Published On: Tue, Oct 10th, 2023

Iran row over branding IRGC terrorists | World | News

The Home Office will make a new push to proscribe the IRGC amid growing claims they helped plan the deadliest attack on Israel in 50 years – dubbed the country’s “9/11”.

But the Daily Express has been told the Foreign Office will not shift its original position as they believe crippling sanctions on members of the Iranian regime are more effective.

Proscription is also “not designed for state entities”, sources said, despite Home Office ministers believing Iran is the “biggest state sponsor of terror”.

MI5 has accused Iran of plotting the assassination and kidnapping of ten British residents. The regime also executed a British-Iranian man accused of spying in January.

But plans, which first emerged earlier this year, to proscribe the IRGC were stalled after Foreign Office officials insisted sanctions would be more effective.

The Daily Express understands the Home Office will push again for the IRGC to be declared as a terrorist organisation.

Sources within both Hamas and Hezbollah – terrorist organisations involved in devastating attacks on Israel – claimed Iran helped plan the deadliest assault in 50 years.

But a source close to Foreign Secretary James Cleverly told the Daily Express: “This tool, above the many actions already taken, and working, including sanctions, is not designed for state entities, and either doesn’t do anything beyond what is already being done better or does a number of things that would materially harm British interests”.

Tory MPs believe “Iran could not have left more fingerprints on the Hamas atrocities if they tried”, adding the terrorist group is being “bankrolled” by Tehran.

They are demanding the British Government act and put the IRGC on a level with ISIS, Al-Qaeda and the Russian Wagner Group.

Dr Liam Fox, former Defence Secretary, told the Daily Express: “Iran could not have left more fingerprints on the Hamas atrocities if they tried. No excuses left for the U.K. not to proscribe the IRGC.”

Tim Loughton, of the Home Affairs Select Committee, told the Daily Express: “The IRGC is a deeply sinister paramilitary volunteer militia and has its fingerprints on much of Iran’s terrorist supporting activities.

“Just as we need to proscribed the Wagner Group the IRGC is bigger and no less dangerous and needs to be proscribed as a terrorist organisation urgently.”

Tory MP Brendan Clarke-Smith told the Daily Express: “Once again we see Hamas, bankrolled by Iran, murdering innocent civilians.

“The fingerprints of the IRGC are all over this and we can’t ignore their destabilising influence in the region and the wider threat they pose to the world.

“It’s time we proscribed the IRGC and treated them as what they are – a terrorist organisation”.

The Government’s independent terrorism reviewer, Jonathan Hall KC, has previously backed the Foreign Office’s stance.

He said: “Proscription is saying that these groups shouldn’t exist at all, which is quite a difficult concept when it’s a government department.”

It is a criminal offence to be a member of a proscribed organisation, a “key tool” in destroying terrorist organisations, Hall said. However, because officials have immunity from criminal prosecution for acts carried out on behalf of their state, it would not be possible for the British authorities to prosecute members of the IRGC.

British counter-terrorism police and MI5 have foiled at least 15 Iranian plots ot assassinate or kidnap “enemies of the regime” on British soil.

Last November, armed vehicles were deployed outside the Iran International studios in Chiswick, west London, after “severe and credible” threats were made against two of its UK-based channel’s journalists.

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