Israel asks UK to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guards a terror organization
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Israel asks UK to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guards a terror organization

Meeting with top British diplomat after IDF struck in Syria to thwart drone attack allegedly ordered by IRGC head, Foreign Minister Katz cites group’s damaging activities in region

Iran's Revolutionary Guard members march during an armed forces parade marking the anniversary of the start of the 1980-88 Iraq-Iran war, in front of the shrine of the late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, just outside Tehran, Iran, on September 22, 2011. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)
Iran's Revolutionary Guard members march during an armed forces parade marking the anniversary of the start of the 1980-88 Iraq-Iran war, in front of the shrine of the late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, just outside Tehran, Iran, on September 22, 2011. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

Foreign Minister Israel Katz on Wednesday urged the United Kingdom to follow in the US’s footsteps and designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization.

In a meeting with his British counterpart Dominic Raab, Katz thanked the UK government for officially designating the Iran-backed group Hezbollah a terrorist organization earlier this year, but pressed for the IRGC to also be included on the government’s terror blacklist, the Walla news site reported.

Citing Iran’s malign activities throughout the region, Katz said the terror designation would be the “appropriate and just response” to the attacks masterminded by IRGC commander Qassem Soleimani.

Raab made no formal comment on the matter. Following the meeting, he tweeted a photo of himself and Katz and said Israel “remains a close partner and friend.”

In April Washington blacklisted the IRGC as a terrorist group, the first time that an extension of a foreign government has been designated a terrorist entity by the US.

US President Donald Trump said at the time that “the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the move had come at his request.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps was formed after the 1979 Islamic Revolution with a mission to defend the clerical regime, in contrast to the more traditional military units that protected Iranian borders. It exists in parallel to Iran’s regular military. The Revolutionary Guards have amassed enormous power within Iran, becoming owners of significant industries and other economic interests on behalf of the regime.

Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds force commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani, center, attends a meeting with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Revolutionary Guard commanders in Tehran, Iran, September 18, 2016. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

The Guards’ prized foreign operations unit is the Quds Force, named for the Arabic word for Jerusalem, which supports forces allied with Iran around the region, such as Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime and Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group. It has also been linked to various terror attacks around the world, including a deadly bombing against Argentina’s Jewish community in 1994.

On Saturday night the Israel Defense Forces carried out airstrikes on military targets in southern Syria, saying it thwarted a plan by the Quds Force and Shiite militias to send “kamikaze” attack drones into Israel armed with explosives.

Israel said the planned attack was personally overseen by Soleimani.

Eric Cortellessa contributed to this report.

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