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Iran: Despite the pressure, Europe is reluctant to designate the Revolutionary Guards as terrorists

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As repression continues in Iran, many voices are being heard in Europe classifying Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group.

end of february, Vahid Beheshti, an Iranian-British human rights activist, set up shop opposite the entrance to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in central London and began a hunger strike. He had only one demand: that the British government designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist group.

After more than a month, he is still there, having lost about 11 kg. “Sometimes I feel cold. Sometimes I’m weak and sometimes I think I have energy. Then the next hour I just drained again,” he said on March 24, 30.H the day of his hunger strike. “Physically, I am getting weaker, but inside I am getting stronger and I am determined to keep going until we reach this big goal.”

Its aim is simple and forms part of a policy that, until recently, seemed to be part of the British government’s priorities.

At the beginning of the year, the UK seemed close to banning the IRGC. January 12 Leo Docherty, British Secretary of State for Europe and North America, told the House of Commons that the issue was being actively considered. However, he refused to indicate when the decision might be made.

This possibility now seems remote. Minister of Foreign Affairs , James Cleverly, in a debate in the House of Commons earlier this month that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are under British sanctions, but refused to answer a question about whether it should be designated a terrorist group. He said: “We do not routinely discuss qualifications and future sanctions, but we will always take action to protect the British people and interests and deter malign activities.”

Activists fear the idea could be reversed due to authorities’ concerns about Iran’s possible response. In particular, some members of the government appear to fear that efforts to secure the release of other British nationals held in Iranian prisons will become more difficult.

According to one Beheshti, this would be a mistake. “Taking hostages is the main policy of the IRGC. As long as we continue our policy of appeasement, they will continue their policy of taking hostages. They are manipulating us. They have taken the whole world as fools for the past 44 years and they are laughing at us. They only understand one language, pressure language.

Europe hesitates

In Europe, the trend is also towards indecision. In January, the European Parliament voted to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group. Parliament does not have the power to pass such a decision, but it was nonetheless a strong signal that prompted strong protests from Tehran.

The European Commission has not yet taken action on this vote. High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Joseph Burrell, argued that the court should first rule on this issue. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius LandsbergisRecently, there is a “growing consensus” among EU member states on the need to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group.

Waheed Beheshti’s protest aims to change opinion. Her camp in central London is festooned with flags bearing the slogan “Women, Life, Freedom” from the protest movement that has swept Iran in the six months since the death of a young girl in custody. 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini. The banners sit alongside flags bearing the lion and sun image of pre-revolutionary Iran and Derafch Kaviani, the legendary banner of the pre-Islamic Sasanian Empire.

Although it is in the heart of British government territory, Vahid Beheshti said that even there he did not feel completely safe from the threat of the Iranian state. Today we see the hands of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in London. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard is here. We don’t feel safe. here [à l’extérieur du Bureau des Affaires étrangères et du Commonwealth] It’s the safest place in the UK, but I don’t even feel safe here.”

His comments are based, among other things, on the fact that Iran International TV recently closed its office in London and moved all of its broadcasts to Washington, D.C. due to the IRGC’s threat to journalists, a threat acknowledged by the British security services. Commander-in-Chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Major General Hussein SalamiHe said the closing of the TV channel was a sign of “the expansion of the sphere of power, the sphere of infiltration, and the sphere of influence of the Islamic Revolution.”

Vahid Beheshti received visits from parliamentarians such as Lord Pollack and celebrities such as the comedian and actor Omid Jalili. However, the British government did not respond to his requests to meet to discuss designating the IRGC as a terrorist group. It is currently unknown how long he will be able to continue protesting, but he said: “As long as I can, I will be here.”

Translated article from the American magazine Forbes – Author: Dominic Dudley

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