The UK’s Duke of Sussex has been placed at the centre of a diplomatic row after the Iran’s foreign ministry accused the UK of “preaching” about human rights while turning a “blind eye” to Prince Harry’s killing of 25 Taliban members.
Tensions between the UK and Iran have escalated over the execution last week of Ali Reza Akbari, a British-Iranian citizen who was found guilty in Iran of spying for the United Kingdom. While the UK criticised and condemned Akbari’s execution and recalled the UK ambassador from Tehran, many, including the Labour Party in Britain, have criticised their response by demanding that the UK label the IRGC as a terrorist organisation.
Iran’s foreign ministry tweeted yesterday that the UK was in no place to lecture others about human rights records when a “royal family member, sees the killing of 25 innocent people as removal of chess pieces and has no regrets over the issue, and those who turn a blind eye to this war crime”.
The comments made by the foreign ministry in Iran are in reference to a section in Prince Harry’s new book Spare, in which he described his experience during his two tours in Afghanistan.
“While in the heat and fog of combat, I didn’t think of those 25 as people,” he wrote. “You can’t kill people if you think of them as people. You can’t really harm people if you think of them as people.”
Harry’s remarks have not only elicited criticism from Taliban officials but also several British military figures although Harry has denied boasting about his kill count.
The UK has stopped short of designating Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation, even though MP’s last week voted in favour of the designation. Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission announced on Tuesday that she backed moves to list the IRGC as a terrorist organisation as a way of responding to the “trampling” of human rights in Iran.
The US designated the IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) on April 8, 2019. The decision was made by the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and was based on the IRGC’s role in supporting various terrorist groups and militants in the Middle East, as well as its involvement in human rights abuses in Iran. The designation was also intended to increase pressure on the Iranian government and its support for terrorism. Other countries that have designated the IRGC, or its Quds Force branch, include: US, Canada, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Although other countries have taken measures to counter IRGC’s activities such as imposing sanctions on individuals and entities associated with the organisation.
Image Credit: Harry: The Interview on ITV1 and ITVX PA via AP