The government must ban Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) — which has attacked Jewish targets around the world — in the New Year, community leaders and security experts have said.
The call for the brutal organisation to be proscribed under terrorism legislation came as Foreign Secretary James Cleverly reaffirmed that the IRGC had been sanctioned by the UK “in its entirety”.
Earlier this month, the Government announced penalties against Iranian officials for human rights abuses.
However, Jewish groups, Britain’s former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, and the country’s foremost expert on Iranian regime activities overseas told the JC that the government was not going far enough and further action was needed against a group that is “no different from the likes of Isis or Al-Qaeda”.
The United States has proscribed the IRGC since 2019, as part of its list of “foreign terrorist organisations”. Last month, prosecutors in Germany accused the IRGC of organising a string of attempted terror attacks against Jews in synagogues.
Mr Cleverly confirmed the sanction on Tuesday in response to a question from a member of the public about what the government was “doing about the Iranian regime”.
Stressing that Britain was working on achieving a controversial nuclear deal with Iran, Mr Cleverly posted a video message on Twitter in which he said: “We have sanctioned the IRGC in its entirety”.
Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl told the JC: “We commend the government for its sanctions against the IRGC. We hope the government will now move towards full proscription of this violent and antisemitic organisation.”
Lord Carlile, the UK’s former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, said he supported the demands for the government to proscribe the IRGC as a terrorist group in 2023, and Claudia Mendoza, Co-Chief Executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, said the move was “long overdue”.
Kasra Aarabi, the Iran Programme Lead at the Tony Blair Institute, said: “The IRGC is no different from the likes of Isis or Al-Qaeda.
“It uses indoctrination to radicalise its recruits in a hardline ideology that calls for not only killing Iranians who are opposed to the regime but torturing them before their death.” Mr Aarabi listed the modus operandi of the group as “terrorism, hostage taking, and hijackings”.
He said: “The Guards have for more than 43 years been exporting terrorism not only in the Middle East but across the West in Europe and in America,” Mr Aarabi said.
The UK sanctioned ten Iranian officials connected to Iran’s judicial and prison systems earlier this month, as part of Western efforts to punish the Iranian regime for its ongoing suppression of protesters.
Comments made in the House of Lords on October 13: Lord Palmer, a Vice President of the Jewish Leadership Council, and Liberal-Democrat peer asked: “My Lords, the Revolutionary Guard’s violent oppression against dissidents inside Iran has long extended beyond Iran’s borders. This summer’s attempted murder of Sir Salman Rushdie, last year’s attempted kidnapping of Iranian women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad and numerous foiled plots are only the tip of the iceberg.
“The Revolutionary Guard represents a present danger to anyone the Iranian regime believes is a threat. Does the Minister agree that now is the time to proscribe the Revolutionary Guard to protect civilians outside Iran as well as those within Iran?”