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EU inches closer to listing Iran’s Revolutionary Guards a terror group

Listing the group is more connected to Iranian support of Russia against Ukraine than Tehran's attack on Israel, per the Czech ambassador to Israel.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas talks with media at the E.U. Leaders Summit in Brussels, Belgium, on Oct. 27, 2023. Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images.
Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas talks with media at the E.U. Leaders Summit in Brussels, Belgium, on Oct. 27, 2023. Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images.

The Czech ambassador to Israel said on Tuesday that the European Union plans to list Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization.

The move, which has been in the works for years now, comes amid heightened concern in Europe over Iranian support of Russia in its war with Ukraine and follows Iran’s first-ever direct attack on Israel, when it fired more than 300 missiles and drones in April.

“We are getting there,” Veronika Kuchyňová Šmigolová, the Czech ambassador to Israel, told JNS at a briefing at the Czech Embassy in Tel Aviv.

The envoy noted that the initiative was gaining steam primarily due to the Russia-Ukraine war, which she said is currently the most dominant focus of European foreign policy. “It is less connected with what Iran is doing to Israel and more connected to the Iranian support of Russia in the war in Ukraine,” she said.

Washington designated the IRGC as a foreign terror organization on April 15, 2019. Canada did so last month.

One of Israel’s staunchest allies in Europe, the Czech Republic has been an outspoken voice for Israel on the continent and at international forums, both before and after the war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

“Within the E.U., the Czech Republic is a steadfast supporter of Israel across the political spectrum,” said the ambassador, who has held the position since September and is the first woman in her country to do so. “If there is one consensus in the Czech political scene, it is support for Israel.”

Earlier this month, a group of European lawmakers urged the European Union to place the IRGC on an international terror list in a move that is gaining traction following elections that have seen a rightward shift across the continent.

The ambassador said recent E.U. elections would have a “definite positive” change for Israel.

Incoming E.U. foreign-policy chief Kaja Kallas, the prime minister of Estonia, is a realist and “intrinsically supportive” of Israel, according to Kuchyňová Šmigolová.

Israel’s relations with the European Union soured in the last nine months of the war, primarily as a result of outgoing E.U. diplomat Josep Borrell and his frequent criticism of the Jewish state.

“The change won’t be 180 degrees because the apparatus in the system is still in place,” the ambassador said. “But there will definitely be a change.”

Last year, the European Parliament called for the European Union to list the IRGC as a terror organization, but the move never went through.

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