March 23, 2023

Young, Colleagues Encourage EU to Designate IRGC as Terrorist Organization

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) sent a letter to European Union (EU) High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell encouraging the EU to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization.

“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,” wrote the senators. “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 United States rightly designated the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) in April 2019 because of its acts of global terror, violations of the laws of armed conflict, assassination attempts, and support for regional terrorist groups,” the senators continued. “Through the FTO designation, U.S. sanctions severely limit the IRGC’s ability to access U.S. markets. EU markets, absent a terror designation, remain viable sources of IRGC income.”

“The IRGC clearly presents a threat to the EU and our collective security.  It is long past time to cut off its resources before the next tragedy strikes. The impact of a combined U.S. and EU terror designation will cripple the IRGC’s ability to promote terrorism and will make the world safer for Americans and Europeans alike,” the senators concluded.

 

Full text of the letter can be found here and below:

Dear Mr. Borrell,

 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 United States rightly designated the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) in April 2019 because of its acts of global terror, violations of the laws of armed conflict, assassination attempts, and support for regional terrorist groups.  Through the FTO designation, U.S. sanctions severely limit the IRGC’s ability to access U.S. markets.  EU markets, absent a terror designation, remain viable sources of IRGC income.  

 The European Commission has argued that the EU lacks enough evidence to apply a terror designation to the IRGC.  However, IRGC actions have already hurt Europeans.  In July 2012, Bulgarian authorities arrested an IRGC operative suspected of planning an attack on a synagogue in Sophia.  In July 2016 and November 2022, German officials arrested IRGC-sponsored assassins.  In April 2022, a detained IRGC operative identified assassination plans in Germany and France.  It is clear that there is sufficient evidence of IRGC malign conduct in Europe to warrant a terror designation.  

 The EU has made countless statements since the Russian invasion of Ukraine condemning violations of the laws of armed conflict, including a European Parliament resolution identifying Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.  The growing alignment of Russian and Iranian activities, including the use of Iranian drones in Ukraine, makes the IRGC complicit in Russia’s terror.  An IRGC terror designation will sharpen and align the U.S. and EU responses to Russian aggression.

The IRGC clearly presents a threat to the EU and our collective security.  It is long past time to cut off its resources before the next tragedy strikes.  The impact of a combined U.S. and EU terror designation will cripple the IRGC’s ability to promote terrorism and will make the world safer for Americans and Europeans alike.  We look forward to your response.

 Sincerely,

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