Biden Diplomats Trying to Block U.K. Plan to Designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as Terror Group
Biden administration diplomats are trying to block a U.K. plan that would see Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) designated as a terror group, despite the fact that the U.S. took similar steps during the Trump administration.
The U.S. State Department, which is currently trying to revive the defunct Iran Nuclear deal, believes that the U.K. can play a key role as interlocutors and fears that role would be undermined by designating the IRGC a terror group, according to a new report from The Telegraph.
The move would harden the U.K.’s position against Iran and deal a blow to international talks, supported by the Biden administration, that are aimed at reviving the 2015 deal, which the U.S. withdrew from under President Trump.
Designating the IRGC a terrorist group would make it a criminal offense to belong to the organization, attend meetings, or otherwise encourage support of its activities. Even displaying the organization’s logo or flag in public would be criminalized. It is a formal legal process carried out under a U.K. law known as the Terrorism Act 2000.
Prominent proscribed terrorist groups in the U.K. include Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Irish Republican Army.
The government not only assesses a group’s terrorist activities abroad, but also the specific threat to U.K. citizens.
In a rare public address in November of last year, MI5 director Ken McCallum asserted that instability in Iran has real-world consequences in the U.K.
“Iran projects threat to the U.K. directly, through its aggressive intelligence services. At its sharpest this includes ambitions to kidnap or even kill British or U.K.-based individuals perceived as enemies of the regime,” explained McCallum. “We have seen at least ten such potential threats since January [of 2022] alone.”
U.S. intervention is now being used from sectors of the U.K. government to undermine the plan to proscribe the IRGC, originally proposed by the Home Office. U.K. foreign secretary James Cleverly has questioned the move and
the Foreign Office has pointed to the IRGC’s centrality within Iran.
A decision was expected in January, but the news that the Foreign and Home Offices are at loggerheads clarifies the reason for the delay. The final call now rests upon prime minister Rishi Sunak’s shoulders.
Nile Gardiner, director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at The Heritage Foundation, condemned the implications of the news.
“This is absolutely disgraceful. The Biden Administration is groveling to the terrorist regime in Tehran,” Gardiner said.