Despite overwhelming evidence of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) involvement in terrorist activities, European governments have been reluctant to designate the IRGC as a terrorist group. This is a cause for concern, as the IRGC commits acts of terrorism in Iran and other countries, posing a threat to global security. A terrorist organization is defined as a group that uses terror and violence against civilians to advance its political and ideological goals.
It is alarming that some high-ranking EU officials have opposed including the IRGC on the terrorist list. However, several compelling reasons and facts support the designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization. These acts include:
- Violence against protesters: The IRGC has been involved in violent crackdowns on peaceful protests in Iran, using tactics such as tear gas, water cannons, batons, and even live ammunition to disperse protesters. In November 2019 and 2022, the IRGC played a significant role in suppressing nationwide protests that erupted over a fuel price hike, killing thousands of protesters.
- Torture and abuse: The IRGC subjects prisoners to torture and abuse, including beatings, electric shocks, and mock executions. In some cases, prisoners have died because of their mistreatment. In its recent report, Amnesty International detailed the torture and sexual abuse of men, women, and children detained by the IRGC during the latest protests.
- Extrajudicial executions: The IRGC has been involved in numerous extrajudicial executions of dissidents, activists, and members of minority groups. These executions are often carried out without trial or due process, and in some cases, the bodies of the victims are not returned to their families for burial.
- Forced disappearances: The IRGC carries out forced disappearances of political opponents and dissidents, including journalists and human rights activists. These individuals are often held in secret detention centers and denied access to legal representation or contact with their families.
Overall, the IRGC’s brutality against Iran’s people has been a significant cause for concern among human rights organizations and the international community. However, the IRGC’s involvement in numerous criminal and terrorist endeavors extends beyond this. Here are a few instances:
- Providing support to terrorist organizations: The IRGC provides financial and military support to various terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, and the Houthis in Yemen.
- Assassinations and kidnappings: The IRGC is responsible for numerous assassinations and kidnappings of dissidents, journalists, and human rights activists. For example, in 2019, the IRGC abducted Ruhollah Zam, an Iranian dissident living in exile in France, and brought him to Iran, where he was later executed.
- Bombing plots on foreign soil: In the past few years, the IRGC planned bombing attacks against members and supporters of the Iranian opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization (PMOI/MEK) in France and Albania.
- Attacks on foreign embassies: The IRGC was involved in the 2011 storming of the British embassy in Tehran, which led to the expulsion of Iranian diplomats from the UK.
- Supporting attacks on US and coalition forces: The IRGC has been implicated in attacks on US and coalition forces in Iraq, providing weapons and training to Iraqi Shiite militias. In 2020, the US launched an airstrike that killed Qassem Soleimani, the IRGC’s Quds Force commander, who was responsible for these activities.
- Cyberattacks: The IRGC has been involved in various cyberattacks, including attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure, Albania’s IT infrastructure, US financial institutions, and several academic institutions in Europe and the US.
In addition to these heinous acts, the IRGC has been responsible for attacks on commercial ships in international waters, providing weapons to terrorist organizations, and carrying out terrorist attacks in Europe. IRGC officials have also made direct threats to assassinate prominent Americans and have been responsible for intimidating and threatening journalists. IRGC-produced drones are even being used by Russian forces to kill Ukrainians and destroy their infrastructure.
Therefore, blacklisting the IRGC as a terror group is essential for global peace and security. The West and the free world must not make short-term concessions to the IRGC at the expense of their long-term interests. Immediate action must be taken before it’s too late. It is crucial that the international community recognizes the danger that the IRGC poses and takes steps to counter it.