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Iran

Volume 724: debated on Tuesday 13 December 2022

18. What steps his Department is taking to help tackle destabilising activities by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. (902775)

These protests in Iran are a watershed moment. After years of repression, the Iranian people have clearly had enough. They are standing up to the authoritarian regime under which they live. Sadly, the regime has responded in the only way it knows: with violence. The UK is committed to holding Iran to account, including with more than 300 sanctions—including the sanctioning of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in its entirety. We will continue to work with partners to challenge the regime’s aggression at home and its disruptive behaviour in the region.

I thank the Secretary of State for his answer. Iranians are being hanged from cranes with black bags over their heads and their hands and feet bound while Iranian weapons are being used to perpetrate Putin’s illegal war murdering Ukrainians. Will the Secretary of State join me in condemning those human rights violations and tell me exactly what sanctions he will bring forward against Raisi’s abhorrent regime?

I personally and the UK Government have regularly condemned the abuses in Iran. Of course, I recognise that that tone is reflected right across the House. We have sanctioned the morality police; we have sanctioned the Iranian judges whom we know to be involved in those secret trials. We will continue to work with our international partners, and directly, to sanction the members of the Iranian regime who continue to abuse the human rights of the people within that country.

The Minister has rightly identified that the clerical fascist regime in Tehran is increasingly using violence and terror in trying to crush the popular protests there, while also destabilising the region through proxies, as well as further afield. He knows that a vital underpinning of this dreadful regime’s activities is the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. He mentioned working with other parties; he knows that the United States has already taken action to proscribe the IRGC. Will that finally persuade him to sanction to the IRGC?

We already sanction the IRGC in its entirety. We will continue to work closely with our friends in the international community to prevent the point that the right hon. Gentleman raises: the exporting of attack drones and other munitions to Russia, which are then being used by Vladimir Putin’s troops to attack civilians and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine. We will continue to sanction individuals, and as I say, the IRGC is already sanctioned in its entirety.

The Metropolitan police have warned about threats described as an “imminent, credible risk” to life against British-Iranian journalists in the United Kingdom. The Iranian regime has also threatened BBC Persian journalists. I ask the Foreign Secretary again to set out what further targeted sanctions the Government will be taking against the whole Iranian regime and, more importantly, to ensure that the Government act against any threats to individuals in the United Kingdom.

The hon. Gentleman will understand that it is counterproductive to detail what future sanctions designations might be brought in—we want to ensure that the targets of those sanctions do not in any way try to evade the sanctions before they are brought in. The UK remains absolutely determined to ensure that Iran does not intimidate people within this country. We will always stand up to aggression from foreign nations. We will absolutely not tolerate threats, particularly towards journalists who are highlighting what is going on in Iran, or indeed towards any other individual living in the UK. On 11 November, I summoned the Iranian chargé d’affaires to highlight the UK’s position on this; and, working with our colleagues in the Home Office, we ensured that the Iranian journalists who were under threat according to our information were protected by the British police.