The European Union’s foreign policy chief has said the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and its subsidiaries cannot be included on the bloc's terrorist list until an EU court has determined that the Iranian elite force is a terrorist entity.
Speaking before a meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers in Brussels on January 23, Josep Borrell said that the court of one of the 27 EU member states has to issue a concrete legal condemnation before the bloc itself can act.
But the EU official did not tell the whole truth.
The EU has added Palestinian militant movement Hamas to its terrorist list following a court order, which was approved by the Council of Ministers.
But this is not the only procedure that the EU has used in the past to label an entity as a terrorist group.
The European Council of Ministers, the highest decision-making authority in the bloc, reviews the EU terrorist list at regular intervals and at least every six months.
In addition, the council can, at any time, adopt a decision on the listing or delisting of individuals, groups and entities from the list.
Persons, groups and entities can be added to the list on the basis of proposals submitted by member states based on a decision by a competent authority of a member state or a non-EU member state.
After receiving the proposals, the Working Party on restrictive measures to combat terrorism (COMET working party) examines and evaluates information and makes recommendations to the council.
The council then decides to adopt the changes to the list, or not.
So, contrary to what Borrell said, persons, groups and entities can be added to the EU terrorist list without a court order.
Currently, a number of Iranian citizens are on this list. Some of them have been included following a court decision.
The EU has also added individuals to the list following a request by the United States or based on UN Security Council resolutions, but all these people had not been convicted by a court before being included on the list.
The same can be said about the 21 organizations that are on the EU terrorist list.