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UK House of Commons Urges British FM for IRGC Proscription 

james cleverly commons 09072020 

On Tuesday, January 31, at a parliamentary session in the United Kingdom’s House of Commons, members of the parliament questioned the British Foreign Minister about how the UK is going to respond to the dangers and security threats the Iranian regime poses to the Middle East as well as their country. Demanding certain actions from the British government, the MPs stressed that London must proscribe the Iranian regime’s Revolutionary Guards Corps for its gross human rights violations, spreading terror around the globe and destabilizing the region. 

Regarding the Iranian regime’s nuclear ambitions, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Affairs James Cleverly said: “Iran continues to escalate its nuclear activities and in doing so threatens international peace and security. We continue to work closely with our international friends and allies to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. The option of engaging more usefully with the joint comprehensive plan of action is in the hands of the Iranians, but they have spectacularly failed to grasp that opportunity.” 

Responding to Michael Fabricant (Lichfield/Con) concerning the UK’s recent assessment of the implications of the Iranian regime’s nuclear capabilities Mr. Cleverly also added: “It is in their gift to alleviate the sanctions imposed upon them through their actions, but they have spectacularly failed to do so. We reserve the right to take further such actions if they do not desist from their attempt to acquire nuclear weapons.”  

As next, Ruth Cadbury (Brentford and Isleworth/Lab) asked how the UK is dealing with the military threat to its allies from Iran through its proxies and through its arms trade and arms sales and what the government is doing to counter the flow of Iranian drones to Russia that aims to support the war against Ukraine.  

“Iran’s actions, both through militia proxies in the region and through the supply of military weapons to Russia that are then used in Ukraine, are completely unacceptable,” Mr. Cleverly replied. “We have implemented more than 50 new sanctions designations in recent months in response to Iranian human rights abuses and its military support to Russia. We will continue to work closely with our international partners to take further actions to make it clear that that behavior is unacceptable.” 

Answering Greg Smith (Buckingham/Con) about the UK’s assessment of the regime’s Revolutionary Guard Corps’ role in the region, the British Foreign Minister stated:The Government wholly condemns the destabilising activity of the IRGC in the region and beyond. That includes support for military proxies and attacks and threats against Iran’s regional neighbors. We have put in place more than 300 sanctions against Iranian individuals and entities, including the sanctioning of the IRGC in its entirety.” 

As Mr. Smith further pushed the British FM on major groundswell calls for the UK to proscribe the IRGC in recent months because of its arming and financing terror proxies, assisting the murderous assault on Ukraine, intensifying involvement in the international drugs trade, and increasing security threats posing to the UK, Mr. Cleverly responded that he can ensure the MPs that the UK does “not limit ourselves to the actions that he has announced when it comes to ensuring that the IRGC’s regional and international activities are curtailed.” 

When Mr. David Lammy (Tottenham/Lab) asked about the UK’s decision to proscribe the IRGC because of the regime’s hostage-taking policy, supporting violent militia activities across the Middle East, the brutal crackdown on courageous Iranian protesters, Mr. Cleverly responded: “We have already sanctioned more than 300 individuals and entities because of the crackdown on protesters and the brave women in Iran standing up for their rights. We have sanctioned members of the judiciary who have abused their own legal system to persecute those women. We have sanctioned individuals and entities who have been involved in supplying drones that Russia uses to attack Ukraine. We have sanctioned the prosecutor general, who was responsible for passing down the judgment on Mr Akbari. We will continue to take action to curtail the IRGC’s ability to do those things. As I have said, we do not limit ourselves to the responses that I have announced. We always keep our options under review.” 

During the debate, Mr. Sammy Wilson (East Antrim/DUP) said: Since September, the Iranian regime has murdered 700 of its own citizens, gunning them down in the streets, arrested and imprisoned 30,000—many of them were tortured in prison—executed two, with another 57 due to be executed, and carried out acts of terror, including in this country, through the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Is it not time that the Government made it clear to the Iranian regime that, first, we will not negotiate any deals with them—nuclear or otherwise—to lift sanctions; secondly, we will refer members of the regime to the International Court of Justice; and, thirdly, we will proscribe the IRGC?” 

Mr. Bob Blackman (Harrow East/Con) also said: “Reports suggest that 56 people have been executed in Tehran for the mere crime of protesting against the regime. Yesterday, the Azerbaijan embassy was attacked, and one security guard was murdered. So will my right hon. Friend examine the security for our embassy over there, encourage our nationals to leave Iran as quickly as possible, close our embassy down, and close down the Iranian embassy in London and all the other facilities it runs?” 

Questioned by Mr. Jeff Smith (Manchester, Withington/Lab)about certain actions that the UK government will take against the IRGC, Mr. Cleverly stressed: “We have imposed a series of new sanctions in the last couple of months, specifically in response to the Iranian regime’s persecution of its own people and in response to its supply of drone weapons to Russia for use against Ukraine, and in relation to the executions of protesters, the execution of Mr. Akbari, and to the regime’s malign activities in the region. I am willing to do more, but what I have said is that I will not speculate about what that might be. I can put something in the Library if it will help, just to make sure that the actions we have taken are fully understood by the House.”