Government ministers have said that the designation of Iranian IRGC as terrorist remains “on the table” after an intervention by a Peer in the House of Lords.
Lord Monroe Palmer of Child’s Hill asked in a debate on Thursday whether the government would proscribe the political enforcement branch of Iran’s armed forces given the country’s “violent oppression against dissidents” and other criminal behaviour.
Responding on behalf of the government, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said he “cannot give that assurance”, but added that the government keeps “all issues such as proscribing organisations on the table”.
Iranians have taken to the streets in the last month following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman arrested by the Iranian IRGC in Tehran on the 13th of September for allegedly breaching Iran’s strict rules requiring women to cover their hair with a hijab or headscarf.
The first protests broke out after Ms Amini’s funeral in the western city of Saqqez, when women ripped off their headscarves in solidarity. The protests have since swelled, with the public demanding reforms ranging from more freedoms to an overthrow of the state.
The House of Lords held a debate on Thursday on the protests and women’s rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, and what the UK is doing and should be doing to assist ordinary Iranians, particularly women.
Lord Palmer, a Vice President of the Jewish Leadership Council, asked specifically about the proscription of the religious enforcement police, which was labelled a terrorist organisation by the United States in 2019.
The Liberal-Democrat peer asked: “My Lords, the Iranian IRGC and its violent oppression against dissidents inside Iran has long extended beyond Iran’s borders. This summer’s attempted murder of Sir Salman Rushdie, last year’s attempted kidnapping of Iranian women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad and numerous foiled plots are only the tip of the iceberg.
“The Revolutionary Guard represents a present danger to anyone the Iranian regime believes is a threat. Does the Minister agree that now is the time to proscribe the Revolutionary Guard to protect civilians outside Iran as well as those within Iran?”