EU move on IRGC could scupper NPT

TEHRAN, Jan. 23 (MNA) – With the European Union making deliberations on whether to designate the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist group, Iran appears to be mulling its response options, including a withdrawal from the NPT.

Iranian Parliament had a busy day on Sunday, with a lineup of high-level Iranian officials taking part in closed sessions to discuss the European Parliament’s resolution on the IRGC, which called on the European Council to list the IRGC and its affiliates as a terrorist group. 

IRGC chief commander General Hossein Salami and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian jointly attended a closed session dedicated to discussing the European move. Also, the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy also held specialized sessions on Saturday and Sunday to review the matter. 

After the Sunday closed session, Amir-Abdollahian made it clear that Iran is mulling a range of options, including the strategically important possibility of withdrawing from the NPT. 

Speaking after Sunday's closed session, Amir-Abdollahian did not rule out Iran's withdrawal from the NPT. “Every possibility is probable,” he said in remarks to ICANA. He was responding to a question on whether Iran will quit the NPT if the EU puts the IRGC on its terrorism list.

This is the first time a high-level Iranian official cites NPT withdrawal as a possible response to the EU listing of the IRGC, which will have deep repercussions for the already stalled talks in Vienna over reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

In addition to the NPT option, Iran is also mulling other options. Abolfazl Amouei, the spokesman for the parliamentary committee, said Sunday that the committee has prepared a three-point response in case the EU pressed ahead with the IRGC designation. 

He said the Committee held two extraordinary meetings on the IRGC designation on Saturday and Sunday to brainstorm a response to the EU.

“We have also prepared a plan. And to reach this plan, we invited all people with opinions and ideas to the parliament. The outcome of these meetings was a 3-point plan, which will probably be announced in today's public meeting of the parliament,” Amouei told the parliament news agency ICANA. 

He added, “The subject of this plan is a countermeasure that the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is obliged to implement. If the European side includes the authorities or institutions of the country, including the institutions mentioned in the constitution, such as the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps or Basij Mustazafin, in the list of terrorist organizations of the European Union, there will be a reciprocal and corresponding reaction.”

Amouei continued, “In the resolution of the European Parliament, it has been seen that some people, officials and natural and legal entities are included in the list of sanctions and some have been included in the list of terrorist organizations. Therefore, in our planned plan, in the event of any action from the other side, we obliged the government to prepare a list to designate officials and individuals as terrorists or subject them to financial sanctions or prohibit their entry into Iran.”

By Mehran Shamsuddin 

First published in Tehran Times

News Code 196515

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