Hamas and IRGC supporter ‘threatened to cut my neck’ during protest says activist

Vahid Beheshti, a former Camberwell resident, said his protest camp outside the Foreign Office was repeatedly targeted on Saturday.
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A protester calling for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to be proscribed as a terrorist organisation says he was attacked during pro-Palestinian protests on Saturday.

Journalist Vahid Beheshti says he is pro-Palestinian but opposed to Hamas, which he claims is funded by the IRGC.

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The 46-year-old former Camberwell resident has been staging a sit-in protest outside the Westminster building since May. He was hospitalised after a 72-day hunger strike earlier this year.

Following the atrocities by Hamas in Israel, the British-Iranian human rights activist has flown the Israeli flag at his camp alongside Persian, British and Ukrainian flags.

Video footage on social media shows two masked men grabbing the flag only for Mr Beheshti to run after them and retrieve it as other protesters ran towards him.

Police officers intervened and formed a barricade in front of Mr Beheshti and his supporters, while dozens of protesters confronted him.

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“On Saturday our camp was attacked three times, not by pro-Palestinians but by the supporters of Hamas, Hezbollah, Jihad Islamic and IRGC,” Mr Beheshti told LondonWorld.

“They came to us and attacked us with a picture of Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, part of the Revolutionary Guard, and Ayatollah Khamenei, the Iranian supreme leader.

“They shouted they wanted to kill us. They ripped the Israeli flag. They were forcing me to bring the flags down. I said there’s no way I would do that.

“On the third time they stole the flag and I got it back from them. They broke into our camp. I was so lucky there were police forces who created a wall in front of me so they didn’t let them get near. One of them threatened to cut my neck.”

Met Police

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The Met Police has not commented on the incident, but the force has said three of 15 people arrested during central London protests on Saturday have been charged with criminal offences - possession of a knife; intentionally causing racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress; and failing to comply with a requirement - under Section 60aa of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act - to remove a face covering. All will appear in magistrates’ court in Westminster in November.

Another person has been issued with a penalty notice for disorder, and three others have been referred to youth offending teams.

Members of Parliament

A number of MPs have condemned the attack on Mr Beheshti.

Alicia Kearns, the Conservative chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said: “Horrified to see my friend Vahid Beheshti face this appalling abuse — he put his own life on the line to expose the Iranian regime for who they are and to urge action. His cause remains important — we must sanction the IRGC. Inaction emboldens.”

Nicola Richards, the Conservative MP for West Bromwich East, said: “Vahid is flying the Israeli flag because he stands for freedom, democracy and peace. He knows the danger of Iran, the IRGC, Hamas and Hezbollah.”

British-Iranian activist Vahid Beheshti said his protest camp outside the Foreign Office was attacked on SaturdayBritish-Iranian activist Vahid Beheshti said his protest camp outside the Foreign Office was attacked on Saturday
British-Iranian activist Vahid Beheshti said his protest camp outside the Foreign Office was attacked on Saturday


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Mr Beheshti says he has received daily threats from regime loyalists since starting his protest in February. Iran recently issued a fatwa against him because of his campaigning against the authoritarian regime.

“Every day that I wake up I think it’s going to be my last,” he said. “The whole last year has been like that. I’m going through this but I know that is the price that I am choosing to pay for our freedom, for our values, for our democracy. I think I have no choice than to stand for what our values are in this country.”

He says people in his homeland are suffering for simply voicing opposition to the regime.

Mr Beheshti says that with the recent attacks from Hamas, the government will have no choice but to proscribe the IRGC as a terror group. The Iranian is widely understood to support Hamas but the details of its support are debated.

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“Proscription is just the beginning,” Mr Beheshti. “We have to go for the head of the octopus which is the Iranian regime.”


Since Hamas’s attack on Israel on the morning of October 7, more than 1,400 Israelis and more than 2,800 Palestinians have been killed. At least six British people are among those dead, prime minister Rishi Sunak said in the House of Commons on Monday, and 10 remain missing.

A UK government spokesperson previously said: “Whilst the government keeps the list of proscribed organisations under review, we do not comment on whether a specific organisation is or is not being considered for proscription.”

The Met Police has been contacted for comment.

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