The UK government should make it clear to rulers of Iran that their behaviour towards their own people is unacceptable and stand up against Tehran's growing interventions in the region

The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF) censures the invitation to Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif to attend the Syria Donor Conference on Thursday, February 4, and to address a meeting in the House of Commons later that evening.

Inviting the Iranian regime's representatives to the Syria Donor Conference, while Tehran continues to provide financial support to the Assad regime and takes part in his massacring of the Syrian people through the Revolutionary Guard Corps and the terrorist proxy Hezbollah, is an affront to many defenceless victims and risk to further intensify the refugee crisis in Europe. Simply put, Iran has been and remains the source of instability in the region.

Nothing in the Iranian regime's behaviour justifies the welcoming of its foreign minister to UK, especially to attend a meeting at the mother of all parliaments and democracies as millions of Iranians are deprived from their democratic aspirations and denied freedom of speech, expression and assembly by the regime's brutal Security forces.

In a shocking report on January 26 which revealed the truth behind Rouhani's charm offensive in Europe, Amnesty International wrote, Iran’s hypocrisy exposed as scores of juveniles are sent to the gallows. The report listed 73 executions of juvenile offenders during the last decade and pointed out that according to the UN at least 160 juveniles are currently on death row.

The UN Secretary-General and the UN Special Rapporteur for Iran have both expressed deep concerns over the increasing number of executions in Iran. Since Rouhani took office two years ago over 2000 people have been executed in Iran including 63 women, which makes the country the world's leading executioner per capita. In addition, given the latest coordinated crackdown on media and popular dissent, which is highlighted by various NGOs, Iran is one of the largest prisons for journalists and rights activists in the world.

Given this alarming development, the decoupling of Tehran's human rights abuses and its support for terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism from the nuclear negotiations was a mistake. With the nuclear dossier now concluded, the UK policy vis-à-vis Tehran regime must focus on human rights and stopping executions in Iran. This was reiterated recently in a policy recommendation supported by over 200 cross-party members of both Houses of Parliament.

The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF) urges the UK government, and other European governments, to make any improvements of relations with Tehran contingent upon an end to executions, public hangings, torture, arbitrary arrests as well as the immediate release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Iran.

The UK government, and the EU, must continue to pressure the Iranian regime to that end and consider punitive measures against those responsible for these atrocities in order to make it clear to the rulers of Iran that their behaviour in the region and towards their own people is unacceptable.

British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF)

3 February 2016