07 August 2023

Iranian regime poses ‘significant threat’ to UK and allies, says No 10

07 August 2023

The Iranian regime poses a “significant threat” to the UK, Downing Street said, with “direct threats” to dissidents living here.

The comments from No 10 came after it emerged Home Secretary Suella Braverman believes Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) represents the single biggest threat to national security.

Downing Street said the Government had already taken “strong action” against Tehran, but refused to be drawn on whether the IRGC should be banned as a terrorist group.

We think that the behaviour of the Iranian regime, including the actions of the IRGC, pose a significant threat to the safety and security of the UK and of our allies

There is a split within the Government over whether to proscribe the organisation, with the Foreign Office reportedly reluctant to back the move over fears it would cause lasting diplomatic damage.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “I can’t get into speculation around who we may or may not be considering proscribing in the future.”

But he said the Government had “a range of tools at our disposal” and would make decisions based on using the most effective measures “to curb Iran’s destabilising activity”.

The Sunday Times quoted a source close to Ms Braverman saying “the Iranian threat is the one that worries us the most”, claiming “they are getting much more aggressive and their appetite is increasing”.

Asked if that was the Government’s view, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “Certainly we think that the behaviour of the Iranian regime, including the actions of the IRGC, pose a significant threat to the safety and security of the UK and of our allies.”

The issue of nuclear proliferation and “direct threats against dissidents in the UK” were particularly concerning, the spokesman said.

“We’ve identified 15 credible threats by the Iranian regime to kill or kidnap British or UK-based individuals since 2022.

“So we have rightly taken strong action, including sanctions, and we’ve announced new powers to give the UK a greater ability to target Iran’s key decision makers.

“We have sanctions on 350 Iranian individuals and entities.”

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