Brussels [Belgium], January 24: German Foreign Minister AnnalenaBaerbock again urged the European Union on Monday to place Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on the bloc's terror list.
Continued "brutal actions" in Iran mean the EU has "to discuss the legal options" to list the IRGC as a terrorist organization, Baerbock said before a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.
Tehran has cracked down on demonstrations, including carrying out recent executions of protesters, triggered by the death of Iranian Kurdish woman MahsaAmini in police custody after her arrest for allegedly violating strict Islamic dress codes.
Calls are growing in the EU to place the IRGC on the bloc's terrorism list. Last week the European Parliament called for their inclusion in a vote.
However the move is legally challenging. The bloc first needs a ruling from a court in an EU member state that designates the IRGC as a terrorist organization, the EU's top diplomat JosepBorrell said.
There "has to be first a condemnation [by] a court in one member state," Borrell said. Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg's foreign minister, said this is necessary to be "absolutely watertight" legally.
Placing the IRGC on the bloc's terrorism list could be challenged in the EU's court systems.
The IRGC are Iran's elite armed forces. Established after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the unit is supposed to prevent a coup and protect state ideology.
It has come under increasing criticism for its involvement in harshly suppressing recent unrest in Iran on behalf of the government.
"Repression continues in Iran. The rights of Iranian men and women to demonstrate peacefully are not recognized, abuses continue," French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said.
Now, 37 Iranian individuals and organizations are to be targeted in the EU's fourth round of sanctions since protests started in September, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said. It is unclear if this includes more members of the IRGC.
The Tehran regime is "on a collision course with its own people" and is trying to "crush this civil society movement with all brutality," Schallengerg said.
The EU has adopted three previous rounds of Iran sanctions for human rights violations since protests began last year, with 146 individuals and 12 organizations targeted, including IRGC members.
The 27 EU foreign ministers are also discussing the ongoing war in Ukraine. A decision to send another ?500 million ($541 million) in military aid for Kiev is under consideration.
EU foreign ministers are expected to give formal approval to a new EU observer mission for Armenia and Azerbaijan.
EU foreign ministers will also discuss the security situation in the Sahel in North Africa, the bloc's approach to Venezuela after recent elections in Brazil and Colombia and the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.
Source: Qatar Tribune