Dr. Majid Rafizadeh: Why the EU should designate the IRGC a terrorist organization/د.ماجد رفي زاده: لهذه الأسباب يجب على الاتحاد الأوروبي تصنيف الحرس الثوري الإيراني منظمة إرهابية

Members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) march during the annual military parade marking the anniversary of the outbreak of the devastating 1980-1988 war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq, in the capital Tehran on September 22, 2018. - In Iran's southwestern city of Ahvaz during commemoration of the same event, dozens of people were killed with dozens others wounded in an attack targeting another army parade, state media reported on September 22. (Photo by STRINGER / AFP) (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images)

د.ماجد رفي زاده/عرب نيوز: لهذه الأسباب يجب على الاتحاد الأوروبي تصنيف الحرس الثوري الإيراني منظمة إرهابية

Why the EU should designate the IRGC a terrorist organization
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh/Arab News/January 29, 2023

The time is long overdue for the EU to designate the Iranian regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization for several important reasons. First of all, from a human rights perspective, the IRGC and its paramilitary group, the Basij, are heavily involved in the suppression of protesters. Recently revealed orders by the IRGC’s top brass, including commander Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, to quickly crush the persistent ongoing protests are perhaps the best illustration of the IRGC’s suppressive machinery and its units.Mohammed Azimi and Kourosh Asiabani, who command IRGC units, have, according to the US Department of State, “allegedly committed some of the worst acts by Iranian security forces since the beginning of protests in September 2022.

In Javanrud, a town in Kermanshah province, IRGC troops used live ammunition, including from semi-heavy machine guns, to quell protests, killing and wounding dozens. The IRGC has shelled vehicles attempting to deliver blood bags to those wounded in local hospitals, preventing their delivery. (Mojtaba) Fada, the IRGC commander of Isfahan Province and a member of its provincial security council, has overseen the crackdown on regime opponents in Isfahan.”

In fact, in every major nationwide uprising in Iran, the IRGC has played a key role in brutally crushing demonstrators, as well as harshly silencing opposition to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, in order to ensure the survival of the regime.

Amnesty International last month released an updated 48-page report titled “Iran: Killings of children during youthful anti-establishment protests,” detailing the killings of hundreds of protesters, including at least 44 children, by Iran’s IRGC, security forces and police. The report stated: “Extensive video footage and leaked documents analyzed by Amnesty International and numerous eyewitness accounts obtained by the organization indicate that responsibility for the death of hundreds of protesters and bystanders, including dozens of children, lies squarely with Iran’s security forces, including the Revolutionary Guards, paramilitary Basij forces and police.”

The IRGC’s terrorist activities can be witnessed abroad as well. It has supported various terror groups, including Al-Qaeda. In 2011, US District Judge George Daniels held that “Iran, its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei, former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and Iran’s agencies and instrumentalities, including, among others, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security, and Iran’s terrorist proxy Hezbollah, all materially aided and supported Al-Qaeda before and after 9/11.”

Furthermore, the IRGC’s elite branch, the Quds Force, deploys its proxies and militia groups to attack the interests and assets of the US and its allies in the Middle East, as well as in the soft underbelly of the US — Latin America. In Iraq, the Quds Force exerts significant influence, whether direct or indirect, through a conglomerate of 40 militia groups that operate under the banner of the Popular Mobilization Units.

In every major nationwide uprising in Iran, the IRGC has played a key role in brutally crushing demonstrators. The Quds Force is in charge of the Iranian regime’s extraterritorial operations, which include organizing, supporting, training, arming and financing Iran’s predominantly Shiite militia groups in foreign countries; launching wars directly or indirectly via these proxies; fomenting unrest in other nations to advance Iran’s ideological and hegemonic interests; attacking and invading cities and countries; and assassinating foreign political figures and prominent Iranian dissidents worldwide.

In addition, the Quds Force has been implicated in failed plans to bomb Saudi and Israeli embassies and other targets, including an attempt in 2011 to assassinate then-Saudi Ambassador to the US Adel Al-Jubeir. An investigation revealed that the group was also behind the 2005 assassination of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The IRGC has also been engaged in the illegal smuggling of advanced weaponry to its militias and proxies, such as the Houthis and Hezbollah, including kits that can convert unguided rockets into precision-guided missiles. According to Israeli intelligence, “the Iranian Al-Quds Force packs weapons, ammunition and missile technology to Hezbollah in suitcases and puts them on Mahan Air flights … These planes fly directly to the airport in Lebanon or Damascus and from there the weapons are transferred on the ground to Hezbollah.”
The Washington office of opposition group the National Council of Resistance of Iran has published a book on 15 terrorist training centers in Iran, where the IRGC provides ideological, military and tactical training to foreign recruits, who are later dispatched to countries in the Middle East and beyond to conduct terrorist activities.In summary, it is crucial that the EU follows the European parliament’s advice and designates the Iranian regime’s IRGC as a terrorist organization in order to show its support for human rights and to counter the IRGC and its proxies’ terror activities abroad.

• Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a Harvard-educated Iranian-American political scientist.
Twitter: @Dr_Rafizadeh