Skip to main content

European Parliament set to debate Iran as members push for IRGC designation

More than 100 EU Parliament members are calling on the European Commission and EU member states to add Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to their terror lists and increase sanctions on Tehran.

The head of the European Parliament Press Service Neil Corlett said on Friday that the legislative body will convene next week to discuss sanctions against Iran, as more than 100 members push to designate Iran's powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization.

The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday and EU Commissioner of Foreign Affairs Josep Borell will be in attendance, Corlett said.

"The EU is currently discussing a fourth round of sanctions, due to the regime’s crackdown and Iran’s military support for Russia. The vote on the resolution will also take place on Thursday," Corlett added.

European legislators called this week to designate Iran's powerful the IRGC as a terrorist organization and to impose other sanctions, following Iranian crackdown on nationwide protests that started in September. 

More than 100 members signed Wednesday a letter addressed to Borrell, calling for stronger measures against Tehran.


Among the measures proposed in the letter are the designation of the IRGC as terror group, expanding the EU sanctions list to include Iranian leaders and tightening EU sanctions on dual-use materials and equipment.

The vote on the resolution on Thursday would not be binding, but it would put political pressure on EU member states. Pressure has also been growing from national governments in Europe such as France, the Netherlands and Germany, with several parliamentary factions calling to blacklist the IRGC.  

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock tweeted this month that pressure is set to increase on Iran. “We continue to pressure Iran, and especially the IRGC. Since October, we imposed personal sanctions on dozens of their leaders — people responsible for murder, torture and dictatorship," she said.

The French Foreign Ministry said Tuesday it had not ruled out designating the IRGC as a terror organization. During the past few weeks, the French Foreign Ministry issued numerous condemnations on the executions in Iran and on the crackdown against Iranian demonstrators.

European foreign ministers are set to meet in Brussels on Jan. 23. Among other issues, they are expected to discuss Iranian human rights violations and a possible fourth round of sanctions against Tehran. Still, it does not appear that a decision will be taken next week to blacklist the whole IRGC.  Instead, Politico reported Thursday that the EU is looking into sanctioning 17 additional Iranian nationals personally, either by freezing their assets or banning them from traveling  to Europe. They include regional governors, a lawmaker, a minister and a top official at the Republic of Iran Broadcasting World Service.

The United States had already added the IRGC to its terror list. Reports say that the United Kingdom could do the same in the coming weeks. Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen raised the issue on Wednesday with British Minister for the Middle East Region Tariq Ahmad. According to Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Cohen praised the UK for its intention to do so, calling it a “clear message to the Iranian terror regime.”

In parallel, reports have been coming out this week about an Irish-French national Bernard Phelan imprisoned in Iran’s second-largest city Mashad. Phelan is believed to be going on a hunger strike. Reports on Friday read that Dublin and Paris are mobilized to help 64-year-old tourism, jailed in Iran since October. He is charged with spreading anti-regime propaganda. The French Foreign Ministry declined Friday to comment on the issue.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

Security Briefing Security Briefing

Security Briefing

Middle East defense and security in your inbox

Trend Reports

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (4th R) attends a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (3rd L) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on February 22, 2019. (Photo by HOW HWEE YOUNG / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read HOW HWEE YOUNG/AFP via Getty Images)

From roads to routers: The future of China-Middle East connectivity

A general view shows the solar plant in Uyayna, north of Riyadh, on March 29, 2018. - On March 27, Saudi announced a deal with Japan's SoftBank to build the world's biggest solar plant. (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP) (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)

Regulations on Middle East renewable energy industry starting to take shape

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial