House lawmakers urge EU to designate IRGC as a terrorist group

Nearly 140 lawmakers wrote a letter this week on the issue, followed by a resolution from 25 lawmakers

Morteza Nikoubazl/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) special forces are walking along the Azadi (Freedom) square in the west of Tehran after a rally to mark the 44th anniversary of the Victory of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution on February 11, 2023.

House lawmakers from across the ideological spectrum pressed the European Union this week to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization.

Nearly 140 House lawmakers signed onto a letter this week on the issue, followed by a resolution sponsored by 25 members, reflecting continued concern from U.S. lawmakers over the EU’s lack of action against the IRGC and other elements of the Iranian regime. 

The letter, addressed to Josep Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, was led by Reps. Tom Kean (R-NJ), Kathy Manning (D-NC), William Keating (D-MA) and Michael McCaul (R-TX) and was sent on Tuesday with 134 other signatories. 

The letter notes that the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in January to designate the IRGC as a terrorist group, but that the EU Foreign Affairs Council has not acted on that decision. The letter also acknowledges the “legal complexities involved in designating the IRGC” under EU law — which have been cited by EU officials in the past — but argues “there is an abundance of evidence available… to provide the necessary basis for a terror designation.”

“Given the growing threat Iran poses to EU member states and their citizens, we urge you to treat this issue with the utmost urgency,” the lawmakers wrote. “We hope that in the upcoming meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council there will be due consideration on this very important and timely issue.”

“We strongly urge you, and your foreign affairs ministerial colleagues, to make the decision to fully sanction, penalize and delegitimize the IRGC, to help prevent them from further threatening democracy & freedom in the United States, Europe, and around the world,” the letter continued.

The resolution is sponsored by Kean as well as Reps. Claudia Tenney (R-NY), Katie Porter (D-CA), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Lucy McBath (D-GA), Zach Nunn (R-IA), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Jared Moskowitz (D-FL), Nancy Mace (R-SC), Nanette Barragan (D-CA), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), Kathy Manning (D-NC), Mike Lawler (R-NY), Dina Titus (D-NV), Brian Mast (R-FL), David Trone (D-MD), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Mike Levin (D-CA), Susie Lee (D-NV), and Pat Ryan (D-NY).

It outlines the IRGC’s history of malign activities within Iran, the region and Europe, as well as supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and urges the Biden administration to “make European Union designation… a diplomatic priority in engagements with the European Union.”

The House lawmakers’ outreach follows a communique to Borrell from Senate Republicans in late March, which highlighted concerns over the same issue. The Senate letter expressed explicit “disappointment” with the EU and said that “EU reluctance both weakens our collective resolve against Russia and ignores the Iranian government’s goal of sowing terror in the West.”

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