British MPs Urge Designating Iran's IRGC as Terrorist Organization

British MPs call for Iran's IRGC to be designated as a terrorist group, citing alleged plots against Israel, UK Jews, and journalists. The move aims to allow tougher action against the IRGC's activities amid growing tensions between Iran and the West.

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Mazhar Abbas
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British MPs Urge Designating Iran's IRGC as Terrorist Organization

British MPs Urge Designating Iran's IRGC as Terrorist Organization

British Members of Parliament are calling for Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to be declared a terrorist organization, citing alleged plots by the IRGC against Israel, British Jews, journalists, and Islamic centers. The calls come amid growing concerns over the IRGC's activities and recent attacks by Iran, including a drone strike on Israel in retaliation for an airstrike on an Iranian consulate in Damascus. "The Times" reports that the MPs argue designating the IRGC as a terrorist group would allow the UK to take tougher action against the organization and its activities.

The calls for action against the IRGC follow reports of an Israeli missile strike near the city of Isfahan in Iran, which is home to major military and nuclear facilities. While Iran has downplayed the attack, two U.S. officials have confirmed it took place. The strike is believed to be a response to Iran's recent attack on Israeli territory, which prompted calls for restraint from Israel's allies.

In a related incident, Iranian journalist Pouria Zeraati was stabbed outside his home in southwest London. Investigators believe the three suspects were hired from eastern Europe and flown into the UK to carry out the attack, which is believed to be linked to the Iranian regime. Iran International, the news channel Zeraati works for, has previously been targeted by the IRGC. London has become a hotspot for physical attacks, threats, and intimidation against Iranian reporters living in the capital.

Why this matters: The calls to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization highlight the growing tensions between Iran and Western nations. The incidents also underscore the risks faced by journalists and dissidents who are critical of the Iranian regime, even when living abroad.

The British government has imposed sanctions on members of the IRGC's Unit 840 after an investigation into a plot to kill two Iran International presenters in the UK. However, the UK has stopped short of formally designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization, despite pressure from MPs and the Israeli government. Foreign Secretary David Cameron reportedly told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Israel Katz that doing so would hinder London's ability to communicate with Tehran.

The U.S. and Britain have announced widespread sanctions against Iran's military drone program in response to Iran's weekend attack against Israel. The sanctions target individuals and companies involved in Iran's unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program, as well as components for the drones used in the attack. The European Union has also agreed to expand sanctions on Iranian producers of drones and missiles following Tehran's attack on Israel, which involved more than 300 missiles and drones fired from Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.

A cross-party group of over 50 UK MPs and Lords have called for the IRGC to be designated as a terrorist organization, citing the group's recent attack on Israel as the latest example of its "destructive terror." While the UK has sanctioned the IRGC, it has been reluctant to follow the U.S. in designating it as a terrorist organization, fearing it could disrupt diplomatic channels with Iran. The signatories argue the IRGC poses a growing threat to the UK and accuse its members of stabbing an Iranian dissident in London.

Key Takeaways

  • UK MPs call for IRGC to be designated as terrorist org due to alleged plots
  • Israel strikes Iranian military and nuclear facilities, retaliation for attack on Israel
  • Iranian journalist stabbed in London, linked to Iranian regime's threats against dissidents
  • UK imposes sanctions on IRGC but reluctant to designate as terrorist org, fears disrupting Iran talks
  • US, UK, EU impose sanctions on Iran's drone program after attack on Israel