Pro-Israel MPs have given their support to a parliamentary committee’s recommendation that the major branch of Iran’s military be proscribed as a terrorist group.
The latest call for the British Government to brand as terrorists the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its 200,000 military personnel came in this week’s Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) report.
An 11-member committee, chaired by Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat and with a Conservative majority, its fifth report on Iran this week was by far its most strident.
“We recommend proscribing the IRGC in its entirety for its clear and enduring support for terrorists and non-state actors working to undermine stability in the region,” the committee wrote.
Believed to be the most powerful branch of Iran’s military, the IRGC controls strategic arms and geographic positions, patrols the world’s busiest oil lane through the Strait of Hormuz. It also oversees the Quds Force, which acts throughout the Middle East in support of militias, including on Israel’s borders.
Tugendhat said the IRGC met the criteria for proscription in the Terrorism Act 2000, and while any decision will be taken by the Foreign Secretary, Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) were quick to press the case.
“We strongly endorse the recommendations,” said CFI grandees. “It reinforces the UK’s long overdue need for a strategic rethink in our approach to Iran. The IRGC has been front and centre of Iran’s malign regional activities and we join the FAC by reiterating our call for the IRGC to be proscribed as a matter of urgency.”
Tugendhat said proscription was “a natural next step in response to it bankrolling and bolstering of terrorism,” adding: “Its destructive philosophy and violence within Iran and across the region make a compelling case.”
Despite CFI’s calls, it remains highly unlikely that the UK Government will proscribe the IRGC, but it highlights deteriorating relations between London and Tehran, a trend that is set to continue if – as expected – Iran’s presidential election in six months’ time results in a hardliner replacing Hassan Rouhani.
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