The UK government has sanctioned members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including a Commander for involvement in “hostile activity” by the Iranian government.
According to UK’s Foreign Office, the sanctions, imposed in coordination with the U.S, target seven individuals and one organisation.
The sanctioned IRGC members are part of Unit 840, which an ITV investigation in the UK said was involved in plots to assassinate two television presenters from the news channel Iran International in the UK.
They are Naji Ibrahim Sharifi-Zindashti: Head of international drug and trafficking cartel, Mohammed Ansari: IRGC-QF official named in ITV News report for coordinating threat to Iran International, Muhammed Abd al-Razek Kanafani: Named in ITV News report for co-ordinating threat to Iran International, Abdulvahap Kocak: Turkish national linked to the killing of an Iranian dissident in Istanbul, Ali Kocak: Turkish national linked to the killing of an Iranian dissident in Istanbul, Ali Esfanjani and Muhammad Reza Naserzadeh; both Iranian nationals linked to the killing of an Iranian dissident in Istanbul.
This plot was just the latest credible reporting of the regime’s attempt to intimidate or kill British nationals or UK-linked individuals, with at least 15 such threats taking place since January 2022.
“The Iranian regime and the criminal gangs who operate on its behalf pose an unacceptable threat to the UK’s security,” British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said.
“Today’s package exposes the roles of the Iranian officials and gangs involved in activity aimed to undermine, silence and disrupt the democratic freedoms we value in the UK.”
The UK and US have sent a clear message – we will not tolerate this threat.
The Foreign Secretary summoned the Iranian Charge d’Affaires on 22 December, to make clear that threats from the Iranian Regime will not be tolerated.
To date, the UK has more than 400 sanctions designations in place on Iranian individuals and entities in response to the regime’s human rights violations, nuclear weapons programme and malign influence internationally.
Home Secretary James Cleverly said, The Iranian regime has tried to undermine our democracy through repression – we will continue to take action when necessary to protect our country, values and freedom of speech.
We cannot allow foreign regimes to collaborate with criminals to threaten us. Sanctioning these criminal networks working for the Iranian regime will remind them that we will fight back.
My priority is to protect our people and to defend our way of life, and the UK will not tolerate threats from the Iranian regime.
UK Leader Urges Iran To De-escalate Tensions After Jordan Drone Strike
Earlier, British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak said that he was concerned about tensions in the Middle East and urged Iran to de-escalate after an attack that killed three U.S. service members in northeastern Jordan near Syria’s border.
Sunak said the UK “absolutely condemned” the drone attacks, which U.S President Joe Biden said had been carried out by Iran-backed fighters.
“We are concerned and would urge Iran to continue to de-escalate tensions in the region,” Sunak told broadcasters.
“We stand resolutely with our allies to bring stability and peace to the region, and that’s what we continue to work towards,” he added.
Sunak’s spokesperson told reporters, “We believe that the attack was carried out by radical Iran-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq in line with the U.S assessment.”