LFI chair Steve McCabe MP and CFI chair Stephen Crabb MP have written the below article for the Daily Telegraph. Click here to read the original.
As it clings on to power with ever greater desperation, deploying unimaginable violence against its own citizens for daring to call for greater freedoms, the brutal regime in Tehran has just marked the 44th anniversary of the Iranian revolution. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have been the enforcers and exporters of this revolution since 1979, and in so doing have become the world’s pre-eminent terror organisation. There is no terror group in the world which can boast such a formidable reputation for destabilisation and thirst for bloodshed.
Possessing a multi-billion dollar business empire across the Iranian state, the IRGC’s resources are plentiful and it uses them to deadly effect. It is a principal protagonist in some of the world’s most bloody conflicts. Its terror franchises Hezbollah and Hamas are the de-facto rulers of Lebanon and Gaza respectively, inflicting immeasurable suffering. Violence targeting Israel can be sanctioned at the behest of the Iranian regime at any point. Hezbollah’s accumulation of an estimated 150,000 missiles wouldn’t have been possible without the IRGC. It is now fastidiously seeking to upgrade this arsenal with precision-guided systems to ensure maximum destructive capabilities.
Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine has been aided by Iran’s provision of hundreds of deadly suicide drones to President Putin, and now, reportedly, ballistic missiles. The IRGC is also the key actor in Iran’s march towards developing a nuclear weapon. There is also a growing understanding about the depth and breadth of the IRGC’s involvement in the international drugs trade.
The UK has subjected the IRGC (and the Iranian regime) to an escalating set of sanctions over the last few months. This is welcome but it is the very least the group’s activities deserve. The continuing failure to proscribe it is indefensible. This inaction has led to an emboldened IRGC. It is now brazenly conducting ever more activities in the UK, presenting a clear and immediate threat. Its involvement in the attempted kidnap and killing of UK-based individuals was dramatically revealed by MI5 last year. A ring of steel was erected by police to protect London-based journalists covering Iran’s heinous repression of human rights protests across the Islamic Republic.
A number of Islamic centres in the UK have also been publicly linked to the IRGC. Photos appearing to show British children celebrating arch-IRGC terror leader Qassem Soleimani as a “martyr” are particularly chilling.
UK security services have done an outstanding job of preventing an IRGC-backed attack in the UK, but the group only needs to be lucky once. One such attempted bomb attack back in 2015 by the IRGC’s Hezbollah proxy was sufficient to lead to that group’s proscription, and yet the wait goes on for decisive action against the organisation that likely signed it off in the first place: the IRGC.
The benefits of proscription are many. Criminalising the IRGC would decisively curtail its activities in the UK – disrupting funding streams, and ending its attempts to promote home-grown extremism. There is near unanimous support for proscription in Parliament. It has united members in a way that precious few issues do. It is not lost on British parliamentarians that the IRGC was behind a recent foiled plot to kill cross-party MPs at an opposition rally in Paris. A Government’s number one duty is to protect its citizens. It is time that our Government got on with that task.