Rishi Sunak facing further calls to proscribe Iran’s IRGC in wake of attack on Israel

Rishi Sunak facing further calls to proscribe Iran’s IRGC in wake of attack on Israel
  • PublishedApril 16, 2024

The prime minister would not comment on proscription – although said the UK and other G7 members were discussing further diplomatic action. He also called for “restraint” from all sides.

Rishi Sunak is facing further calls from parliament to take action against Iran in the wake of the nation’s direct attack against Israel over the weekend.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and a number of Tory former cabinet ministers called for various steps to be taken, including the proscription of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – Tehran’s primary fighting force.

The prime minister on Monday delivered a statement to the House of Commons in the wake of events in the Middle East over the weekend.

The UK played a role in this operation, with Mr Sunak earlier confirming the Royal Air Force shot down “a number of drones”.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Sunak said: “With this attack, Iran has once again shown its true colours. They are intent on sowing chaos in their own back yard, on further destabilising the Middle East.

‘We want to see calmer heads prevail’

“Our aim is to support stability and security because it is right for the region and because, although the Middle East is thousands of miles away, it has a direct effect on our security and prosperity at home.

“So, we’re working urgently with our allies to de-escalate the situation and prevent further bloodshed. We want to see calmer heads prevail, and we’re directing all our diplomatic efforts to that end.”

He said that “further diplomatic measures” to be taken were discussed with G7 leaders over the weekend.

But the prime minister did not outline what these actions may be.

Former home secretary Suella Braverman was joined by former work and pensions secretary Sir Iain Duncan Smith in calling for the IRGC to be proscribed.

Proscription calls

Mr Sunak responded by saying the organisation had been sanctioned – not proscribed – as a whole.

Responding to Ms Braverman, he repeated that “as the right honourable lady knows, we don’t comment on any potential proscription decisions”.

Sir Keir asked for Mr Sunak to “update the house on any new steps he’s taking with our international partners to pursue sanctions against the regime – and could he clarify what steps he’s taking to limit the power of the revolutionary guard to glorify terrorism here in UK?”

Mr Sunak said the government would update the house at the “appropriate time” when measures were agreed with the G7 to “counter the Iranian regime and its proxies”.

‘Snapback sanctions’

Sir Liam Fox, who was previously international trade secretary, criticised Iran for various issues – including an Iranian journalist being attacked on British soil and an international vessel being pirated by the IRGC in international waters.

He asked to know: “Why are Iran Air still operating out of Heathrow? Why are Iranian banks still operating in the City of London?”

Sir Liam asked if “snapback sanctions” – UN sanctions which can be reimposed by the UN security council – will be implemented.

Mr Sunak said the G7 were coordinating – “perhaps including some of the things that he talked about”.

Mr Sunak said “all sides must show restraint” – and that he would be speaking with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shortly, although this call is not expected to take place on Monday.

Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles at Israel on Saturday evening, with the attack finished by Sunday morning.

Israel said that, alongside its allies, it intercepted 99% of the projectiles.


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