Iran to brand European armies terrorists if IRGC blacklisted: Speaker

Political Desk

The Iranian Parliament speaker said the country will designate the armies of European states in the region as terrorist organizations.

Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf made the remark in an address to an open session of Parliament on Sunday in reaction to the European Parliament’s adoption of a resolution to blacklist the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) as a “terrorist organization”, Tasnim News Agency reported.

Qalibaf vowed that the legislative body will take “retaliatory, swift and decisive action” against any plan to sanction or include the IRGC in the list of terrorist groups.

Denouncing the Western governments, specifically the European states, for the “dangerous tendency” toward terrorist behavior and supporting terrorism against Iran, Qalibaf cautioned that such moves could trigger the Islamic Republic’s decision about a spectrum of retaliatory actions.

The speaker also lashed out at Europe for its dark record of harboring and backing the most notorious criminal terrorists, namely, the members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) terrorist organization.

He said although Iran is prepared for retaliation, it requests the West to think deeply lest ‎the window of opportunity for diplomacy be ‎closed.


Withdrawal warning


In addition, in remarks to ICANA, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian did not rule out the possibility of suspension of Tehran’s membership in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), or a decision to expel the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in response to the European Parliament’s push to blacklist the IRGC.

He made the remarks in response to a question whether withdrawal from the NPT, or expulsion of the IAEA inspectors, would be among Iran’s possible retaliatory measures against a potential decision by the European Union Council to blacklist the IRGC as a “terror group”.

He said, “A few European political leaders have no experience in the diplomacy field and have only taken the helm at the diplomatic body today, including the foreign minister of Germany [Annalena Baerbock]. If they do not take the path to rationality and fail to rectify their stances, any possibility could be considered.”

He also lashed out at the European Parliament for its “emotional” decision to force the EU to designate the IRGC as a “terrorist organization”.

The foreign minister also described the Iranian Parliament’s bill that would designate the European military forces as terrorist organizations as a retaliatory action, saying the decision will entail “far-reaching changes and significant impacts on the formation of the military forces in the region.”

In a Sunday tweet, Amir-Abdollahian warned the EU of “reciprocal” measures in the face of any anti-IRGC actions.

He said, “The Parliament [of Iran] is working to place elements of European countries’ armies on a terrorist list.”

“The European Parliament shot itself in the foot,” Iran’s top diplomat said, adding that the response would be “reciprocal”.

Amir-Abdollahian and the IRGC’s chief commander attended a closed-door Parliament session on Sunday morning to discuss the European Parliament’s move.


Raeisi’s remarks

In addition, Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi strongly criticized the European Parliament’s decision to brand the IRGC a “terrorist organization,” saying any hostile move against the IRGC, the most important force in the fight against terrorism, is doomed to fail.

He made the remarks on Sunday as he attended a parliamentary session to review the general bill for the next Iranian calendar year 1402, which will start on March 21, 2023.

The Iranian Intelligence Ministry also on Sunday condemned the European Parliament’s resolution, describing retaliation as Iran’s inalienable and legitimate right.

The move by the European Parliament comes as Iran’s intelligence bodies have found footprints of American and other Western spy agencies in recent violent riots inside Iran, which claimed the lives of dozens of people and security forces.

The Iranian Parliament passed a law in April 2019, designating American forces in West Asia, known as the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), as a terrorist organization. The move was made in response to the U.S. blacklisting of the IRGC.