Iran warns EU not to list Revolutionary Guards as terrorist entity

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian speaks during a joint news conference with Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad in Damascus, Syria January 14, 2023. REUTERS/Firas Makdesi

DUBAI, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Iran warned on Thursday that the European Union would "shoot itself in the foot" if it designated the Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist entity, a day after the European Parliament called on the EU and its member states to do so.

"We have repeatedly said the Revolutionary Guards are a formal and sovereign organisation whose role is central for guaranteeing Iran's security," Iran's foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said during a phone call to the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell.

"Steps taken by the European Parliament to list the organisation as terrorist are in a way a shot in the foot of Europe itself."

On Wednesday, the European Parliament called for the EU to list the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organisation, blaming it for the repression of domestic protesters and the supply of drones to Russia's military for use in Ukraine.

Iran's General Staff of the Armed Forces, which coordinates activities between Iran's conventional army and the Revolutionary Guards, also warned the EU on Thursday not to list Guards as a terrorist organisation, Iran's official news agency IRNA said.

"The recent action of the European Parliament, besides having no precedent in international rules and regulations, will affect global as well as regional security and peace, and the European Parliament should be aware of such consequences," the General Staff of the Armed Forces' statement read.

The statement also accused Western powers of being behind unrest in Iran.

Widespread anti-government demonstrations erupted in Iran in September after the death in custody of Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, who had been detained by morality police enforcing the Islamic Republic's mandatory dress code for women.

The European Parliament condemned the crackdown on protesters by Iran's security forces, which include the powerful Revolutionary Guard Corps, as "brutal".

"It is necessary to respect mutual security in the world of diplomacy and increase mutual trust instead of following the language of threats and unfriendly actions. In any case of a terrorist listing, Iran will take reciprocal measures," Amirabdollahian said.

Iran and world powers, including EU members France and Germany, have engaged in negotiations since 2021 to revive a 2015 nuclear deal, with discussions in a stalemate since September.

Reporting by Dubai Newsroom; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Gerry Doyle and Alex Richardson

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