At a conference in the House of Commons today, members from both Houses of Parliament called on the Government to act on its previous statements to counter Iran’s disruptive influence in the Middle East; and to proscribe its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a terrorist organisation answerable only to “The Supreme Leader”.
In her speech to the Lord Mayor’s Banquet 2017 on 13 November, Prime Minister Theresa May stressed: “while we will stand firm in our support for the Iran nuclear deal, we are also determined to counter destabilising Iranian actions in the region and their ballistic missile proliferation, working with the US, France and Germany in particular.”
Speakers today referred to IRGC’s pivotal role in advancing Tehran's destabilising activities in the region. MPs also highlighted IRGC’s participation in a renewed crackdown on human rights defenders, activists, dissidents, supporters of Iran’s democratic opposition, the PMOI, students, dual citizens and their families inside Iran.
Lord Carlile of Berriew QC, co-chairman of the British Committee for Iran Freedom, said: “In 2015, a policy statement by the British Committee for Iran Freedom, supported by near 200 members from both Houses and all major parties, called for a firm policy on Iran and support for the democratic opposition, NCRI.”
“I regret that the UK and other world powers decided instead to decouple Iran’s support for terrorism and its human rights abuses from the nuclear negotiations. The Government can now correct that mistake by working with allies to make it clear to Tehran that its destructive influence in Middle East is no longer acceptable and that the IRGC must leave the region, and its proxies and Iran-backed militias in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon must disarm.”
Dr Matthew Offord MP, who chaired the conference, added: “the Iranian regime is benefiting from the influx of cash following the nuclear deal to create and control a corridor from Tehran through Iraq and Syria, to Mediterranean. Today, the Iranian regime is trying to replicate its earlier creation, Hezbollah, in these countries through the IRGC, and the UK must join the US and designate the IRGC as a terrorist organisation, which will deprive it from using the provided sanctions relief to finance its terrorist activities and domestic crackdown.”
Sir David Amess MP, said: “Together with my colleagues, I sponsored a cross party Early Day Motion in Parliament last month echoing what many speakers have said here today. The fact that the EDM already has over 50 signatories shows that there is widespread, cross party support in the House of Commons for proscribing the IRGC.”
Steve McCabe MP added: “We must not forget that the IRGC’s persecution also include arrest of online activists, bloggers, journalist and social media users in Iran under various bogus charges like insulting Islam, or the Supreme Leader or acting against the system. In this context, we should also remember an alleged Iranian cyberattack against us in this parliament. So, it is time for the Government to hold the Iranian regime responsible not only for its atrocities at home and support for terrorism abroad but also for its aggression online. A blacklisting of IRGC is a good first step in right direction.”
The Rt Hon the Lord Dholakia OBE DL, said: “The human rights situation is very alarming and the FCO has designated Iran as a human rights priority country. Several prominent members of the IRGC are listed under EU human rights sanctions but the Government must act with EU to expand that list and also help the Iranian people to bring these officials to justice in an international tribunal.”
Prof Lord Alton of Liverpool echoing the Lord Dholakia’s remarks added: “there are many reports of harassment and detention of human rights defenders and dual citizens by the IRGC in Iran. The latest report by the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran sets out the role of the IRGC in human rights violations in Iran, in particular, their role in the harassment and detention of minority groups.”
Hossein Abedini, from NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee presented an exclusive report exposing the 20 billion dollar contract by the IRGC to ensure the continued presence of the Iranian regime in Syria.
Citing the report obtained by the sources of Iran's main organised democratic opposition, the PMOI inside Iran, Mr Abedini said: “Iran’s regime has signed a secret agreement with the regime of Bashir Assad in Syria worth $20 billion allowing the IRGC to run numerous projects in Syria.”
He also exposed information on how the Iranian regime has built 15 terrorist centres throughout Iran training recruits from Islamic countries for carrying out terrorist operations in the Persian Gulf and throughout the region.
Other participants and speakers include: Sir Roger Gale MP; Louise Ellman MP; Jim Shannon MP; Dr David Drew MP; Stephen Pound MP; Baroness Verma; Lord Maginnis of Drumglass; Lord Cotter; and Lord Singh of Wimbledon.
British Committee for Iran Freedom
6 December 2017