Suella Braverman has branded the Government’s refusal to proscribe Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as “delusional” as Rishi Sunak came under pressure from Tory MPs and Labour to impose a ban.

The Government is resisting calls for the IRGC to be proscribed as a terrorist group in the wake of Iran’s missile and drone attack on Israel at the weekend and Hamas’s terrorist killings on Oct 7.

Ministers including Lord Cameron, the Foreign Secretary, argued on Monday that proscription would jeopardise diplomatic ties with Tehran and threaten a key back channel for communicating with the regime.

However, Mrs Braverman, the former home secretary, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader and the Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer have all demanded a ban.

In an article for The Telegraph, Mrs Braverman said the defence of keeping channels open was a “weak” argument as it had failed to mitigate the Oct 7 attack or deter the 300 drones or missiles fired on Israel.

“Rather this is Foreign Office-speak for: ‘We support the status quo and don’t see the need to change things, thank you very much.’

“Equally delusional is the claim that our sanctions regime is sufficient to deter the IRGC,” she said.

“This is naive when we know the IRGC circumvent sanctions by ensuring that they are not reliant on the British Pound or US Dollar by trading with Russia or China or transferring assets to trusted proxies in the region, such as in Oman.

“This Conservative government risks being left on the wrong side of history if it continues to stall on this important step. If not now, then when? It’s time we grew a backbone. This isn’t just about our foreign policy, but our own national security and the safety of British citizens.”

Her comments follow an appeal at the weekend by Israel for a terrorist ban on the IRGC. On Monday, the British Board of Deputies, representing British Jews, also wrote to Rishi Sunak advocating for the move. Proscribing the IRGC would make it a criminal offence to belong to the organisation or invite support for it.

Tzipi Hotovely, the Israeli ambassador to the UK, told LBC the UK must proscribe the IRGC as she warned the UK could become a target for drones. “Maybe the UK will be next with these kind of drones… they won’t hesitate to do that here,” she said.

In the Commons, Sir Iain appealed directly to the Prime Minister: “Could I please ask him, when he sits down with our international colleagues… to consider proscribing the IRGC – and to do it in a way that will make sure they can no longer foment extremism here in the United Kingdom as well?”

Sir Keir reaffirmed Labour’s demand for proscription, urging the Prime Minister to take action to “limit the power of the revolutionary guard to glorify terrorism here in the UK”.

In response, Mr Sunak suggested any steps to further limit the IRGC’s reach would be taken in concert with the UK’s allies.

He told MPs: “Yesterday at the G7 we agreed to work together on further measures to counter the Iranian regime and its proxies. It was agreed that we should coordinate those actions and that work is now under way, and obviously at the appropriate time either I or ministers will update the House.”

Lord Cameron, the Foreign Secretary, said: “We recognise what a dangerous organisation it is. We have sanctioned it and put in place a regime to do more of this work. I keep this under review, but the police and security services say they have the powers to deal with it here or elsewhere.

“Having those diplomatic relations means we can deliver a direct message to the Iranians as I have done, speaking to the foreign minister twice in the last seven days. It makes Britain stronger and more able if we can have those conservations and we should keep it that way.”

Although the US publicly called for its allies to proscribe the IRGC after the Oct 7 Hamas attacks, The Telegraph understands American diplomats have privately asked the UK not to do so.

The US has not had diplomatic relations with Iran since 1980, and relies on other Western allies including the UK to act as a backchannel with Iran.

Some US officials have privately raised concerns that if the UK was to proscribe the group, Tehran would sever diplomatic ties with London and cut off a key diplomatic backchannel.

Meanwhile, Mrs Braverman will suggest in a speech on Tuesday that hints by Mr Sunak that the UK could quit the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) are “inauthentic.”

“The current UK Government doesn’t have the political will to take on the ECHR and hasn’t laid the groundwork for doing so. And so it’s no surprise that recent noises in this direction are easily dismissed as inauthentic,” she will tell the national conservatism conference in Brussels.

“It should be noted that any attempt to include a plan for ECHR withdrawal in a losing Conservative Party election manifesto risks setting the cause back a generation.”

Source » telegraph