OpinionIran in the World PressTime for EU to get tough with Iranian mullahs'...

Time for EU to get tough with Iranian mullahs’ terror machine

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The Scotsman: It is time the European Union imposed sanctions on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the main suppressive force of the ruling theocracy in Iran, responsible for many terrorist operations against foreign nationals and Iranian dissidents and the sole controller of Iran’s secret nuclear programme. The Scotsman

STRUAN STEVENSON
Conservative Party MEP

IT IS time the European Union imposed sanctions on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the main suppressive force of the ruling theocracy in Iran, responsible for many terrorist operations against foreign nationals and Iranian dissidents and the sole controller of Iran’s secret nuclear programme.

I welcome the US decision to impose sanctions on the IRGC, not least because of their murderous role in Iraq and Afghanistan against US and UK forces. Now the EU should issue a similar ban on this repressive terror machine of the ruling mullahs.

The Guards comprise the backbone of the Iranian regime’s system of oppression. At least 80 former members sit in the parliament of 290 seats, with others serving as mayors and provincial governors. Former Guard commanders make up about two-thirds of the cabinet, including the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the foreign minister, Monouchehr Mottaki. Former nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani and many other high-ranking officials are also former members of the IRGC.

The IRGC has grown into a major financial machine, which supplies Tehran’s key economic needs, enabling the fundamentalist regime to spread terrorism throughout the Middle East and even Europe. It controls 30 per cent of Iran’s non-oil exports and more than 57 per cent of the country’s imports, in addition to vast new contracts to develop Iran’s oil and gas fields. The IRGC now has ties to more than 100 companies that control roughly GBP 5.8 billion in construction and engineering capital. Its commercial annual revenue is reported to reach at least GBP 2.4 billion.

The Qods (Jerusalem) Force, the main terrorist apparatus of the IRGC, established 17 years ago, has more than 21,000 Iranian members and tens of thousands of non-Iranian mercenaries, including in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and many European countries. The Qods Force has dozens of garrisons across Iran in which it trains its non-Iranian operatives. So far, it is reported that at least 7,000 suicide bombers have enlisted for volunteer operations with the Qods Force. These are the murderous killers referred to last week by an IRGC general, who said Iran was ready to unleash waves of suicide bombers across Israel and the Middle East if anyone attempted to attack its nuclear installations.

The IRGC is also responsible for carrying out the executions of 120,000 members and sympathisers of the main Iranian opposition force, the People’s Mujahideen Organisation of Iran (PMOI).

It is now crucial for the EU to contain this terrorist regime. The EU’s policy of appeasement towards the clerical dictatorship has only emboldened the mullahs and encouraged them to become even more aggressive, bringing the world closer to yet another catastrophic war. Placing the IRGC on the EU’s terror list and imposing severe restrictions against it would cripple the regime’s war and suppression machine and hinder its ability to build a nuclear bomb. It would not only reduce the possibility of a war but also pave the way for democratic change in Iran.

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