From the intrepid woman who penetrated the inner sanctum of Iran’s leadership and survived, a warning to the UK to outlaw Iran’s IRCG – before it’s too late

By Catherine Perez-Shakdam

(see her revelations in ‘THE MOSSAD AGENT WHO NEVER WAS’)

Leadership expert Simon Sinek once said, “Leadership is not about being in charge. It is about taking care of those in your charge.”

Regrettably, when it comes to the threats posed by Iran and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the UK’s leadership has fallen short of fulfilling its promise to proscribe the IRGC and hold Tehran accountable.

It is high time for Western capitals, including the UK, to fully assess the dangers such a lack of leadership represents. From Iran’s expansionist agenda to its encroachment on Western institutions through various networks, manipulation of opinions via social media, and the rising threat of sectarian violence, it is crucial to recognize the urgency of addressing these challenges.

She Saw, She Met, She Reveals. Seen here in Tehran is the writer, who like a chameleon, blended into the most dangerous political environment in the world.

Despite acknowledging the threat posed by the Revolutionary Guard to its national security and the safety of citizens, the UK’s leaders have not taken effective measures to proscribe the organization.

Britain’s rulers are more concerned with politicking and avoiding risking the burden of a tactical mistake. But true leadership demands vision and, above all, the courage to stand by one’s beliefs.

Leadership is a call for action, and though wisdom, requires reflection, not chaos. To observe terror tightening its grip on our democratic institutions, threatening not only the integrity of our borders but the very safety of our nationals, is too close to treason for any of us to look away.

The USA designated the IRGC as a terrorist organization in 2019 for:

– its acts of global terror

– violations of the laws of armed conflict

– assassination attempts

– support for regional terrorist groups.

The UK’s delay in following suit raises concerns about the effectiveness of its approach to countering Iran’s malign activities. Iran’s expansionist agenda is a significant concern for global security. The regime’s continual disruption of peace by heightening military tensions in the Middle East and North Africa, along with threats to seize control of the Strait of Hormuz while arguing ‘maritime security,’ are too grave a challenge to our strategic interests – never-mind that of our regional partners – to turn a blind eye in the hope that the Ayatollah might come down from his pulpit long enough to broker a lasting peace.

Global Menace. The IRGC developed itself as a “parallel” or shadow government of Iran, accountable to the supreme leader Ali Khamenei only.

Iran’s regime hunger for conquest and ideological domination – one only needs to listen to the words of its ideologues.

The Revolutionary Guard plays a pivotal role in advancing Tehran’s interests beyond its borders, supporting proxy groups and armed militias in the Middle East. To proscribe, it would draw a line in the sand and signal that Britain is no longer prepared to cede ground. That in the face of the advance of terror, our democracies are willing to stand by their beliefs.

If we are what we believe we are, then I must ask, what is the UK today in the face of the single biggest threat to our way of life?

Public Execution. This year alone, more than 350 Iranians have been hanged, according to Norway-based Iran Human Rights. The rights group noted a 36% increase on the same period last year, likely exacerbated by the ongoing uprising since the death in morality police custody of Mahsa Amini and the subsequent unrest sweeping the country.

The UK’s inaction over proscribing the IRGC hampers efforts to address Iran’s regional influence and its potential to destabilize the Middle East further.

It has skillfully infiltrated and established networks within Western countries, including the UK. Its extensive presence in diaspora communities allows it to wield influence, fundraise, and conduct intelligence operations on foreign soil.

The rise of social media has also become a potent tool for the IRGC to manipulate public opinion, both in Iran and abroad. It seeks to shape narratives and sow discord through coordinated disinformation campaigns, undermining Western institutions and public trust. By not holding the IRGC accountable, the UK inadvertently allows this disinformation campaign to persist unchecked.

The IRGC‘s efforts to radicalize certain demographics by fanning negative religious sentiments pose a growing threat to societal stability. The UK’s lack of action in proscribing the IRGC indirectly perpetuates an environment in which sectarian tensions can escalate, contributing to potential violence and undermining social cohesion.

To effectively counter Iran’s expansionist agenda, encroachment on Western institutions, manipulation of social media, and the rising threat of sectarian violence, decisive leadership is imperative.

State Terrorism. EU foreign policy chief said in January that “the bloc won’t label the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a ‘terrorist’ organisation, for now.”  Protesters gathered in front of the European Union headquarters in Brussels to demonstrate against the Iranian government. (Photo: Ohanna Geron/Reuters)

By fully assessing the dangers associated with a lack of action, Western capitals, including the UK, can take the necessary steps to protect their nations and preserve global stability in the face of the IRGC‘s malign activities.

Only through bold and resolute leadership can we hope to address the multifaceted challenges posed by Iran and safeguard our shared values and security interests.

In the words of another leadership expert, Roselinde Torres, “Great leaders are not head down, they see around corners, they are shaping their future not just reacting to it.”

It is high time for the UK leadership to embrace this philosophy and act decisively to confront the IRGC threat, safeguarding the nation and its citizens from potential harm. As we navigate the complex geopolitical landscape, the importance of strong leadership cannot be overstated.

Tiptoeing around Terror. The UK has rejected calls to proscribe Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a terrorist group in favour of expanding the criteria by which supporters and companies can be put under sanctions. Members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps attend a rally marking the annual Quds Day in Tehran on 14 April 2023. (Photo: Wana News Agency/Reuter)


About the writer:

Catherine Perez-Shakdam is  co-founder and director of Forward Strategy, a boutique media and consultancy company based in the UK. She is a prominent expert in the Middle East, particularly in the domains of Iran and Yemen. With a rich background, including consultancy work for the United Nations Security Council in 2012, she has played a crucial role in shaping policy decisions by providing invaluable insights into Yemen’s War Economy, uncovering the intricate web of corruption, trafficking, and money laundering.

Catherine has also established herself as a respected voice in the media landscape. She has been a frequent contributor and commentator for outlets such as the I24, Al Jazeera, the BBC, The Jerusalem Post, Politico, the Daily Express, and the Daily Mail. Her contributions have shed light on critical issues, offering a nuanced understanding of complex situations.

Having previously served as a Research Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, Catherine has authored compelling policy recommendations and research papers to address the increasing influence of the Islamic Republic of Iran, exposing its activities and providing a deeper understanding of its operations.

In 2021, Catherine gained international attention when news broke of her remarkable decade-long infiltration of the Iranian regime, during which she was able to gain access to the highest echelons of the regime’s inner circles. Unsurprisingly, she was promptly labeled an ‘enemy of the state’ by the regime. Undeterred, Catherine has courageously utilized her extensive knowledge and expertise to denounce the activities of the Islamic Republic, helping to unveil a system that had long operated under a shroud of secrecy. Her revelations have provided a unique perspective on Iran’s actions, challenging its narrative and exposing the true nature of its operations.

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

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