Iran is one of the largest sponsors of terrorism worldwide. Many people know about Hezbollah and other Iranian backed terror groups, but ignore their controllers, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRG).
The IRG is a branch of Iran’s government committed to protecting Iran’s Islamist revolution. They do this through brutally suppressing democracy at home and by exporting the revolution abroad, generally through terrorism. This is either through the creation of terror groups, for instance Hezbollah in the 1980s, or sending their own operatives into countries including Argentina, Azerbaijan, Georgia, India, Kenya, Venezuela, and the United States. This is often done through the IRG’s external branch, the Quds Force, which has been engaged in terrorist activities as well as training and providing financial support for groups such as Islamic Jihad and Hamas. What’s more, the IRG is a direct threat to Europe and Israel, whom they despise for their opposition to Islamic extremism and their abhorrence of terrorism.
The EU should designate the IRG as a terrorist group. Counter-terrorist experts believe that proscribing terror groups is something that leads to the choking off of funds to these organizations, their key members and supporters, and terrorist allies. The EU already realizes this because it lists many organisations as terrorist groups, including Hamas.
The IRG, just like Hamas, aims to indiscriminately kill civilians and is a threat to European citizens. The IRG has also targeted European nations who have been present in Afghanistan as part of the NATO coalition, by providing much military equipment to the Taliban. These weapons have been used to kill Afghan civilians and many NATO servicemen. In fact, in 2011 the British Army intercepted a large catchment of arms provided by the IRG.
The IRG has also directly targeted many European nations including Britain. According to a detailed investigation by the Guardian, an operation that led to the kidnapping of five British men in Iraq in the aftermath of the Iraq war was initiated by the IRG. It is alleged that within days of being kidnapped at a Government ministry in Baghdad, the British soldiers were taken to Iran and incarcerated in a prison run by the Quds force. The IRG’s naval branch also kidnapped 15 British navy personnel on 23rd March 2007 from HMS Cornwall. They were released on 4th April 2007 but not before they were paraded on Iranian state TV and seriously mistreated.
The IRG’s reach is truly global. This is highlighted by the fact that an Indian Government investigation looking into the February 2012 bomb attack aimed at an Israeli diplomat in the Indian capital, Delhi, concluded that the main suspects were members of the IRG. Moreover, the Indian police investigation found that the IRG had also been planning violent attacks in Georgia and Thailand.
Whether the EU likes it or not, they cannot continue to pursue policies which ignore this kind of threat. The EU must designate the IRG as a terrorist organization. If they do not, all their words on standing up to terrorism are hollow.
If, like me and the UK Zionist Federation, you believe that the EU should stand up to terrorism and speak up for humanity, please sign our petition here. For further information on how you can support the campaign please visit our website or email me at [email protected]. With your support we can make sure that politicians hear our calls to list the IRG as a terrorist group.
Stephen Hoffman is a graduate of the University of Leeds where he studied Politics and Parliamentary Studies. He currently works as the Campaigns Officer for the UK Zionist Federation. He is an active member of the UK Conservative Party and tweets at @thehoff102
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