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Anglo-Iranian man on hunger strike for 30 days |  world news

Vahid Beheshti struggles to stand.

The 46-year-old also has difficulty sitting down.

He now spends most of his time lying on a mattress inside a flimsy tent and he told me he had a tendency to faint and lose consciousness.

This British-Iranian is on the 30th day of a hunger strike he is leading outside the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in London.

He wants the British government to appoint from iran notorious Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (or IRGC) as a terrorist organization, putting them in the same category as groups like Islamic State, Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah.

“I’m getting weaker physically but inside I’m getting stronger and I’m determined to achieve this big goal,” he told Sky News as rain flooded his ad hoc campsite.

The “Revolutionary Guards” is a state-backed military operation designed and deployed to protect Iran’s clerical regime. They carry out vast operations at home – their voluntary militia “Basij” used brutal methods to try to crush a popular revolt in Iran.

Overseas, their agents intimidate and threaten those who criticize the regime.

In London, they were accused of having targeted journalists from the “Iran International” television channel, based in the Chiswick district of London. After these threats escalated, the station moved its headquarters to Washington DC in February.

“We see the hands of the IRGC operating in London when the Met Police asked (TV channel) Iran International to move from London to (Washington) DC because of these threats. This means that we are not all safe because of the IRGC.”

Mr. Beheshti lived in a tent during his hunger strike

Mr Beheshti says his campaign is backed by the majority of MPs, including Tom Tugendhatthe British Minister for Security.

Mr Tugendhat suggested there would be justification for designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization after Iran executed a British-Iranian national Alireza Akbari in January.

However, the British government did not follow up.

Talks on Iran’s nuclear program have been suspended for months, with UN weapons inspectors being denied access to key sites in the country. The Foreign Office may be reluctant to close the door on future negotiations.

Richard Ratcliffe knows exactly what Mr Beheshti is going through.

His wife Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested by the IRGC during a trip to Tehran in 2016. She was convicted of plotting to overthrow the regime and spent years in the notorious Evin prison.

Mr. Ratcliffe mounted a high-profile campaign, which included a hunger strike in 2021, to free his companion.

“I was in that exact place in a tent like that, for 21 days and it was incredibly difficult. I didn’t do it lightly, it was like a long battle. I really feel what he crosses. “

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Anglo-Iranian man on hunger strike for 30 days |  world news
Richard Ratcliffe on hunger strike in 2021 Pic: AP

There are times, Mr Ratcliffe says, when extreme acts of protest are necessary.

“It’s a visceral form of protest, he’s trying to make a clear statement, for the Foreign Ministry to explain why it’s not (outlawing the IRGC).”

He supports the message and the method deployed by Mr. Beheshti.

The government is “pedaling slowly” on the “Revolutionary Guards” for “very opaque” reasons, he says.

“I think (the UK government) is treating it as a national human rights issue for Iran, not as a security issue, but (Mr. Beheshti) is right. When you have a situation where journalists British people are threatened on the streets of London, the government must seriously consider what it can do.”

Sky news

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