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Activist in 35th day of hunger strike pushes UK to designate IRGC a terror group

The U.S. State Department has listed the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a “foreign terrorist organization” since 2019.

Members of an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps special forces unit. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Members of an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps special forces unit. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

On April 15, 2019, the United States officially recognized Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a “foreign terrorist organization.” The IRGC’s “support for terrorism is foundational and institutional, and it has killed U.S. citizens,” reads a fact sheet the U.S. State Department released at the time.

Nearly four years later, the United Kingdom has yet to follow suit.

Iranian-British activist and writer Vahid Beheshti, 46, is on the 35th day of a hunger strike outside the U.K. Foreign Office. He has said it will continue until the United Kingdom designates the group as a terrorist organization. On Monday, British security minister Tom Tugendhat told Beheshti in a meeting that the government would act, “but offered no timeframe for the designation,” according to a brief from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Vahid Beheshti. Source: Twitter.

Tzvi Kahn, a research fellow and senior editor at FDD who studies Iran, told JNS the United Kingdom likely hasn’t acted yet because it fears that taking a hard line on Iran will undermine future nuclear negotiations.

“The government still hopes against hope, despite all indications to the contrary, that the international community can someday revive the 2015 nuclear deal, which in turn would give the clerical regime a new lease on life,” said Kahn.

“In taking this approach, however, Britain is ignoring the wishes of the Iranian people, who are explicitly demanding regime change, which will require immense political and economic pressure on Tehran,” he added.

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