The European Parliament voted on Thursday in favor of a non-binding resolution to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) as a terrorist group, and to sanction Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi.
The resolution comes as a response to the Iranian government’s months of violent crackdowns on protests in the country.
The IRGC is in command of the Basij, a paramilitary force that have deployed against protests in Iran.
Iranian citizens have been protesting since September when a 22-year-old woman named Mahsa Amini died after being arrested by Iran’s morality police for not abiding by Iran’s hijab laws.
The Iranian government has already handed down death sentences for people protesting the government.
In addition to sanctioning the IRGC, Khamenei and Raisi, members of the European Parliament also voted to sanction Iranian Prosecutor General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri.
While their resolution is nonbinding, the vote includes a call for the European Council to add the IRGC and its subsidiaries like the Basij and the Quds force to the European Union’s terrorist list.
“Any country in which the IRGC deploys military, economic, or informational operations should sever and outlaw ties with this agency,” the European Parliament said in a statement on the vote.
“Parliament condemns in the strongest terms the death sentences against and executions of peaceful protesters in Iran and calls on the Iranian authorities to end the crackdown on their own citizens,” the European Parliament’s statement added.
The European Parliament also voted for “the expansion of restrictive measures” against Iran for providing unmanned aerial vehicles to Russia in the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian condemned the European Parliament’s vote in a statement shared by Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
“It is necessary to respect mutual security in the world of diplomacy and increase mutual trust instead of following the language of threats and unfriendly actions,” Amirabdollahian said.
Amirabdollahian spoke with E.U. Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell about the resolution, saying the European Parliament had acted emotionally in its decision.
According to the top Iranian diplomate, Borrell agreed that the European Parliament’s resolution “included emotions and worries” but said parliament is completely independent from the European Commission in its decision-making.
Amirabdollahian also claimed Borrell reassured him that the resolution is non-binding and “merely reflects Europe’s concerns.”
Bahrain and Saudi designated the IRGC as a terrorist organization in 2018.
The U.S. added the IRGC to its list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) in 2019, under President Donald Trump.