Iran warns UK over ‘terror designations’

Demonstration in London demanding an end to the siege on Gaza

THE UK is using ‘terror designations’ as a tool to criminalise grassroot support for Palestine,’ Iran has warned.

Iran was reacting to Tory Home Secretary Priti Patel’s announcement during a speech to the right-wing Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington DC that that the UK government intends to designate Hamas in its entirety as a ‘terrorist organisation’.

As part of the new law, wearing clothes that ‘suggest’ support for Hamas, organising meetings for the group, or publishing an image of its flag or logo, would all be in breach.

The move will bring the UK in line with the United States, Canada, Israel, and the European Union, which have designated Hamas as a ‘terrorist organisation’ in its entirety.

Previously, the UK only outlawed the armed wing of the resistance group – the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades.

‘ “Terrorist designations” by Western countries have become a tool to criminalise grassroots support for the Palestinian cause,’ Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said via Twitter on Monday evening.

Khatibzadeh also warned that such ‘phoney designations’ do not merely target groups that resist Israeli apartheid, but they primarily target civil societies in the West.

The remarks came after Instagram social networking service deleted a post by Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian that condemned the British government’s decision to ban the Gaza-based Hamas resistance group.

The top Iranian diplomat said that holding a referendum with the participation of the original inhabitants of Palestine (Muslims, Jews, and Christians) is the sole political solution to the Palestinian issue, adding: ‘The rights of the Palestinian people cannot be violated by distorting realities.’

Founded in 1987, following the first Palestinian uprising (Intifada), Hamas is the largest Palestinian resistance movement. Since 2007 it has ruled the besieged Gaza Strip and has defended the impoverished enclave against four major Israeli wars, including the most recent 11-day conflict in May which ended in an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire.