Labour MPs raise threat from Iran

A number of LFI MPs and their colleagues have today used a backbench business debate in the House of Commons on the treatment of protestors in Iran to push the government to adopt a more comprehensive strategy towards Iran.

In the debate, LFI vice-chair John Spellar MP twice repeated LFI’s longstanding policy ask of proscribing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Tehran’s ideological terror army, as a terrorist group. Spellar pointed to the example of the proscription of Hezbollah in 2019, where the government similarly dragged its feet in making and imposing a decision.

PLP chair John Cryer MP similarly expressed his frustration at the slow pace of progress towards IRGC proscription, asking ministers: “I can’t see exactly what’s stopping [you] from finally making that decision?”

LFI parliamentary supporter Fleur Anderson MPĀ echoed the recommendations of LFI’s 2022 pamphlet, Iran: A Darkening Picture at Home and Abroad in calling for the IRGC to be proscribed, for the UK’s sanctions against Iranian human rights abusers to be expanded, including against those responsible for the 2019 crackdown against protestors, and to “speak the truth plainly when calling out Tehran’s malign behaviour including being bold enough to label the regime’s state hostage-taking policies for what they really are”.

Fleur’s calls were echoed by LFI parliamentary supporter and former international development secretary Hilary Benn MP, who drew attention to the regime’s “state policy” of “holding dual nationals hostage”, something the UK government has repeatedly failed to call out for what it is.

LFI parliamentary supporter Lilian Greenwood MP similarly spoke in the debate, calling for the government to “set out how [the UK] plans to hold the Iranian regime to account for its gross human rights violations” including joining the US in proscribing the IRGC, including tackling IRGC activity in the UK, and imposing further sanctions.

Aside from responding to the ongoing protests, LFI parliamentary supporter Christian Wakeford drew attention to the ongoing, and often neglected, threat posed by Iran’s nuclear ambitions. In doing so, he pushed for “new, innovative ways to address” Tehran’s nuclear activity in collaboration with international allies, in the absence of a functioning JCPOA, which he declared “dead for three years”.

Finally, Wakeford also used the debate to highlight the Iranian regime’s record of spomsoring antisemitism and Holocaust denial, alongside its “very negative approach not just towards the State of Israel but Jewish people across the world”.