‘The era of the Jews will soon be at an end,’ IRGC chief tells London audience

In January 2021, the Islamic Student Association of Britain hosted an online talk from Saeed Ghasemi


Holding copies of the Quran above their heads, hundreds of Islamic radicals pledge their allegiance to the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. In front of them, a robed imam praises the martyrs who “bled red” for the “axis of resistance” and who are “the greatest threat to the Zionists”.

He tells the assembled crowd of men in Palestinian scarves and women in hijabs: “[You are the] the ideological front, the spiritual frontline… You and I have been entrusted with the responsibility of making sure that these Satanic agendas and policies do not expand to our lands. We need to stop them here.”

This display of zealotry took place not in Tehran or Qom, but in an Edwardian former Methodist church in the quiet, gentrified back streets of Hammersmith, west London, last month.

It is here, just a mile from Holland Park synagogue and yards from Godolphin and Latymer girls’ school — attended by Boris Johnson’s wife, Nigella Lawson and Davina McCall — that senior commanders in Iran’s brutal Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have been spreading their extremist agenda.

The former church, now known as Kanoon Towhid, which means “centre for monotheism” in Farsi, is the home of the Islamic Student Association of Britain. This, a JC investigation can reveal, is the latest front in the Iranian regime’s battle to spread its influence in Britain, as the government continues to ignore calls to outlaw the IRGC as a terrorist organisation.

Since 2020, the Islamic Student Association, which has branches on university campuses in Bradford, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Cambridge, has hosted at least eight high-level IRGC officials and commanders, including several who are on Britain’s official sanctions list for human rights abuses.

Among its most prominent speakers, broadcast on its online social media feeds, was Saeed Ghasemi, a top commander in the IRGC’s feared plainclothes branch, the “Lebas Shakhsi”, whose job is to hunt down critics of the regime who may be jailed, tortured or killed.

Ghasemi has boasted that he helped train al-Qaeda terrorists in the years before 9/11. “We were side by side with al-Qaeda,” he told Iranian TV.  “The members of al-Qaeda learned from us… We established Muslim jihadi units.”

In January 2021, during lockdown, the Islamic Student Association of Britain hosted an online talk from Ghasemi for students in the UK and Europe. The talk, watched more than 25,000 times online, heralded an “an apocalyptic war” between the Iranian regime and its enemies, and boasted of Ghasemi’s work with al-Qaeda in Bosnia. If he and his comrades had not been “betrayed”,  he claimed, the IRGC and its terror mastermind Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone strike in 2020, would have set up their headquarters there.

“From there we could have taken over one after another the European countries you are studying in,” he boasted.

He also said that the Islamic State terror group was created by the “central headquarters of the Americans, British and the Jews, and deployed by the Saudis and the Zionists”. He added: “They directed this movement.”

Speaking about the Holocaust, he said: “The one that the Jews say happened is fake. The real Holocaust happened in my country in the First World War, 1917-19, when the UK occupied Iran.”

He also discussed the “martyrdom” of Soleimani and Imad Mughniyeh, the Hezbollah terror chief killed in 2008.

His lecture then took an esoteric — though no less chilling — turn. He spoke of the return of the Imam Mahdi, a 9th- century figure whom Shia Muslims believe will reappear one day to wage an apocalyptic war against non-Muslims and rid the world of evil.

“Soleimani’s blood gives us a positive energy,” Ghasemi told his audience. “His pieces were spread among millions of hearts across the Islamic world and you can no longer prevent or stop this.

“This energy became radiant, and millions of Qasem Soleimani’s — and millions of Imad Mughniyeh’s — followers were nurtured. This will bring an end to the life of the oppressors and occupiers, Zionists and Jews across the world.

“We are going for an apocalyptic war, and its conclusion will be the return of Imam Mahdi…

“God willing, myself and you good students in Europe will be written in the beautiful list of the soldiers of the resistance front tonight, Imam Mahdi will approve it, and we will have a share in the apocalyptic victory.”

Another speaker was Hossein Yekta, also from the IRGC’s Lebas Shakhsi division, whose online talk was introduced by the UK student organisation’s chair in September 2020.

Yekta had previously claimed that Jews “created homosexuality, are destroying the environment, are destroying the family”. The world has entered the “preface to the apocalypse”, he has claimed, and the “era of the Jews” will soon be at an end.

His online talk to the British Islamic student group, viewed more than 1,500 times on Instagram alone, urged UK-based students to “raise the flag of the Islamic Revolution, Islam and martyrdom”. They must see themselves as “holy warriors in the field of knowledge”, he urged, and be ready to fight alongside the Mahdi.

Yekta added: “You, as students of the Islamic associations, are studying at a time when universities have become the battlefront.

“You have become young soft-war officers, who must convey our message, which is from the blood of our men, to all the world… The youth of tomorrow must prepare themselves for governance of the awaiting Islamic civilisation. [You have] a global mission, a civilisational mission.”

Despite a supposed clampdown on such activities — in May, the Islamic Centre of England (ICE), dubbed the “London office” of IRGC, is facing a Charity Commission inquiry — the Hammersmith-based centre appears to be operating unchecked.

The organisation has undisguised links to the Iranian regime.

Its building is co-owned by former ICE director Seyed Hashem Moosavi, a personal representative of Ayatollah Khamenei. Its chair, Mohammad Hussain Ataee Dolat Abadi, was granted a rare audience with Khamenei himself in Tehran in January, and his talks have been promoted by the Student Basij Organisation, an IRGC offshoot, which is sanctioned by the European Union.

In recent weeks, the group has held a series of further rallies at its London headquarters, hosting Australian imam Shaykh Moutaz al-Wehwah.

Al-Wehwah has called the Charity Commission’s inquiry into the ICE “a vile aggression, a vile attack on your rights to freedom of expression… an attack on your very identity as Muslims in the UK”. Targeting the “agents of your enemies,” he went on: “You need to crush with no mercy the vile creatures, the agents who swim amongst you…  Remember their faces, remember every damn single one of them.”

A range of MPs, community groups and security experts have expressed deep concern.

Former MI6 chief Richard Dearlove called it “deeply troubling”, adding: “The IRGC should be a proscribed organisation under our counter terrorist legislation.”

The JC approached the Islamic Student Associations and Mohammad Hussain Ataee Dolat Abadi, for comment.

In a statement issued this week by the Islamic Student Associations of Britain after the publication of this story, Abadi said he has not been the chair of this group since October 2022.

However, as of January 2023 he remained the chair of its parent organisation, the Union of Islamic Students Associations in Europe, according to Ayatollah Khamenei’s official website.

The statement from Abadi said: "I am no longer chair of the 'Islamic Students Associations of Britain' and have not been since 1/10/2022, which is when elections took place.

"Islamic Students Associations have never had any direct or indirect affiliation to the IRGC or any army, government or security group anywhere in the world and neither have I."

He added: Islamic Students Associations have never held any physical gathering/deminar/conference in Kanoon Towhid or anywhere else with any of the falsely accused individuals."

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