Britain's blacklisting of Iranian-supported organizations

Sawsan Al Shaer

Published: Updated:

We greatly appreciate the British government’s recent efforts of blacklisting Iranian-supported organizations as this helps us combat Iranian terrorism and its wings in the region.

Efforts by Bahraini security apparatuses and the Bahraini embassy in Britain over the past few years have helped pursue and arrest terrorists there and expose their false claims to the British. This required determination and faith in the cause as well as an active diplomatic mission.

This success calls for establishing an apparatus that handles pursuing wanted men who fled to Arab, European and American countries. This apparatus can provide these countries with evidence that implicates the organizations these wanted men belong to and can examine the legal measures that can help them be extradited.

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It took us a long time to pursue terrorists and restrain their activity outside Bahrain. It’s quite noticeable that terrorists who are currently active in Britain belong to the second generation. The first generation escaped to Britain in the 1990’s. Some of them were granted the British nationality, and gained the same privileges as British citizens.

The attack was carried out using explosives which Iran helped smuggle. Iran has also been teaching them how to manufacture homemade explosives since the 1990’s.

Sawsan Al Shaer

Safe haven?

These people ended up establishing centers, buying real estate and opening bank accounts. Some even provided havens to others who escaped justice in their countries. Meanwhile, Iran funded their commercial projects. These terrorists thus found a safe haven in Britain and launched their terror operations from there. In 2011, they killed around 30 security forces in Bahrain and injured thousands others. The attack was carried out using explosives which Iran helped smuggle. Iran has also been teaching them how to manufacture homemade explosives since the 1990’s. We pursued these terrorists in Bahrain but we did not realize the threats posed via benefitting from these facilitations which Britain provided to those who reside there – facilitations that went as far as granting them the nationality.

Pursuing terrorists

Many of these terrorists are present in European countries, such as in Germany, and move freely there. This is in addition to those who fled to Arab countries and Iran. We must establish an apparatus that works within the interior and foreign affairs’ ministries to pursue fugitives, whether they are in Iraq, Lebanon, Europe or the US. We must even demand Iran to hand over those wanted, and we must record these demands at the UN so all countries learn that Iran is harboring terrorists and understand that Tehran supports terrorism. In this case, Iran will also bear the consequences of its behavior.

It’s not impossible to work towards that end although we never thought there will come a day when the British judiciary pursues thugs who view Britain as a safe haven and exploit its laws to carry out terror activities.

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The terror lists which Bahrain provided to Iraq and Lebanon require public follow-up so the latter two fully understand that we will not be silenced and that we will take all legal and diplomatic measures to get them to hand over those wanted – or else we will put this case forward at every occasion.

Delay in addressing a matter does not mean inaction. Britain’s recent success is encouraging as it paves way towards handing over those wanted no matter where they are. These fugitives must know that escaping justice is impossible even if they had fled Bahrain.

This article is also available in Arabic.

Sawsan Al Shaer is a Bahraini writer and journalist. She tweets @sawsanalshaer

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.