Skip to main content

Iranian Regime: Threat to UK

Volume 727: debated on Monday 6 February 2023

2. What recent assessment her Department has made of the level of threat posed by the Iranian regime to people in the UK. (903479)

The director general of MI5 recently outlined that, since January 2022, there have been at least 10 Iranian threats to kidnap or even kill UK-based individuals. The level of the Iranian threat is kept under constant review. The Home Secretary and I are working with our partners across Government to ensure that all tools at our disposal are used to protect individuals in the UK against any threats from the Iranian state.

It has been patently obvious for years that the whole Iranian Government are rotten. Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps leaders are allowed to travel to the UK and store their stolen wealth almost with impunity. The people of Iran are fighting back. Why do we not stop their abusers stealing the wealth of the country and sanction more than just 50 people at the top of the organisation?

The hon. Member is absolutely correct: the IRGC is a vicious organisation and its first victims are the Iranian people, who have been brutalised and murdered by that despotic regime for far too long. I hope he will be encouraged by the actions the UK Government are taking at the moment in looking into various of these areas, and also by the work being done by some of our partners. It is interesting to note that, of the so-called E3+3, Germany and France appear to be looking at proscribing the IRGC, as the United States has already done. It seems that not only is there international agreement on the point the hon. Member raises, but that action is absolutely ready to go.

As part of the sanctions the Government are imposing on this evil regime, will they please shut down the Islamic centre in Maida Vale, which is the voice of the supreme leader in this country? It should not have charitable status and should be shut down.

My right hon. Friend has raised an extremely important issue, of which I am acutely aware and which has not gone without notice.

The Minister seemed to say in response to the original question from my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, Southall (Mr Sharma) that we were considering proscribing the IRGC. Is that the case?

The Government always keep all areas under review, and speculation has certainly been in that direction. What we have already done is sanction various different elements. Any further action will no doubt be announced as soon as it is ready, and we will see as soon as that can be done.

Clearly, the threat from the IRGC to people in this country—be they opposition journalists reporting on what is going on in Iran at the moment or UK citizens—is paramount. Foreign Office Ministers have responded to all the urgent questions the Speaker has granted and the debates we have had, but will my right hon. Friend now take the obvious step, which is supported by all political parties in the Chamber, and proscribe the IRGC in its entirety?

My hon. Friend will know that it is not me he has to persuade in this matter and that there are many areas where I would like to go. I can assure him that the Government are absolutely listening to exactly what he is saying. The Home Secretary and I are as one on this.

The Minister has been explicit, as have others, about the threat we face in the UK from the Iranian regime. I really welcome what he has said, and we stand ready to work with him on this issue, but the truth is that we have not seen anything like the sanctions and immigration controls that have been deployed against Russia being deployed against Iran. Will the Government go further and be clear? Will they proscribe the IRGC using either existing terror laws or new state threat variations to drive out this threat and keep people safe?

The hon. Lady knows very well that the Government have already sanctioned many individuals inside the Iranian regime and have taken action on individuals who may have had access around Europe and indeed into the United Kingdom. Those people have been either controlled or not allowed permission to travel. She should also be aware that our embassy in Iran is keeping us closely informed of how the sanctions are playing out and making sure that we target appropriately individuals who are a threat to the United Kingdom.

It is completely wrong that any foreign state should be able to threaten anybody in the United Kingdom. Anybody in the UK should have the same protection and be afforded the same rights as anybody else. The action we have taken to protect some journalists in the UK, which was highlighted only recently by some of our agencies, is absolutely vital to the security of our whole society.