BAN Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, US urges Britain

BAN Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, US urges Britain: America tells Rishi Sunak to designate the IRGC as terrorists after Tehran-backed Hamas attacked Israel

The US is urging Britain to class Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as terrorists after it was accused of being complicit in Hamas’ lethal attack on Israel.

Following his visit to the war torn region, Joe Biden is urging other country’s to follow his lead and ‘designate the IRGC as a terrorist organisation’.

The US prescribed the Iranian state’s security body as a terrorist orgnisation in 2019 and now several Tory MPs urging Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to take the same steps.

Meanwhile, a Whitehall source claimed senior US officials had privately calling for the UK along with other western allies to make the legal change which would mean it becomes a criminal offence in the UK to belong to the group or support its activities.

Matthew Miller, the US State Department’s official spokesman, told the Telegraph: ‘We absolutely think that other countries should designate the IRGC as a terrorist organisation.

‘It’s a position that we’ve made clear a number of times. They finance terrorist activities, they have around the world for some time, and we think that other countries should take that step of designating them.’

The US is urging Britain to class Iran ‘s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as terrorists after it was accused of being complicit in Hamas ‘ lethal attack on Israel. Pictured: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and President Joe Biden in September 

The US prescribed the Iranian state’s security body as a terrorist orgnisation in 2019. Pictured: Members of the IRCG last April 

MP Liam Fox, the former defence secretary who has been calling for the group to be proscribed since before the conflict erupted, said: ‘The view from the American government can not be clearer, that they expect their allies to act and act swiftly to proscribe the IRGC.’

It follows calls from the Government’s counter-extremism tsar Robin Simcok, who said it was ‘unsustainable’ for support of the group to remain legal.

The IRGC was founded as a custodian of Iran’s 1979 revolution but has since grown into a major, political and economic force for the country. 

Rumblings about the IRGC becoming a terrorist orgaisaiton in the UK have been ongoing for months now – with Whitehall sources claiming in January that the move would be imminent. 

It followed reports of Iranian hit squads targeting British-Iranian journlaists in London and the arrests of several people in the UK in relation to anti-government protests in the country. 

Last week senior members of Hamas told the Wall Street Journal that IRGC officers had been working with the Palestinian militant group since August to devise the October 7 attack in Israel. 

Ali Fadavi, the IRGC’s deputy commander, said: ‘The resistance front’s shocks against the Zionist regimes will continue until this ‘cancerous tumour’ is eradicated from the world map.’

It comes as Mr Sunak warned that the Israel-Hamas war, which has been ongoing for two weeks now, risks unleashing a ‘contagion of conflict’ across the Middle East.

Hamas has claimed the IRGC has been working with the Palestinian militant group since August to coordinate its attack on Israel on October 7

The Government’s counter-extremism tsar Robin Simcok, who said it was ‘unsustainable’ for support of the group to remain legal 

Since the war erupted, 1,400 Israelis are known to have died with dozens more missing, feared dead or held hostage by the terrorist group.

Meanwhile, 4,300 are said to have been killed in Gaza, which has been blocked and bombarded by Israel in retaliation, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. This includes the disputed toll from a hospital explosion. 

Mr Sunak, who visited Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt for talks with key regional players this week, said the leaders agreed ‘we need to do everything possible’ to prevent the spread of the war.

He said his two-day visit to the region demonstrated ‘that the UK stands in solidarity with them against terrorism’ and that ‘there can be no justification’ for the atrocities committed by Hamas.

‘I wanted to sit down with other leaders and talk face to face. Because in times of tension and division, it’s more important than ever to accelerate diplomatic efforts,’ he added.

He said the opening of the border crossing with Egypt to allow an aid convoy into the Gaza Strip was an example of what could be achieved.

‘The reopening of the Rafah crossing into Gaza is testament to the power of diplomacy, with the US, Israel and Egypt brokering an agreement to ensure vital aid reaches the Palestinian people.

‘We’re working closely with Egypt to ensure that the UK plays our part in ensuring those Palestinians get the food, water and medicine they so desperately need.

‘The overwhelming view I got from everyone I spoke to this week was that we need to do everything possible to stop a contagion of conflict in the region.

