Proscribe the IRGC now
We reported several weeks ago that the Home Office could soon add Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to a list of terrorist groups because it increasingly poses a direct security threat to British and other nationals.
A condition for making it a proscribed organisation is that it is involved directly in terrorist activity, and the IRGC had been linked to a string of attempted attacks on synagogues in Germany. However, ever since proscription was suggested, nothing has happened. The Foreign Office has been accused of blocking the move in order not to jeopardise dialogue with Iran.
We learned at the weekend that an émigré independent TV network, Iran International, is suspending its operations in the UK because of threats against its London-based journalists. The Persian-language channel said that the decision was due to a “significant escalation in state-backed threats from Iran”. They had grown to the point that it was felt it was no longer possible to protect the channel’s staff, despite a significant police presence in the area.
How much more evidence does the Government need? Of course, adding its initials to a list will not halt its activities, but it at least makes clear that they will not be tolerated. It also sends a signal that Britain, along with other democratic countries that have proscribed the IRGC, considers an arm of the Iranian state to be funding terrorism.
This would have implications for further negotiations with Iran over its nuclear programme. But with the regime threatening not just Iranians in Britain but the public at large, the Foreign Office needs to understand these are not people who can be reasoned with, and act accordingly.