British pro-Israel groups have renewed their call for a major part of the Iranian military to be designated a terrorist entity by the UK Government, after the killing of an Iranian general by a US drone last week.
On Thursday We Believe in Israel, an initiative of BICOM, a London-based UK-Israel think-tank, launched its campaign for Britain to add the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to its list of terrorist entities.
The IRGC makes up a huge chunk of Iran’s military, employing more than 190,000 armed forces personnel. It comprises ground, navy and air forces, and oversees Iran’s strategic weapons, including long-range missiles.
It also runs a nationwide network of charitable foundations called bonyads, which in turn run a large part of the Iranian economy.
Qassem Suleimani, who was assassinated on 3 January while in Baghdad, led the Quds (Jerusalem) force, which is the elite external operations unit of the IRGC, and ‘We Believe in Israel’ director Luke Akehurst this week said his death showed it was high time that the UK Government added the IRGC to its list of terrorist entities.
“It is astonishing that the UK Government has not designated the IRGC as a terrorist organisation,” he said, “particularly given that Boris Johnson said on 8 January in the House of Commons that Suleimani had ‘the blood of British troops on his hands’ and promoted terrorism.”
In March 2013 the London-based Zionist Federation called for the UK Government to designate the IRGC a terrorist entity, accusing it of siphoning weapons to terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS. US allies later said that Suleimani had done more than anyone to destroy the power and capability of these two groups.
In April last year, the United States designated the IRGC a terrorist entity and former Government minister Lord Eric Pickles this week added his voice to the call for the UK to do the same.