LONDON: A woman attends the pro-Palestinian march while holding a placard

LEEDS: People gather following the pro-Palestine march  yesterday

BIRMINGHAM: Protestors hold up Free Palestine signs as they march through the city centre yesterday 

SALFORD: Protest for Palestinian rights held outside the BBC headquarters at Salford Quays Manchester

‘We need to keep our aspirations for a more peaceful and stable future firmly in our sights as we work together to defeat the evil of terrorism.’

His comments came after 100,000 people marched through central London in support of the Palestinian people in response to Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said he wanted Britons trapped in Gaza to be able to leave through the Rafah crossing but acknowledged it was not yet safe enough to do so.

‘Ultimately, we want to see the Rafah crossing safe enough that foreign nationals in Gaza are able to leave,’ he told the Sunday Times.

‘We are only going to call British nationals forward when we are confident that there will be a long enough period for them to credibly, safely leave Gaza and we are not yet in that position.’

He said officials were working ‘very, very closely with the Egyptian government, with the Qataris and other players in the region – including Israel, of course – to try and get to a situation where there is enough stability, for long enough, to give British nationals a credible opportunity to leave’.

At a peace summit in Cairo on Saturday, Mr Cleverly said Israel had the right to defend itself against Hamas in Gaza.

But with the Israeli military preparing a ground offensive, Mr Cleverly said they needed to show ‘discipline, professionalism and restraint’ in actions against Hamas.

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in the Tal Al-Hawa neighbourhood in Gaza on Friday

Supplies of basic essentials, like food and clean water, are in dire supply in Gaza

‘The UK is clear and has been consistently clear that Israel has the right to self-defence and the right to secure the release of those who were kidnapped on October 7,’ Mr Cleverly said.

‘And we are also clear that we must work, and they must work, to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza, and that their actions are in accordance with international law.’

Mr Cleverly said he had raised the need to protect civilians with the Tel Aviv government.

He added: ‘Despite the incredibly difficult circumstances, I have called for discipline and professionalism and restraint from the Israeli military.’

 The frontier with Egypt at Rafah was opened on Saturday morning to let 20 trucks of desperately needed aid flow to Palestinians running short of food, medicine and water in the territory. 

Hundreds of foreign passport-holders have been trying to leave the besieged territory.

 ActionAid Palestine spokeswoman Riham Jafari said the Rafah crossing convoy was ‘barely a drop in the ocean’ and called for a ceasefire and the opening of humanitarian corridors.

‘Aid trucks also did not bring with them the fuel needed to power hospitals, keep ambulances moving, or to pump water from the ground,’ she added. 

Israeli soldiers listen to Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant as he meets them in a field near Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel October 19, 2023

People brandish rifles and Palestinian flags during a march to show solidarity with the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip on October 18, 2023, in the Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital Sanaa

People set a US and an Israeli flag on fire during a march to show solidarity with the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip on October 18, 2023, in the Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital Sanaa

Palestinians search the destroyed annex of the Greek Orthodox Saint Porphyrius Church, the oldest church still in use in Gaza, damaged in a strike on Gaza City on October 20, 2023

The opening of the Rafah crossing followed another major development when Hamas freed an American woman and her teenage daughter it had held hostage in the Gaza Strip, the first such release from among around 200 people the militant group abducted during its October 7 raids on southern Israel. 

Hamas said it released Judith Raanan and her 17-year-old daughter Natalie for humanitarian reasons in an agreement with the Qatar government. 

Mr Cleverly said: ‘We are grateful to the governments who are seeking to intercede on behalf of those held hostage and those foreign nationals who are trapped in Gaza, and we are grateful for the work to ensure that the humanitarian aid – which much which many of us have partially funded – reaches those Gazans who are deeply in need.’ 

In London, pro-Palestinian protesters chanted ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’, despite an ongoing controversy around the slogan’s meaning. 

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has previously branded the slogan anti-Semitic and claimed it is ‘widely understood’ to call for the destruction of Israel. 

But the Metropolitan Police said ‘while we can envisage scenarios where chanting these words could be unlawful’ – such as outside a synagogue or Jewish school – its use in a wider protest ‘would not be an offence and would not result in arrests’.

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