Members from all major parties of both Houses of Parliament joined the Anglo-Iranian communities in celebrating the Persian New Year at a reception in the House of Commons on Wednesday, 23 March.
The cross-party speakers included prominent UK lawyers and representatives of the Anglo-Iranian communities. All wished those celebrating Nowruz around the world, and in particular the people of Iran and the Iranian refugees in Camp Liberty, a happy and prosperous new year.
Speakers reiterated their concerns over the continued human rights abuses in Iran, and joined the international community and the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran in condemning the alarming rise of executions, especially of juveniles.
Refuting the notion of moderation following the recent sham elections in Iran, speakers said that the nuclear deal with Iran did not address Tehran's domestic repression, its support for terrorism and the ballistic missile programme, which has left the regime much more aggressive in the region.
MPs emphasised that there should be no new beginning with Tehran until the regime ends its support for terrorism and stops executions, torture, arbitrary arrests and until it frees all political prisoners.
They also called on the UK government, the U.S. and the UN to take urgent action to protect the defenceless Iranian refugees at Camp Liberty until all of them are resettled in third countries.
In her message to the New Year reception, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Mrs Maryam Rajavi, thanked all the participants and members of Parliament for their invaluable support and said, “In the beginning of another Persian New Year with the freshness of spring, I wish you and your families, and the great nation of Britain a year of progress and peace, away from the danger of terrorism and fundamentalism.”
“Rouhani said he would bring moderation, but instead, he brought even more executions to Iran and more war to Syria … The mullahs said that the Iranian people would be better off after the nuclear deal, but the assets released after the lifting of sanctions went to the Revolutionary Guards and was spent on the wars in Yemen, Syria and Iraq. And our people became poorer than ever before”, she added.
“One of the outcomes of the nuclear deal was another massacre carried out against members of the Iranian Resistance in Camp Liberty. This once again proved that so long as the mullahs are in power, nothing will change in Iran and human rights advocates, political prisoners and Iran’s pioneers of freedom and democracy currently in Camp Liberty remain in danger and must be protected”, Mrs Rajavi said with regard to the situation at Camp Liberty.
Lord Carlile of Berriew QC, the co-chair of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF), said, “It was a serious mistake to decouple human rights from the nuclear negotiation. Indeed, the number of executions in Iran has risen since the nuclear deal and the Iranian people continue to suffer at the hands of a disgraceful regime, and western governments must keep pressuring the regime to end its atrocities.”
Sending his best new year wishes to the Camp Liberty residents, he added, “what they have been through is a serious breach of international law and close to genocide. The UK and the U.S. must exert maximum pressure on the Iranian regime so that the mullahs are not able to disrupt the relocation process of residents to third countries.”
The Rt. Hon David Jones MP said, “The rocket attack on Camp Liberty on 29 October was shocking and that is why I and many of my colleagues reached out to the FCO to call for actions. The future of the residents depends on the international community's determination to secure their protection and safety until they are relocated to third countries.”
“I remain concerned about the nuclear deal because it did not include a guarantee of the freedom and human rights of the Iranian people”, he added reflecting on the past year.
Dowlat Nowrouzi, the NCRI UK Representative, pointed out that the Iranian people defied repressive measures by the regime's Security Organs to celebrated the Nowruz festival.
She added, “As Mrs Rajavi highlighted their message is that the people of Iran want change and that the mullahs are doomed to go. They have shown this by thousands of protests and strikes over the past year. As such, the mullahs cannot preserve their rule except by the most brutal suppression.”
Prof. Sara Chandler QC, from Law Society and the Vice President of the European Bars Federation said, “The attacks [on Camp Liberty] are a blatant disregard for the rule of law, and should be investigated by an independent organisation … The Law Society joins with many others in making this demand for safety. Rest assured the Law Society as a leader of the legal profession in the UK will continue to remain an outspoken critic of the violation of human rights in Iraq and in Iran.”
Other cross-party MPs at the reception included Sir David Amess MP, co-chair of the BPCIF; Steve McCabe MP; Mark Williams MP; Sir Roger Gale MP; Bob Blackman MP; Jim Shannon MP; Dr Philippa Whitford MP; Nusrat Ghani MP; Rupa Huq MP; Rt Hon John Spellar MP; Neil Carmichael MP; Lord Maginnis of Drumglass; Lord Clarke of Hampstead; Lord Alton of Liverpool; Lord Hylton; Baroness Uddin and Lord Cotter.
British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF)
23 March 2016