It has been more than forty-five days since the sit-in hunger strike of human rights activist Mr. Vahid Beheshti, the director of the popular news channel, DorrTV, outside of the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, with the aim of persuading the British government to comply with the requests of the majority of the Members of the UK Parliament, to include the name of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, IRGC, on the list of terrorist organisations.

Although, the majority of government officials and MPs have officially announced their desire for this belated action, it seems that certain circles within the British Foreign Office are preventing this process from coming to fruition.

According to Vahid Beheshti’s talks with certain officials from the UK government, it seems that there is a concern about the safety of western citizens taken hostage by the IRGC, in case of IRGC proscription.

In response to this concern, the IOPHR would like to remind the members of the UK Foreign Office that when Mr. Terry Waite, a British citizen and human rights activist, was taken hostage by the forces under the command of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in 1987, Mr. Olivier Vandecasteele, a Belgian citizen, who is currently a hostage of the IRGC, at the time was only an infant. Moreover, all this was six years after the release of the American hostages.

The irony of the story is that when Mr. Terry Waite was taken hostage by the forces under the control of the IRGC, he was negotiating for the release of other hostages that were taken by forces under the command of the IRGC, before Mr. Waite himself was taken hostage. 

If four decades ago, the Western governments did not submit to the IRGC’s hostage policy and grant them legitimacy through negotiations with this criminal organisation, would Mr. Olivier Vandecasteele and other Western citizens be held hostage by the IRGC today?

The appropriate question to ask at this point is: Does the policy of friendship with criminals endanger the security and safety of European citizens or the policy of upholding principles?

It has also been said that putting the names of criminals on the blacklist of criminal organisations, where they belong, may upset them and discourage them from continuing to negotiate a nuclear deal.

In response to this doubt, the IOPHR would like to point out that the ruling regime in Iran has repeatedly violated the nuclear agreements reached since 2003, and each time in response to these violations, the Western governments have been forced to renegotiate and reach another agreement. This failed strategy has allowed the Iranian regime’s nuclear program to progress from less than ten percent enriched nuclear material in 2003 to more than ninety percent in 2023!

Accordingly, the IOPHR urges the British government as soon as possible and before Mr. Vahid Beheshti’s health suffers irreversible risks, to succumb to the will of the British people, which has been officially announced through their parliamentary representatives, and place the name of the IRGC in the list of terrorist organisations where it belongs!

The IOPHR further requests all human rights organisations and groups, as well as other democratic governments, to put pressure on the British government to fulfil this request of the members of UK parliament as soon as possible.

The IOPHR also requests Mr. Vahid Beheshti to end his hunger strike and continue this immense human rights campaign effort by other means, considering that his demands and voice on this important issue have now been heard all over the world.

London, Brussels, Berlin, Toronto, Washington

8th Apr 2023

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