letter sent out to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of 34 countries:  EU, Canada, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, USA. 

letter sent out to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of 34 countries:  EU, Canada, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, USA. 

February 16, 2023

This letter has been sent to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of 34 countries:  EU, Canada, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, USA, … .

Subject: International Law Recognizes Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a Terrorist Group

The Honorable Josef Borrell recently stated that “The European Union cannot list Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist entity until an EU court has determined that they are”.

This statement is disappointing because contemporary international law condemns and stands against the unlawfulness and moral wrongfulness of terrorism.

The IRGC continues blatantly and insolently to take the advantage of political turmoil, governance failure, and structural conflicts to consolidate its presence in the Middle East and North Africa, and even throughout of the western world. Therefore:

Calling already existing twelve principal international legal instruments (conventions and protocols) condemning terrorism and terrorist actions,[1]

Emphasizing terrorism as a crime that endangers or takes innocent human lives or jeopardize fundamental freedoms, and sadly causes misery, frustration, grievance, and disperse in the life of countless number of the helpless people,[2]

Declaring that acts of international terrorism constitute one of the most serious threats to international peace and security in the twenty- first century,[3] as well as humanity,

Recalling the legal duty of the state to adopt such measures as may be necessary, such as establishing as criminal offences under their domestic law, and making “those offences punishable by appropriate penalties”[4],

Reacknowledging Security Council’s call for all States to “take urgent action to prevent and suppress all active and passive support to terrorism, and in particular comply fully with all relevant resolutions of the Security Council”,[5]

Recalling the global recognition of terrorism as one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, and “…[that] any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable”[6],

Emphasizing the European Council’s Common Position No. 931 dated 2001 on the application of specific measures to combat terrorism, which was issued following the United Nations Security Council Resolution No. 2580 dated 2001,[7] 

Reaffirming terrorism as a heinous international crime that any member of the community of nations must aut dedere aut judicare,[8]

 Reacknowledging the high probability of considering terrorism as “the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole”,[9]

We, raise our most serious concerns about the IRGC’s involvement in:

  1. Extraterritorial operations against the territorial integrity and political independence of the countries of the region that results in destabilize the region for all,[10]
  1. The unlawful recruiting of mercenaries from Afghanistan (Fatemiyoun), Pakistan (Zainebiyoun Brigade), Lebanon (Hezbollah), Iraq (al-Hashdal-Shaabi), and Yemen (Houthi)[11] to facilitate its military involvement in most of the targeted countries,[12]
  1. Funding, supporting, and paramilitary training of terrorist cells through activities such as facilitating terrorist operations,[13]
  1. Hundreds of assassinations conducted out of Iran, almost all of them in Europe among them the terror attack of September 17. 1992 in Berlin and the resulting Mykonos Process[14], along with the terrorist crime[15] of shooting down the Ukrainian Airlines flight PS752 passenger aircraft by the missiles of the IRGC[16].

With a view into the International Law Commissions’ draft on Responsibility of States for Wrongful Acts,[17] and the criminal nature of the wrongful act of terrorism as (a) the most serious crimes of concern to the international community (delicta juris gentium), which are crimes against mankind as a whole; and (b) offences that by their nature affect the interest of more than one State,[18]

We insist that the IRGC has proved to be in charge of the heinous crimes against innocent people. Therefore, this outlaw entity ought to be listed as a terrorist organization on the roster of highly criminal actors in the world.

The enormous destabilizing operation of the IRGC endangering the lives of innocent people in all around the world, require immediate tight national measures and international cooperation. The delicta juris gentium by the IRGC requires an immediate response. International law has provided a clear and practical response to the crime of terrorism.

If your office has any questions, they may contact the undersigned at any time.

Sincerely yours,

Mahmoud Masaeli, Ph.D.

Professor of International Law, Human Rights, and Global Ethics (Ottawa and Carleton universities), Canada

Executive Director of APGC, Consultative Status with ECOSOC



[1] See the UN Office of Counterterrorism.

[2] The UNGA Res. 40/61, 49/60, and 56/1.

[3] The UNGA Res. 1373, 28 September 2001.

[4] International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombing, UNGA Res. 164, U.N. GAOR, 52nd Sess., Supp. No. 49, at 389, U.N. Doc. A/52/49 (1998), entered into force May 23, 2001, article 4.

[5] The UNSC Res. 1456 -2003.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Council Common Position on the application of specific measures to combat terrorism, 27 December 2001. (2001/931/CFSP

[8] Article 51(2) of Additional Protocol I to the 1949 Geneva Convention, confirmed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) as the customary international norms preceding treaty obligations.

[9] The ICC Statute, article 5 (1). Although terrorism is not listed in the ICC Statute, the Court may deal with terrorism under its jurisdiction as the offence that is characterized as a “crime against humanity” in accordance with article 7 of the Statute. Article 7 of the Elements of Crimes adopted by the Assembly of States Parties in September 2002 is also a potential to list terrorist offences as the serious crimes against humanity.

[10] The UN Charter, article 2(4).

[11] House Homeland Security, “State Sponsors of Terrorism: AN Examination of Iran’s Global Terrorism Network, 116thCongress, 2017-2018.

[12] Protocol I Additional to the Geneva Conventions relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflict, 08 June 1977, article 47; International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, and Financing and Training of Mercenaries, UNGA Res. 44/34, December 04, 1989.

[13] Public Safety Canada, Currently Listed Entities. Also, see: Iran’s Islamic revolutionary Guard Crops: Fueling Middle East Turmoil, Hearing before the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representative,02 December 2015.

[14] U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism, Country Reports on Terrorism 2016; Public Safety Canada, Currently Listed Entities; Dan Geist, Canadian Coalition against Terror, Listing the IRGC; Kammergericht, (1) 2 StE 2/93 (19/93); Is there Still a Judge in Berlin? Iran’s Document and Research Archive, Berlin, 2000.

Im Namen des Volkes

[15] Justice Edward P. Belobaba: “The missile attacks on 752 were intentional” and an “act of terrorism”. Superior Court of Justice, Ontario, Zarei v Iran, 2021 ONSC 3377, 2021 ONSC 3377.

[16] The Commander-in-Chief of the IRGC (Hossein Salami) called the crime of shooting down the Ukraine International Airlines PS372 as “the bravest decision by the IRGC in the history of Iran”. The IRGC news agency, Fars, January 18, 2022.

[17] Responsibility of States for Wrongful Acts, Article 1-4, 2001. The document appears in the annex to General Assembly resolution 56/83 of 12 December 2001, and corrected by document A/56/49(Vol. I)/Corr.4

[18] International Law Aspects of Countering Terrorism, the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, 2009, p. 37.

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