Conference on Human Rights violations and other concerns vis-à-vis Iran - UK Parliament, 17 October 2019

Dozens of cross-party MPs and Peers discussed the Iranian regime’s systematic human rights abuses and its alarming use of death penalty at a conference in Parliament on 17 October 2019.

Speakers at the conference, organised for the occasion of the World Day against Death Penalty, noted that Iran is one of the countries that deserves special attention given that it has the highest number of executions per capita in the world for many years and that current ministers and senior officials are responsible for the massacre of thousands of political prisoners in Iran in 1988.

At least 273 individuals were executed in Iran since October last year, including 11 women, eight juvenile offenders and six political prisoners, according to a report from the Iran Human Rights Monitor. 16 people were hanged in public and at least eight were executed on the vague charges of “waging war on God” or “corruption on earth” in 2019.

Iran’s systematic use of the death penalty is best manifested in the 1988 crime against humanity, where 30,000 political prisoners in Iran were massacred. Today, political prisoners are still arrested, tortured and executed in order to suppress any voices of change”, Dr Matthew Offord MP, who chaired the conference said in his opening remarks.

In her message to the conference, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Mrs Maryam Rajavi, thanked the cross-party MPs and Peers for supporting and promoting the most basic and fundamental human rights of the Iranian people.

Our people and resistance have paid a heavy price in the resistance against theocracy in Iran. 120,000 political executions, hundreds of thousands of tortured dissidents, and constant suppression of and discrimination against women as well as ethnic and religious minorities. About 4,000 people have been executed in Iran since 2013, when Rouhani became president”, she added.

Why are the mullahs so much in need of brutal crackdown? Because without it, their regime will fall in the face of widespread public discontent. Because, there is an ongoing protest movement against the mullahs across Iran”, Mrs Rajavi said.

Firmness via-à-vis this regime is an imperative to global and regional peace and security. Any ties or trade with this regime must be predicated on ending executions and torture in Iran, and stopping the export of terrorism”, the NCRI President-elect said, reaffirming that “the Iranian Resistance seeks to establish a republic based on freedom, democracy and the separation of religion and state, making human rights and gender equality the highest priority.

The panellists including Mr Hossein Abedini of NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee also raised other serious concerns with regards to the regime and its malign and destabilising behaviour that threaten the world peace and stability in the region.

In a statement to the House of Commons on 25 September, Foreign Secretary the Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP criticised Iran’s systematic violations of international rules and said, “Take, first, the recent attacks on the Aramco facilities in Saudi Arabia … We are now confident that Iran was responsible. The evidence is clear, and there is no plausible alternative explanation. This conduct amounts to an armed attack on Saudi Arabia, a violation of one of the basic principles of international law under the United Nations Charter.

The cross-party panellists welcomed the Foreign Secretary’s strong statement on Iran and agreed that destabilising actions by the regime must have consequences. They emphasised that it is time to go beyond mere condemnations and adopt a firm policy on Iran that puts maximal pressure on the regime and hold its leaders and repressive forces to account.

Iran’s overseas terrorism and warmongering is a tactic to divert attention from its domestic impasse - which is the inability and unwillingness to address the legitimate demand of the Iranian people for increased civil liberties, freedoms and general change”, Dr Matthew Offord said.

The co-chairman of British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF), Sir David Amess MP, said, “the Government and the FCO now agree that the regime in Iran must be held accountable for its terrorism and human rights violations. The Government must now act to turn its good words into concrete actions in favour of a firm policy on Iran.

Summarising the recommendations put forward by the cross-party speakers, Sir David Amess said: “A firm policy on Iran must begin by proscribing the IRGC and the Ministry of Intelligence as Foreign Terrorist Organisations in their entirety - because they are the main forces behind the regime’s export of terrorism and warmongering.

The proscription should then be followed by punitive measures against these institutions and their senior regime leaders to deprive them of funds and resources. This is especially important, as these funds are used to continue their domestic crackdown and repression on the Iranian people”, he added, and joined other speakers backing the call by the NCRI President-elect, Mrs Maryam Rajavi, to the UK Government to “refer the human rights dossier of the Iranian regime, and the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran to the UN Security Council.

Our government should spearhead efforts at the UN with European allies to establish a UN-led investigation and accountability process to bring to justice those responsible for the 1988 massacre and other human rights violations”, Steve McCabe MP said in his remarks, which was supported by the other panellists.

Bob Blackman MP reiterated the call for an UN-led inquiry into the 1988 massacre and said, “we have a new Special Rapporteur on Iran, Javaid Rahman, and we urge him to continue the work of his predecessor on the 1988 massacre and to highlight in his report the need for an UN-led investigation into this atrocity, which is crime against humanity, since the perpetrators are clearly enjoying impunity and taking proud in their atrocities.

The failure to do so will only embolden to regime to contemplate to carry out another massacre of dissidents and activists as it faces growing anti-regime protest in the country”, Bob Blackman said.

Lord Clarke of Hampstead CBE added, “Iran under this regime remains one of the few countries in the world that executes juveniles in flagrant violation of international law. Today, more than 90 other juveniles remain at risk of execution. The International Community must establish a process of accountability through referral of the regime ‘s human rights record to the UN Security Council to stop these executions. In this regard, the UK can and should play a vital and decisive role as both a respected member of the UN Human rights Council and permanent member of UN Security Council.

A statement on Iran by the British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF) endorsing these recommendations was presented by the Rt Hon David Jones MP, former Secretary of State for Wales, at the conference. The statement was supported by over 120 Parliamentarians from different parties during the recent party conferences.

The strong and cross-party support for the Iran statement shows existing consensus that inaction and passivity in face of Iran regime’s malign activities at home and abroad are no longer an option. The Foreign Secretary admitted this in his recent statement on Iran, which hopefully will lead to concrete steps to implement the recommendations made today”, David Jones added.

In their statement, the cross-party signatories from both Houses of UK Parliament urge the UK Government to recognise the right of the Iranian people for democratic regime change and state, “We support the popular protests in Iran against corruption and suppression, and we support the 10-point plan for a future free Iran as outlined by the NCRI President-elect, Maryam Rajavi.

Iran’s theocratic regime maintains power essentially by two mean; Internal repression and the spread of terrorism abroad. Today, the regime in Iran is directing its terrorist plots against the NCRI and Iranian dissidents through its embassies and diplomatic missions. Assadollah Assadi, one of the regime’s so-called high ranking diplomats, is today in jail in Belgium waiting prosecution for masterminding, directing and providing the explosive to bomb the large Free Iran gathering in Paris. He must face trial and be punished for this heinous terrorist plot”, Mr Hossein Abedini of the NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee, said in his concluding remarks.

Other speakers and participants included: Roger Godsiff MP; Stephen Pound MP; Kate Hoey MP; Martin Vickers MP; Lord Singh of Wimbeldon; Lord Maginnis of Drumglass; Dr. Jocellyne Scutt, university professor, lawyer, writer, commentator, film maker and councillor for Cambridge; Dr Tahar Boumedra, former advisor to the United Nations Special Representative to the Secretary-General and the former chief of the human rights office of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI); and members of the Anglo-Iranian community in London and family members of the victims of the 1988 massacre in Iran.

British Committee for Iran Freedom

17 October 2019