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Source: Iranintl

Apr 25, 2024

European Parliament Urges EU For More Tehran Sanctions, Listing IRGC

By Iran International Newsroom

In a resolution adopted Thursday in response to Iran’s recent aerial attack on Israel, the European Parliament urged the EU to hand more sanctions to Tehran and designate the IRGC a terrorist organization.

“The resolution also reiterates Parliament’s long-standing call to include Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on the EU list of terrorist organisations, stressing that such a decision is long overdue due to malign Iranian activities. It similarly calls on the Council and EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell to add Hezbollah in its entirety to the same list.,” wrote the European Parliament statement.

Hezbollah in Lebanon is Iran's largest and wealthiest proxy and is currently waging war on Israel's northern front. Since October 7 when Iran-backed Hamas in Gaza invaded Israel, over 3,200 projectiles have been fired into Israeli territory from Lebanon and this week, the Israeli military announced over half the terror group's commanders in south Lebanon have been eliminated.

The latest resolution passed by 357 votes in favor, 20 against and 58 abstentions and comes just days after sanctions were levied against Tehran by the EU for Iran's aerial bombardment of Israel.

The adoption of the latest resolution came a day after heated arguments in the parliament where Borrell was severely taken to task by the representatives for his failure to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization. Arguing that the bloc has already listed Tehran’s paramilitary force under the “Iran Weapons of Mass Destruction” sanctions’ regime, Borrell said that “listing this organization as a ‘terrorist organization’ would have no practical effect.”

In response to Borrell’s argument that the legal grounds for the listing have not been met, Charlie Weimers, a Swedish representative, called the EU chief “a liar.”

“That is nonsense. Here, I have the council's secret legal opinion. Nowhere in this document does it say that it has to be an authority in the EU… You know that. You knew the truth. You shamelessly lied to protect the IRGC. We won't miss you, Mr. Borrell, but I'm sure the mullahs will,” Weimers stated.

During the session, the European Parliament strongly condemned Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israeli territory, vowing full support for the security of Israel and its citizens against the threats of the Iranian government and its proxies.

On April 13, Iran launched its first ever direct offensive against Israeli territory with more than 350 drones and cruise and ballistic missiles, 99% of which were intercepted by Israel and a US-led coalition, according to the Israeli army.

For months after the start of the Gaza war on October 7, the Iranian government avoided direct involvement in the conflict. Until this month, it had used its proxies to target Israeli and American targets in the region, punishing America for supporting Israel's right to defend itself after the most deadly day for Jews since the Holocaust. Over 1,200 mostly civilians were killed and over 250 taken hostage. 

The European Parliament welcomed the EU’s recent decision to impose further sanctions against Tehran, especially those targeting Iran’s production and supply of drones to Russia and the wider Middle East. The resolution demanded that the EU’s new regime of sanctions be urgently enforced.

Since mid-2022, Iran has supplied a substantial number of kamikaze Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to Russia, which have been extensively deployed to target civilian infrastructure and cities. The drones have also been incorporated into large-scale missile attacks, overwhelming Ukrainian air defenses.

Slamming the Iranian regime’s notorious “hostage diplomacy,” the parliament demanded that the EU “launch a strategy to counter it with a dedicated task force to better assist detainees’ families and effectively prevent further hostage-taking,” according to its website.

Critics accuse the Islamic Republic of Iran of leveraging the detention and trial of Western or dual-national citizens as a means to advance its political agendas and to provoke tensions with Western governments.

Tehran denies any policy of hostage taking and insists all foreigners are tried legally. However, it has frequently shown readiness for prisoner exchanges and receiving monetary payments and participated in swaps in the past. Last year, the United States unfroze $6 billion of Iran's blocked funds in exchange for the release of five hostages.

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