Iran has taken strong umbrage to a move by the European Parliament to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization amid rising tensions between Tehran and the West.
Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in a phone call with the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Thursday termed the move to blacklist the IRGC as "inappropriate."
He said the European Parliament "shot itself in the foot" by calling on the EU member states to place the Revolutionary Guards on the terror list, emphasizing "respecting mutual security in the world of diplomacy" instead of "the language of threats and hostile actions."
The top Iranian diplomat also warned of a "strong legal response" to the move, while urging the European Parliament to "consider its adverse consequences."
In a non-binding vote on Wednesday, the European legislative body condemned the IRGC for its crackdown on protesters amid the months-long unrest as well as for supplying drones to Russia for use in the Ukraine war.
MEPs overwhelmingly backed an amendment added to an annual foreign policy report that calls for "the EU and its member states to include the IRGC on the EU’s terrorist list."
While Iran's Revolutionary Guards are designated as a "foreign terrorist group" by the US, European countries have so far been reluctant to push ahead with the move due to legal issues.
Iran says designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization would be a "completely illegal" move as it is the official military branch of the Iranian government.
The push from Europeans to designate the IRGC got intense in the wake of protests in Iran triggered by the death of a young woman in police custody, the arrest of several European nationals in recent months, as well as reports about Iran's drone supplies to Russia.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also announced her support for blacklisting of IRGC on Tuesday, after officials of France, Britain and Germany said they were considering the move.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said earlier this month that a new round of sanctions against Iran would not be enough, backing the move to designate the IRGC.
"Listing the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization is politically important and makes sense," she wrote on Twitter.
According to reports in Iranian media, the country's parliament is also mulling a counter-move in the form of a "two-pronged plan" under which armed forces belonging to EU member states would be listed as "terrorists."
Iranian lawmakers have been particularly vocal about the European Parliament's move against the IRGC.
Feda Hossein Maliki, a member of the Iranian parliament's foreign policy commission, on Thursday, termed the move against the IRGC as "hasty and political."
Abolfazl Amouei, another senior parliamentarian, termed the move as "destructive," saying the parliament will announce "a serious reaction" to it.
Mohammad Esmail Kowsari, a former IRGC commander and senior lawmaker, said the move had been "designed at the behest of the US and the Zionist regime (Israel)."
“European countries must prove their independence from the US and oppose any action against the IRGC if they want to return to the JCPOA and negotiate with Iran," he was quoted as saying, linking the move to ongoing talks to revive the 2015 deal.
The marathon talks in Vienna, underway since April 2021, have been effectively put on the back burner since last August.
Source: Anadolu Agency