iran / middle east / Photography / women

The Case for Proscribing The Islamic Regime of Iran’s Guards, the IRGC, As a Terrorist Organisation.

Vahid Beheshti and us, by John Behets

British-Iranian journalist Vahid Beheshti has been on hunger strike for 26 days, an unimaginable endurance, lasting longer than the month of February.

Not only an internal struggle, but Beheshti braves the physical endurance of spending the tail end of a British winter outside on the inhospitable streets of London, in a tent. The journalist has positioned his silent protest directly facing the offices of the civil servants, our legal representatives, at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, SW1. Beheshti’s hunger strike is a desperate petition to them to follow through the very same intent that the BBC reported on in January 2023: “Iran’s Revolutionary Guards set to be labelled as terrorist group by UK“:

“The proscription – first reported by the Daily Telegraph – would follow a similar decision made by the US in 2019. And it would mark a further hardening of the UK’s position towards Iran after intelligence agencies said the country posed a direct threat, citing 10 plots against British or UK-based individuals over the last year.

Sanctions are not enough, the huge investment corporation the IRGC run acts as a slush fund (a cash fund) for illicit overseas activities, and sanctions are continually circumvented. The US State Treasury published this month an article titled Designating Iran Sanctions Evasion Networks.

In January this year, the Tony Blair Institute, a hopefully impartial body, published an entire case for proscribing the IRGC as a terrorist organisation. Well worth a read, Kasra Arabi makes the case and provides evidence of the corporation’s criminality and activities overseas:

A detail from the Tony Blair Foundation Report
Supporting Vahid Beheshti, by John Behets

In late January, the EU stepped up sanctions, but Parliament’s vote to proscribe the IRGC as a terrorist organisation, which would making it illegal to be connected to them or deal with any of their business interests, were scuppered by the “High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy”, the reportedly corrupt Josep Borell. Borell has a history of links to corruption, Venezuela (a constant friend of Iran’s regime) and dubious energy interests. The New York Times also reported about Borell before his EU election:

He has also shown strong sympathies toward the government of Iran. “Iran wants to wipe out Israel, there’s nothing new about that,” he said, and has praised Iran’s stabilizing “essential role” in Syria. He has defended the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that Mr. Trump has abandoned and has vowed to try to save it.

Before he is confirmed, he is also likely to face questions about corruption allegations, including a fine of 30,000 euros imposed last autumn for insider trading in 2015 involving the Spanish company Abengoa, on whose board he served. Mr. Borrell denied the charges, but chose not to appeal the fine.

Vahid Beheshti by John Behets

Meanwhile, UK’s foreign secretary James Cleverly, on the occasion of US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s visit, audibly backtracked from previous comments and began talking about discussing with the regime and reasoning with them. Seeing as it was too late for USA to act as a broker of deals in the region, it is suggested that USA wanted to cash in on UK-USA’s “special relationship” they often wax lyrical about, and make UK the arbitrator in desirable deals in the region, in exchange for maintaining status quo and preferable business interests. Instead, China stepped in and fueled the Asian obsession with the diminishing of American power globally, by brokering an historic deal between Saudi and Iran.

Whatever their ambitions, the British government should not, even cannot, ignore the voice of the people, for they will only grow in volume until this ‘war’ is won.

Photos by John Behets.