Israel has long been calling on the EU to classify the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization. After years of standstill, there is now movement – thanks to a German ruling.

Several EU states, including Germany, want to have the Iranian Revolutionary Guard classified as a terrorist organization based on a ruling by the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court. The German Press Agency learned this on Monday on the sidelines of an EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels.

At the request of the German EU delegation, among others, the legal service of the Council of the EU examined and confirmed that the judgment handed down in Düsseldorf in December could be sufficient as a basis for an EU terror listing of the Revolutionary Guards, explained EU diplomats. The judge’s ruling found that an Iranian state agency had ordered an attempted arson attack on a synagogue. 

Israel has long been calling for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard to be classified as a terrorist organization. This was reiterated after Iran’s major attack on Israel in April. In the past, the EU had always emphasized that a terrorist listing of the elite armed forces was currently not legally possible because it would require a national court decision or a prohibition order from an administrative authority. Until recently, the EU’s foreign service had doubts as to whether the Düsseldorf ruling met the necessary requirements.

According to information from EU circles, following the legal service’s analysis, several EU states now support the idea of ​​initiating the procedural steps necessary for listing the Revolutionary Guards in the Council of the EU. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) has repeatedly emphasized in the past that she supports a listing. However, it is still uncertain whether there is the necessary majority among the 27 member states for a terrorist listing. It could only be decided unanimously.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has so far been seen in the EU as an opponent of classifying the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. One reason is the efforts to persuade Iran to stick to an agreement to limit its nuclear program. This is intended to prevent Iran from building a nuclear bomb.

The ruling by the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court was handed down last December over an attempted attack on a synagogue in Bochum. At that time, a German-Iranian was sentenced to a total prison sentence of two years and nine months for arranging serious arson and attempted arson (file number III-6 StS 1/23). 

As elite armed forces in Iran, the Revolutionary Guards protect, among other things, the state ideology and are also intended to prevent coup attempts. According to Iranian information, they also carried out the attack on Israel in April, in which hundreds of rockets and drones were used, but little damage was caused, among other things, because Israel and its partners had well-functioning anti-aircraft defenses.

Diplomats emphasized on Monday that the Guard’s terror listing would be primarily a symbolic step. The reason is that there are already EU sanctions against them.