UK-Israel group urges British government to proscribe Iranian military corps

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UK-Israel group urges British government to proscribe Iranian military corps

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps should be banned in the UK just as it is in the US, argues Israel Britain Alliance

Students hold a protest after the killing of the powerful Iranian Maj Gen Qassim Suleimani in a drone strike in 2020 (Photo by Rana Sajid Hussain / Pacific Press/Sipa USA)
Students hold a protest after the killing of the powerful Iranian Maj Gen Qassim Suleimani in a drone strike in 2020 (Photo by Rana Sajid Hussain / Pacific Press/Sipa USA)

A pro-Israel group in the UK has reissued its call for the British government to proscribe Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which is already on the United States’ terror blacklist.

Israel Britain Alliance (IBA) said the 200,000-strong Iranian corps was “a militia used to conduct and facilitate terror attacks, hostage-taking, and assassinations”.

IBA director Michael McCann said ministers “should be praised for banning Hezbollah in 2019 and Hamas in 2021 but the IRGC funds and supplies arms to both organisations, which means our government’s work is incomplete”.

He added that the IRGC’s combined aims were “to eradicate Israel and spread their world view across the Middle East and Gulf States”, which meant it was “a threat to peace and wider UK interests”.

Des Starritt, director of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), said it was “unbelievable” that Westminster had not yet designated the IRGC a terrorist entity, saying this would “delegitimise Tehran’s attempts to present it as a conventional armed force”.

The IRGC is the major branch of Iran’s military. In 2020 the Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) recommended that it be proscribed as a terrorist group, as did Conservative Friends of Israel.

The 11-member committee, chaired by Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat and with a Conservative majority, said: “We recommend proscribing the IRGC in its entirety for its clear and enduring support for terrorists and non-state actors working to undermine stability in the region.”

The IRGC controls strategic arms and geographic positions, patrols the world’s busiest oil lane through the Strait of Hormuz, and oversees the expeditionary Quds Force, which supports militias throughout the region, including on Israel’s borders.

Tugendhat said the IRGC met the criteria for proscription in the Terrorism Act 2000, and that it was “a natural next step”. Any decision is taken by the Foreign Secretary.

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