Iran’s serious warning to EU about mischief against IRGC
By Soheila Zarfam
IRAN– The European Parliament’s recent resolution on Iran has sent Iranian authorities scrambling to prepare a proportional response whose consequences could rattle the EU.
Members of the European Union unexpectedly adopted a resolution on Iran that, if acted on, would blow up years of diplomacy with Iran and set Iran and the West on a path of confrontation.
The resolution in question was adopted with an overwhelming majority and included many lines that seemed to be borrowed from a Trump official’s speech verbatim. It called on the European Council to list the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist group, a move that stands in stark contrast to the European Union’s general policy line on Iran in recent years.
“They [MEPs] also call on the Council and the member states to add the IRGC and its subsidiary forces, including the paramilitary Basij militia and the Quds Force, to the EU terrorist list. Any country in which the IRGC deploys military, economic, or informational operations should sever and outlaw ties with this agency,” the European Parliament said in a press release after the adoption of the Resolution.
The move, though unbinding, elicited huge criticism from Iran. Officials, lawmakers, senior clerics, military officials, media personalities all fiercely reacted to the possibility of the EU designating the IRGC. All of them have said that Iran will strongly react to the move. Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf said Friday that Iran will “certainly” deal with the Europeans “in a different way.”
“If the IRGC is designated as a terrorist organization, we will certainly reciprocate and will deal with the Europeans in the region in a different way,” he said, according to Tasnim.
Almost all Iranian officials vowed a strong response to the European move. Hajj Ali Akbari, Tehran’s Friday prayer leader, said the Majlis and government will give a “decisive response” to the EU, according to ISNA.
There are indications that Iran is in the process of brainstorming to give a response to the EU, particularly if it presses ahead with the IRGC listing. Alireza Salimi, a member of the parliament’s presiding board, said Friday that the parliament will have a closed-door session early on Sunday morning with the IRGC chief commander General Hossein Salami, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian in attendance.
“This meeting will be in order to brainstorm a decisive response to the unwise action of the European Parliament in declaring the IRGC as a terrorist,” the senior lawmaker said.
Over the course of the protracted talks between Iran and the West, the European Union, as a coordinator for the talks, used to be relatively soft and moderate. When Trump took the controversial step of designating the IRGC in 2019, the European Union was keen to air its unease out of a perception that the move was to derail future talks with Iran over reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Fast forward to 2023, the European Union is moving in a direction that could be the starting point of the much-rumored Plan B. Some in Tehran believe that the European resolution could be intended to extract more concessions from Iran in the nuclear talks by adding to the complexity of the already complicated talks. “It seems that the Europeans are not serious about continuing and concluding the talks. They are making excuses, adding another issue, and complicating the nuclear talks. Or they are seeking more concessions from the Islamic Republic of Iran. Because after the death of Ms. Mahsa Amini the Americans told their Europeans that new developments would take place in Iran and the Islamic Republic would be forced to make concessions,” Abbas Golrou, a member of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, told the parliament’s news agency ICANA.
He underlined that it is impossible for Iran to make more concessions than it has made so far. “The parliament emphasizes that Iran’s nuclear capability should be increased and strengthened in response to Europeans’ non-compliance,” he said. (TEHRAN TIMES)