The British House of Commons is pushing to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization following a threat to the lives of two Iran International journalists.
"British-Iranian reporters who are now sited in the UK have been issued with credible information by the police that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps threatens their lives. What more does IRGC have to do before we proscribe them in their entirety?" Conservative British MP Bob Blackman said in a House of Commons meeting on Tuesday.
In a statement on Monday, Volant Media -- the parent company of Iran International – said that two of their journalists have recently been notified of the threats. “The Metropolitan Police have now formally notified both journalists that these threats represent an imminent, credible and significant risk to their lives and those of their families. Other members of our staff have also been informed directly by the Metropolitan Police of separate threats," read the statement.
Urging the UK foreign ministry to ban the IRGC, Blackman said that “Thousands of Iranians have been arrested for just demonstrating their support for people who have been murdered. I have been supplied with a long list of people who have been sentenced to death just for protesting.”
Labor MP John Spellar said, "Today we've had members on both sides of the UK House raising this question to follow our allies in the US and to ban IRGC who are protectors of the Iranian cleric-fascist regime," throwing his party’s support for the designation.
David Rutley, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, also describing the death of Mahsa Amini – the 22-year-old girl who was killed in custody of hijab police and ignited the ongoing wave of protests – as well as all protesters killed standing up to the authorities as a “tragedy that shows the regime’s shocking disregard for the rights of the Iranian people.”
He added that the UK has robustly condemned Iran’s actions, including at the UN Human Rights Council, noting that the country has sanctioned the morality police and several other officials responsible for human rights violations. “The list of proscribed organizations is kept under constant review, but we do not routinely comment on whether an organization is or is not under consideration for proscription,” he said.
In reaction to the threats to the lives of Iran International’s journalists, Michelle Stanistreet, the general secretary of National Union of Journalists -- a trade union for journalists in the UK and Ireland – said, “It is shocking and outrageous that journalists carrying out their work in London are being targeted and facing credible death threats that are clearly emanating from the Iranian state."
"The stress and pressure this has placed journalists and their families under is despicable and is clearly designed to instill fear and have a chilling effect on media freedom,” she noted, expressing support and vowing to continue to press internationally and via the UN to force the Islamic Republic to desist.
Stressing the threat from the Islamic Republic, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pledged on Monday to improve relations with Persian Gulf Arab states beyond “defense cooperation.” Sunak met UAE president Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan on the sidelines of the COP27 United Nations climate gathering in Egypt.