Declare Iran’s revolutionary guard a terror group after Alireza Akbari’s execution, Labour urges

Labour has called for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to be branded a terrorist organisation after the execution of Alireza Akbari. David Lammy, the

shadow foreign secretary, and Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, said the force, which is a branch of Iran’s armed forces, is “behaving like a terrorist organisation” and

should be proscribed. Akbari, a British-Iranian national and former Tehran defence official, was arrested in 2019 and accused of spying for MI6, a charge which he denied.

The Iranian state media confirmed his execution. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned the execution and branded it “a callous and cowardly act” that he said was carried out

by a regime with “no respect for the human rights of their own people”. Labour said the execution was “barbaric” and that the IRGC now poses a “growing threat” on UK

soil. The party also cited the unjust imprisonment of British nationals in Iran, long-standing concerns about Iran’s threats to Israel, and its support for violent groups

across the region as reasons to formally label the guards a terror outfit. The move could have widespread domestic political support after MPs last week voted in favour of

adding the revolutionary guards to a list of banned terrorist organisations in the UK. The backbench motion, tabled by Conservative MP Bob Blackman, is non-binding on the

government and ministers are still considering the matter. Labour said ministers could go through the existing proscription process. Alternatively, the party proposed making

an amendment to the National Security Bill that would create a parallel power to proscribe state bodies like the IRGC on the basis of their activity.