MP urges Britons to leave Iran after arrest of ‘British linked’ suspects | Foreign policy

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All British people still in Iran should leave immediately because of the “industrialised” level of people being taken state hostage, the chair of the foreign affairs select committee has said.

Alicia Kearns made her call after the Iranian government said it had arrested seven “British linked” suspects including some dual nationals allegedly involved in the country’s anti-government protests, which began 100 days ago.

British diplomats are seeking clarification from Iran about those arrested.

Kearns said: “This is industrialised taking of state hostages. This is what Iran now does.”

She said the individuals were being described as “British linked” because the Iranians were trying to claim the west and the the UK in particular had been orchestrating the protests. “They will never admit this is because of a brutal corrupt and oppressive regime,” Kearns said.

“Iran has shown that it will happily arrest anyone with dual citizenship. If I was a British foreign dual national in Iran I would absolutely be leaving because the evidence is they will use them in any game of chess they can and use brutal repression. I would encourage anyone from the west to leave as safely as they can,” she added.

Kearns, the Conservative MP for Rutland and Melton, called for sanctions against Tehran to be announced every day after any protester was executed by the Iranian regime. She also challenged a claim made by Rishi Sunak that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps had already been placed under UK sanctions. He made the claim while giving evidence to the Commons liaison committee

The IRGC does not appear as a sanctioned entity on the latest consolidated list of Iranian individuals and entities subject to asset freezes or travel bans.

The seven arrested men were reportedly taken into custody in Kerman province and deemed to be members of a group code named Zagros, dedicated to planning protests. It is possible that none of those arrested are British nationals.

Inside Iran the government forced a plane carrying the wife and daughter of Ali Daei, the captain of the Iranian national football team between 2000 and 2006, to turn back after it had left Tehran for Dubai.

The plane landed at the airport of Kish, an island south of the Iranian mainland, where they were escorted off the plane by security guards. Daei said his family had left for a weekend shopping trip and denied they were trying to travel to the US. The authorities said the family had been arrested but were subject to a travel ban because they were linked with troublemakers and had called for a general strike.

In an attempt to clamp down on citizen journalism, the regime is also drawing up plans to make it an offence to film events in the street with a mobile phone.

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