{mosimage}Baroness Harris of Richmond addressed the largest gathering of Iranians in Paris on July 1, 2006.
"I stand here as a representative of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom. But also as the voice of a great many colleagues in the British Houses of Parliament, who wholeheartedly and actively support your cause for freedom and democracy in Iran," Baroness Harris said. Baroness Harris of Richmond addressed the largest gathering of Iranians in Paris on July 1, 2006. The following is the text of her speech:


Madam President, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. It is a great honor to be here before you. In what is undoubtedly a spectacular event.

I stand here as a representative of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom. But also as the voice of a great many colleagues in the British Houses of Parliament, who wholeheartedly and actively support your cause for freedom and democracy in Iran.

A once great nation, these days Iran has international notoriety for all the wrong reasons. I can tell you that women’s rights have been devastated in the past quarter of the century.

I find it entirely shocking that Iranian women face daily humiliation, oppression and terrible cruelty merely for being born female. Over the years we have been told of terrible cases of unimaginable barbarity faced by these women. Sadly since the appointment of Ahmadinejad, the plight of women, religious minorities, students and dissidents has further deteriorated.

Everyday that we delay our action, we are failing girls like Atefeh Rajabi led to the gallows at the age of 16 or women like Zahra Kazemi brutalized to death in Evin prison. Our inaction is costing lives. In very stark contrast to these heinous mullahs, I have the very real pleasure of meeting Madam Rajavi earlier this year.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am entirely convinced that she will lead your people to the freedom and democracy they so desperately crave. She and you have the burden of 70 million Iranians trapped in the prison that is modern day Iran.

You must continue your struggle and your resistance for your people’s cause is just. I say on behalf of myself and the majority of the members of the British parliament that we pledge to support you until we see freedom and democracy in Iran.

I would heartily welcome the decision by the Paris court of appeals earlier this month which revoked the very harsh judicial restrictions imposed three years ago by Paris antiterrorism judges on Mrs. Maryam Rajavi and 16 other members and supporters of the Iranian resistance. The lifting of these restrictions shows us once again that the raids of the 17 of June 3 years ago were completely unjustified and what based on a story put forward by the regime in Tehran in return for business contracts. It is appalling to know that the Iranian regime can so manipulate and use the west to further its rule of suppression of its major opposition.

It is crucial to point out that preventing the mullahs from achieving their objectives to obtain nuclear weapons does not mean another war in the Middle East. What is needed is a change in policy in the west, Beginning with our own government.

So, rather than giving concessions to the mullahs like placing restrictions on their democratic opposition, we should be doing the reverse. We strongly need to take a firm position and to impose sanctions against the Iranian regime. With regard to people’s Mujahedin of Iran, the major opposition movement and the member organization of the NCRI, it must come off the terrorist list immediately.
 
They must be allowed with the support of their people to determine their own future and the future of their nation, your nation. This is a statement supported by over two thousand British lawyers and the majority of members of both houses of parliament.

Furthermore, 5.2 million Iraqis have signed a statement warning of the threat of Iran’s meddling in Iraq and voicing support for the PMOI as a strong barrier against the expansion of the mullahs in human brand of Islamic fundamentalism in Iraq.

To conclude, I stand by you when you say “No” to Ahmadinejad, “No” to foreign war, “No” to appeasement and “Yes” to democratic change in Iran and yes to Maryam Rajavi and NCRI.