The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Ed Davey, has added his voice to the chorus calling for the government to proscribe Iran’s brutal Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist group because of its links to Hamas.
In a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak shared with the JC, Davey noted that while there has not been confirmation that the IRGC was involved in the deadly attack on Israel, the Iranian group has “funded and directly supported” Hamas “for some time”.
“As funders and exporters of terrorism (including the funding of Hamas) the case for proscribing the IRGC is clear,” Davey said.
The government has come under mounting pressure this year to designate the IRGC a terror group, making it illegal to be a member or supporter in the UK.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman is understood to be redoubling her efforts to have the IRGC banned as a terrorist organisation after Hamas thanked the group for providing it with the weapons to "destroy Zionist fortresses".
Sunak has resisted pressure to label it as such over recent months, with Foreign Secretary James Cleverly also opposed, arguing it is not in Britain's best interests.
In his letter to the Prime Minister Davey wrote: “We have all been deeply shocked to see the terrible violence and terrorism in Israel and Palestine. The reprehensible terrorism of Hamas is utterly condemnable.
“It has not been confirmed whether Iran, or the IRGC had a direct role in the atrocities we have seen unfold over the past few days. We do know, however, that Hamas - which is a proscribed terrorist organisation under UK law - has been funded and directly supported by the IRGC for some time.”
He continued: “The UK Government has already put on record ‘its concerns over the continued destabilising activity of the [IRGC]’. In Iran itself, the IRGC has carried out egregious human rights abuses for decades. In the UK just last year, Iran was linked to ten threats to kidnap or kill UK-based individuals. And across the Middle East, Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee has described the IRGC as ‘exporters of terrorism, regionally and internationally’.
“As funders and exporters of terrorism (including the funding of Hamas) the case for proscribing the IRGC is clear. It has also been recommended by Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.”
He concluded: “Liberal Democrats support the proscription of the IRGC as a terrorist organisation. It is the right thing to do. And it would send a strong signal to the Iranian regime that their continued funding of terrorist activities across the region will not be tolerated.”
Proscribing the IRGC would make it a criminal offence in the UK to attend the group’s meetings, display its logo in public or encourage its activities.