The UK gave six charities linked with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) furlough payments totaling nearly £700 thousand, according to a report by the Jewish Chronicle on Wednesday.

An investigation by the JC revealed that more than £680,000 in COVID furlough payments were handed out to mosques and educational centers linked to the IRGC; they note that there is no suggestion that this was unlawful.

With the recent attack by Iran on Israel and the stabbing of an Iranian dissident two weeks ago, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has come under pressure to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization.

The IRGC, or part of it, is already considered a designated terrorist organization in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Sweden, Israel, and the United States.

A cross-party group of over 100 MPs and lords sent a letter arguing for the designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization to Sunak on Wednesday.

The IRGC’s office in London

The Islamic Centre of England (ICE) in London is one of the charities named in the report. ICE was described by a member of the UK’s foreign select committee as the “IRGC’s office in London,” receiving just under £250,000 of furlough money over the course of two years.

The Charity Commission is currently investigating the center after its director, whom Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed, called anti-regime protestors “soldiers of Satan.”

Several other centers from across the UK that received furlough payments venerated Qassem Soleimani after he was killed in 2020.

The Islamic College of London (ICL) received nearly £205,000 in furlough and is accused of being linked with the Iranian regime. The accusations of affiliation with Al-Mostafa University in Iran, which is currently under investigation for recruiting students to fight in Syria.

In 2023, the ICL was stripped of accreditation by its partner Middlesex University, meaning it could no longer certify degrees in the UK.

Sunak’s spokesperson said on Monday that having full diplomatic relations was “one of our most effective channels for avoiding escalation” in the spreading regional conflict because it enabled the delivery of “robust messages” to the regime on human rights, detainees, and “state threats.”

The UK has already imposed sanctions on the IRGC and some of its commanders, preventing them from opening bank accounts or engaging in financial transactions in the UK.

Sunak and Foreign Minister David Cameron have argued that this is sufficient enough.

Source » jpost