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EU plans more Iran sanctions but won’t list IRGC as terror group

Illustrative: Members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard 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. (AFP/STR)
Illustrative: Members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard 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. (AFP/STR)

The European Union is set to impose sanctions on several more Iranian officials suspected of playing a role in the crackdown on protesters, but won’t add the Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Guard Corps to the EU’s terror group blacklist.

The 27-nation bloc has already imposed three rounds of sanctions on Iranian officials and organizations — including government ministers, military officers and Iran’s morality police — for human rights abuses over the protests that erupted in Iran in mid-September over the death of Mahsa Amini.

The 22-year-old woman died after being arrested by the morality police for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code. Women have played a leading role in the protests, with many publicly removing the compulsory Islamic headscarf, known as the hijab.

While EU foreign ministers, meeting in Brussels, will target more officials with travel bans and asset freezes, they won’t move forward on blacklisting the Revolutionary Guard Corps, despite last week’s appeal from the European Parliament for them to do so.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who chaired the meeting, says that this could only happen once a court in a member country hands down a ruling condemning the Iranian guard corps for terror acts.

“It is something that cannot be decided without a court decision first,” he tells reporters.

European officials also fear that blacklisting the Revolutionary Guard would all but end the slim hopes the bloc might have of resuscitating the Iran nuclear agreement, which has been on ice since the Trump administration withdrew from the internationally backed accord in 2018.

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