Senior Tories have warned that elements of the pro-Palestine movement in the UK are linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), “the radical arm of the Iranian Government”.
Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith and ex-Defence Select Committee Chair Tobias Ellwood spoke to Express.co.uk following news that pro-Palestine activists were planning to bus demonstrators down to London on Remembrance Day.
Mr Ellwood said that groups sympathetic to Tehran are exploiting the war between Israel and Hamas to lead impressionable young people astray.
He explained: “It’s very clear that some UK-based pro-Iran organisations are using events in the Middle East to sow tensions through disinformation often directed at the younger age group.
“There needs to be a concerted effort to avoid students being fed a false narrative. As this is not only fuelling ever more violent protests but could lead to some individuals being radicalised.”
READ MORE Top Tory makes urgent plea for Met to block Remembrance Day protest
The Bournemouth East MP’s sentiments were shared by Sir Iain, who said the failure to proscribe the IRGC as a terrorist organisation explains Iran’s ability to operate in the UK.
He said: “Many of us feel that the IRGC are deeply involved in the UK, that they ferment this problem amongst young people, some of them work through the mosques.
“They’re free to operate in the UK, and they do that. They are the radical arm of the Iranian Government, they’re almost a law unto themselves.”
The MP for Chingford and Woodford Green, who is outspoken on foreign policy issues, said that Britain must take the lead from the US and proscribe the IRGC, also known as the Pasdaran, as a terrorist entity.
Nuclear disaster warning after ‘drones shot down near Ukraine power plant'[INSIGHT]
Met Police ‘tear down posters of Hamas hostages’ in bid to reduce tensions[REVEAL]
Moment Met Police officers pull down Jewish hostage posters from shop front[WATCH]
- Advert-free experience without interruptions.
- Rocket-fast speedy loading pages.
- Exclusive & Unlimited access to all our content.
In June 2023, President Biden imposed sanctions on IRGC officials accused of plotting to assassinate former US national security adviser John Bolton and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. In 2019, the Trump administration listed the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organisation.
Sir Iain said of the UK’s failure to follow in America’s footsteps: “The British Government is sadly beginning to look sort of weak.
“The truth is they [IRGC] operate freely now in the UK, it’s giving the UK a very bad reputation.”
The Tory grandee and Northern Ireland veteran explained that the British intelligence community and Home Office are desperate to see the Pasdaran proscribe, because failure to do so makes controlling the group’s influence in the UK more challenging.
This comes as pro-Palestinian activists plot to descend on the capital on Armistice Day, threatening to disrupt what is the UK’s most significant remembrance event.
Mr Ellwood, who was a British Army Captain and also served in Northern Ireland, amongst other places, said that any such disruption would be “highly inappropriate”.
He said: “Remembrance Day is when the nation pauses to reflect on past sacrifices of those who served to defend our freedoms democratic values and of way of life.
“And it’s an opportunity to say thank you to our gallant Armed Forces for all they do to keep our nation safe.
“It is an apolitical event that reaches across faiths, cultures and backgrounds. And regardless of anyone’s views of the challenging situation unfolding in the Middle East, it would be highly inappropriate for any form of national demonstration to overshadow the nation’s customary moment of reflection, where every community in the country pauses to give thanks for the sacrifice of for those who wore the uniform and those who wear it today.”
Reform leader Richard Tice called for the protests to be banned as he claimed they were “designed to incite hate and violence”.
Organisers from conservative campaigning organisation Turning Point UK described the plans for a pro-Palestine protest as “shocking”.
The group’s CEO Jack Ross explained that his group has asked people “to stand up for British heroes on the 11th of November, by peacefully surrounding the Cenotaph to ensure that Armistice Day is not hijacked by extremists who despise our country.
“We have asked that on the day those who attend our event dress smartly, not chant, and not to bring any flags or banners out of respect for the fallen. Our aim is not to antagonise, but to protect the legacy of those who sacrificed their lives for us.”
Protesters have vowed not to demonstrate in the area of the Cenotaph. In a statement, Friends of Al-Aqsa, the group organising the protest, said: “We definitely will not be at the Cenotaph. We understand the sensitivity of the date.”
Source: Read Full Article
U.S. Covid Hospitalizations on Cusp of First Decline in Months
Parental rights bill: Teach kindergartners the ABCs, not S-E-X
In South Carolina, Nikki Haley and Tim Scott Appeal to the Same Donors, and the Same Voters
Op-ed: China is stepping up its diplomatic bravado, testing how hard Biden will push back
Afghanistan aftermath: Democrats send letter to Blinken urging safe return of American citizens, SIV holders