Shijal ChudasamaJanuary 23, 2023

Additional sanctions are being imposed as Iran and the EU argue about labeling the IRGC as a terrorist organization.

Additional sanctions are being imposed as Iran and the EU argue about labeling the IRGC as a terrorist organization.

The European Union will increase sanctions against Iranian officials thought to be involved in the nation's ongoing crackdown on anti-government protesters, but it will hold off on designating Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a "terrorist" group until after additional legal procedures are finished.

The EU Presidency stated in a tweet on Monday that "Ministers adopted a new package of sanctions against Iran, targeting those driving the repression." The violent and disproportionate use of force by Iranian authorities against peaceful protesters is sharply condemned by the EU.

37 more Iranian officials and organizations were added to the sanctions list as a result of the decision.

Josep Borrell, the head of foreign policy for the EU, had earlier told reporters that naming the IRGC would require first going through a legal process.

"It is a matter that needs to be resolved by a judge, first and foremost. You cannot claim that I hate you because you are a terrorist, Borrell added.

The Iranian government was convinced that any efforts to outlaw the IRGC were unlawful.

Nasser Kanani, the spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry, praised the IRGC as an organization that significantly contributes to the security of Iran and the region and asserted that blacklisting this state agency would be a blatant breach of the United Nations Charter and international law.

The consequences for any IRGC violations would be focused at the offender, Kanani continued. "Any violation of the IRGC would be a violation of Iran's national security."

Last week, the European Parliament unanimously approved a motion calling for the IRGC to be outlawed as well as the application of sanctions on individuals including President Ebrahim Raisi and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The resolution denounced Tehran's response to the nation's rallies, which got underway in September of last year, as well as the protest-related executions and drone sales to Russia. It is not legally enforceable until the European Council's consensus procedure gives its blessing.

Iran's parliament responded by introducing legislation on Sunday that would subject European armed forces to "terrorist" designation if the bloc went forward with its suggestion.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian claimed to have had assurances from Borrell and his Swedish counterpart, who is currently holding the rotating presidency of the EU, that the EU will not push the idea through in a statement to state media on Sunday.

In addition, Iran has warned that completely blacklisting the IRGC would put an end to ongoing negotiations to revive the country's 2015 nuclear agreement with major nations. Amirabdollahian stated on Sunday that he could not rule out leaving the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in that scenario.

The United States has "constantly" sent messages, according to the Iranian foreign minister, in an effort to encourage a return to the agreement, which is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

"The Americans discovered that there is nothing driving the protests in Iran earlier than the E3 [France, Germany, and the United Kingdom]. In keeping with Tehran's recurrent claim that the West is to blame for the country's unrest, Amirabdollahian added that they conveyed a message earlier and urged on returning to the JCPOA.

The comments from the foreign minister are made as Washington continues to openly claim that the discussions are not a top priority right now.

The US, the EU and others have imposed waves of human rights sanctions on Iranian entities and individuals in recent months in support of the protests.

The US unilaterally abandoned the JCPOA in 2018, imposing harsh sanctions. If restored, the deal would lift sanctions on Tehran while re-introducing strict limits on its nuclear programme.

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