The United Kingdom is expected to officially designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, following several alleged plots to kidnap or murder UK citizens, according to a Monday report.
The case against the IRGC in the UK has been in the works since last year, following 10 attempts to target people on British soil, the Telegraph said.
The placement of the group on the UK’s terror list will be officially announced within weeks, the report stated, citing political and security sources.
The move would effectively ban the IRGC in the UK, meaning that attending the group’s meetings or carrying its flag and logo in public would be a criminal offense. The Telegraph noted that shows of support for the IRGC on UK streets have become more common in recent years.
The report said the UK’s Security Minister Tom Tugendhat and Home Secretary Suella Braverman both support the move.
In November, MI5 Director General Ken McCallum said in a public speech that “Iran projects threat to the UK directly, through its aggressive intelligence services. At its sharpest, this includes ambitions to kidnap or even kill British or UK-based individuals perceived as enemies of the regime.
“We have seen at least 10 such potential threats since January  alone,” he added.
Director General of MI5 Ken McCallum says "Iran projects threat to the UK directly, through its aggressive intelligence services".
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The Telegraph noted that Volant Media, the London-based broadcaster of the Iran International Persian-language TV channel, had claimed in November that IRGC hitmen had been deployed in London to murder two of its British-Iranian journalists.
The report also follows an incident from last week that saw Tehran announce the arrest of a UK-linked “network” involved in the months-long anti-regime protests in Iran sparked by the mid-September death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of the so-called morality police.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said “some countries, especially [the UK], had a non-constructive role in relation to the recent developments in Iran.”
“Their role was quite provocative in inciting extremism and riots,” he said.
In a separate incident, a British-Iranian dual national was arrested in Iran in November for allegedly tipping off foreign media, including the BBC, about protests sparked by Amini’s death.
Western governments have accused Tehran of employing a “hostage-taking” policy aimed at extracting concessions or securing the release of Iranians held abroad.
Most of the arrests of foreigners in Iran and alleged plots to kidnap them abroad have been attributed to the IRGC — considered a terrorist entity by the United States, Canada and Israel, with the European Union and Germany reportedly weighing following suit.
In 2019, then-US president Donald Trump officially designated the group as a terrorist organization, a move Israel had long pushed for.
Tehran has repeatedly demanded that the White House undo the decision as a condition for resurrecting talks in Vienna for reaching a nuclear deal with Iran, which have repeatedly stalled.
US President Joe Biden has been adamant in refusing to acquiesce to the demand, and Israel has been outspoken in its opposition to such a move.
According to the Telegraph, the UK’s designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization could further diminish any chances of returning to the negotiating table.
AFP contributed to this report.