US Congress (AFP)
TT

US Lawmakers Urge EU to Declare IRGC a Terrorist Organization

US Congress (AFP)
US Congress (AFP)

A bipartisan group of 130 lawmakers urged the European Union foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization.

In their letter to Borrell, the lawmakers urged the European official to resolve the issue urgently, noting that the IRGC had "freely and openly carried out plots targeting citizens in countries across the EU.

The representatives, led by Kathy Manning, Bill Keating, and Thomas Kean, added that Iran is a leading state sponsor of terror, and the IRGC has supported and participated in human rights abuses and terrorist activities.

The letter is based on a study by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, which showed that Iran "instigated more than 33 plots to surveil, abduct, or assassinate citizens in Europe."

The lawmakers responded to Borrell's statement that the inclusion of the Revolutionary Guards on terrorist lists must take place through the courts, despite the European Parliament's vote in favor of it.

"We understand the legal complexities involved in designating the IRCS as a terrorist organization pursuant to EU law," the letter read, adding that they "fully appreciated the need for this decision to be adjudicated by either a judicial or equivalent competent authority. But given the growing threat that Iran poses to EU countries and their citizens, we urge you to treat this issue with the utmost urgency."

Last January, the European Parliament voted in favor of an amendment to a law that would approve including the IRGC in the terror list.

Borrell said it was "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"."

It is not the first time that Congress has criticized the European Union's "reluctance" to include the Guards on terrorist lists, as Republican senators previously considered that this hesitation would threaten efforts to confront Iran and Russia.

In a previous letter to Borrell last month, they said: "We write to express our disappointment in the European Union's (EU) hesitation to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of Iran as an addition to the EU Terror List."

"Amidst the IRGC's ongoing support of Russian war crimes in Ukraine, EU reluctance both weakens our collective resolve against Russia and ignores the Iranian government's goal of sowing terror in the West."

The Senators, led by the senior Republican in the Foreign Relations Committee, Jim Risch, referred to the European Parliament resolution identifying Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.

The growing alignment of Russian and Iranian activities, including using Iranian drones in Ukraine, complicates the IRGC in Russia's terror. An IRGC terror designation will sharpen and align the US and EU responses to Russian aggression.

In 2019, the US put the Revolutionary Guards on the terrorist list, a year after former US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the nuclear agreement with Tehran and to adopt a policy of maximum pressure by imposing sanctions.

Iran stipulated the removal of the IRGC from the terrorist list after the nuclear negotiations faltered in March last year, but it retracted this condition after the Biden administration pledged to meet Tehran's demand to reduce regional tension.

The EU adopted a policy of imposing sanctions on Iran in January because of its support for Russia in its war against Ukraine, but without including the IRGC on its list of terrorist organizations.

IRGC commanders warned the EU against placing the organization on its terrorist list.



Iran Top Court Overturns Rapper Toomaj Salehi’s Death Sentence, Lawyer Says

People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who is arrested in Iran, and portraits of children (L), who were killed during the protests in Iran, during a rally in support of Iranian women in Istanbul, on November 26, 2022. (AFP)
People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who is arrested in Iran, and portraits of children (L), who were killed during the protests in Iran, during a rally in support of Iranian women in Istanbul, on November 26, 2022. (AFP)
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Iran Top Court Overturns Rapper Toomaj Salehi’s Death Sentence, Lawyer Says

People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who is arrested in Iran, and portraits of children (L), who were killed during the protests in Iran, during a rally in support of Iranian women in Istanbul, on November 26, 2022. (AFP)
People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who is arrested in Iran, and portraits of children (L), who were killed during the protests in Iran, during a rally in support of Iranian women in Istanbul, on November 26, 2022. (AFP)

Iran's supreme court has overturned Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi's death sentence on charges linked to the country's 2022-23 period of unrest, his lawyer wrote in a post on the X social media platform on Saturday.

"The death sentence of #Toomaj_Salehi was overturned and based on the appeal decision ...of the Supreme Court, the case will be referred to (another) branch for consideration," attorney Amir Raisian wrote on X.

There was no immediate official confirmation of the ruling.

Salehi's songs supported protests sparked by the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish Iranian woman arrested for allegedly wearing an "improper" hijab.