Although Iran’s leading political factions are outraged over Washington’s recent designation of its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization”, Europe has remained silent.
Reformist MPs, along with their so-called Principlist or ultra-conservative counterparts, rushed to show their support for the IRGC by wearing the military force's fatigues.
Friday Prayer meetings nationwide voiced criticism of the United States. In an address on April 12, interim Tehran Friday Prayer leader Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani lashed out at Washington for designating the IRGC, "an official military force of a foreign country," a terrorist group.
He said the “foolish” U.S. president violates international law by blacklisting the IRGC, noting that such a measure would further complicate the situation in the Middle East, the IRGC-run Tasnim news agency reported.
“Today, it has been proven to the people of the world, particularly regional nations, that the mother of terrorism is the United States,” he said.
He then warned U.S. President Donald Trump “not to play with the lion’s tail,” stressing the IRGC could "raze Tel Aviv to the ground with its missiles" if ordered to do so by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Many in Iran, as well as its traditional allies, have been largely silent on the move. In 2018, when Trump re-imposed sanctions on Tehran, Moscow and Beijing stepped forward to condemn the decision. But both have so far avoided commenting on the latest sanction imposed on the IRGC.
Even in the United States, the decision was not followed by widespread opposition from the Democrats. Likewise, European countries largely ignored the decision.
In a telephone conversion with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on April 9, French President Emmanuel Macron made no mention of the IRGC. While Rouhani described Washington's decision as a "provocative and dangerous act," Macron instead expressed his condolences for Iranians affected by recent devastating floods.
He did say, however, that Paris and its European partners are urging the Trump administration to "moderate the sanctions" it imposed against Tehran after withdrawing the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers.
Macron advised Rouhani to refrain from anything that might intensify tensions between Tehran and Washington.
The European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Federica Mogherini, have so far avoided the subject. After Trump declared the re-imposition of Washington's unilateral sanctions on Tehran last year, Mogherini had vocally criticized the White House’s decision.
It is unclear why Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has not called on Mogherini for a sharp response to the United States’ latest decision.
One can speculate that when it comes to the IRGC, European countries have the same concerns as Washington, namely believing that it is involved in terrorism. The past four terrorist incidents in Albania, Denmark, France, and Germany have been attributed to Iran, highlighting the EU's stance on the IRGC.
It is also possible that Washington held consultations with its European allies and made sure the two sides reach a measure of agreement.
Therefore, Zarif has not even made an overt attempt to approach the Europeans. Rouhani too, after his phone call with Macron, has not tried to approach Angela Merkel or other European leaders.