The U.K. government should follow Americaâ€™s lead and deem Iranâ€™s Islamic RevolutionaryÂ Guards a terrorist organization, a cross-party group of MPs said.
A new report by the Commons foreign affairs committee calls on the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to toughen its approach over Iranâ€™s detention of U.K. citizens.
Recommendations from the group include recognizing Tehranâ€™s â€œarbitrary detainmentâ€ of U.K. citizens as â€œstate hostage taking,â€ and designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organization. That would mirror a U.S. decision taken in August 2019.
â€œProscribing the IRGC in its entirety is a natural next step in response to the IRGCâ€™s bankrolling and bolstering of terrorism,â€ committee chairman and Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat said in a statement accompanying the report. â€œThe groupâ€™s destructive philosophy and violence within Iran and across the region make a compelling case for it to be singled out for sanction.â€Â
The group of MPs is meanwhile urging the U.K. to use recently-passed Magnitsky sanctioning laws to target bad actors in the region.
When asked what sanctioning might achieve, Tugendhat told the BBCâ€™s Today program the IRGC was â€œnot just an enabler of terrorism, but [it] also runs businesses within Iran and in many neighboring countries.â€
By targeting their finances, â€œwe and our allies are able to influence the way in which they conduct their business,â€ he added. â€œIt would change the way in which our allies would be able to work with them.â€
There are currently four known captives in Iran with either U.K. citizenship or residency permits, according to the Center for Human Rights in Iran.
Anoosheh Ashoori; Aras Amiri; and Morad Tahbaz are all in detainment, while Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been granted temporary release from prison because of overcrowded prisons during the COVID pandemic.