MPs call for a democratic change in Iran and support for the NCRI and Mrs Maryam Rajavi

On Tuesday, March 28, 2017, cross-party members of both Houses of Parliament joined the Anglo-Iranian community, jurists and human rights activists in an evening reception in Jubilee Room at the House of Commons to celebrate the Persian New Year, Nowruz, that marks the start of spring.

MPs and Peers expressed their warmest wishes to everyone celebrating Nowruz, in Britain, Iran and around the world, especially to the former Camp Liberty residents in Albania.

They reiterated their concern over the appalling human rights situation in Iran, including the alarming rate of executions and barbaric punishments, and hoped that the new year would bring an end to the on-going atrocities in Iran and be the year for the Iranian people’s democratic aspirations to be realised.

Speakers also welcomed the new resolution on Iran adopted by the UN Human Rights Council Member States, which renews the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Iran for another year. They echoed earlier remarks by the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran that “Any change requires lifting of the climate of fear which exists in the Iran”.

Sir Roger Gale MP said, “Serious atrocities and human rights abuses continue unabated during the “so-called moderate” president, Hassan Rouhani’s tenure proving that his “talk of reforms” four years ago is nothing but hollow promises to deceive the international community.

Participants also noted that the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran was highlighted for the first time by the UN, namely in the latest report on the human rights situation in Iran by the UN Special Rapporteur.

In this regard, Mr Tahar Boumedra, former UN Human Rights chief in Iraq, presented his new report which documents for the first time, the mass graves in Iran where the victims of the 1988 massacre are believed to be buried in secret.

The Rt Hon the Lord Dholakia OBE DL, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, described this as an important achievement for the families of victims, who are seeking justice and said “this is a recognition of the international campaign supported by parliamentarians in Europe and the U.S. calling for an independent investigation into this massacre and prosecution of the perpetrators.

Sir David Amess MP, co-chairman of the British Committee for Iran Freedom, emphasised that “The Iranian regime is not only the greatest obstacle to democratic progress in Iran but presents a major threat to the stability and peace in the region and the world.

I join my colleagues in urging the UK government to focus on imposing punitive measures on human rights abusers in Iran and act with our allies for the complete removal of the IRGC and its proxies from Syria, Iraq and the region as a vital step to stabilise the Middle East, which has been stressed by the NCRI president-elect Maryam Rajavi on numerous occasions”, he added in his remarks.

For far too long Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) have taken advantage of the West’s appeasement policy, not only engulfing the entire Middle East in flames, but also oppressing the Iranian people through atrocious and repeated human rights violations. Blacklisting the IRGC is long overdue and will be a first and necessary step in actually curbing Iranian threats”, Mr Struan Stevenson, President of the European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA) and former Chair of Friends of a Free Iran Intergroup (Caucus) in the European Parliament from 2004-2014, said in his remarks.

Bob Blackman MP added, “I agree with my honourable colleagues and other speakers who called for the designation of the entire IRGC as a Terrorist Organisation because its destabilising terror activities at home and abroad merit such designation.

Steve McCabe MP, a prominent member of the British Committee for Iran Freedom, said, “Nowruz is a time for renewal and rebirth. We need to use this time to renew our call for free and fair elections in Iran, respect of human rights and the opportunity for the opposition to demand a free and democratic, secular Iran.

On the occasion of the celebration of Nowruz, we are here to remind the people of Iran that we share your dreams of a free Iran. We continue to campaign for that end and shine a light on the denial of human rights within Iran. New Year represents the end of darkness and the onset of light and new life. To parliamentarians here in Westminster the new life we campaign for is a free, secular and democratic Iran”, Mark Williams MP, a prominent member of the British Committee for Iran Freedom, added.

Hossein Abedini, from NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee, thanked MPs, Peers and other participants for supporting the Iranian Resistance, the NCRI, and said “The Iranian Resistance strongly condemns the cowardly terrorist attack outside Parliament in London and sends its most sincere condolences to the families of the victims and stands in solidarity with the British people and their democratic representatives.”

On the situation in Iran, Mr Abedini added, “All commercial and diplomatic relations must be made contingent on an end to executions and torture. The regime’s criminal and invasive forces must be expelled from the region, the IRGC must be placed on the list of terrorist organisations and the Iranian people’s struggle for freedom must be recognised by the international community, and the West.

Other participants included: Rt Hon John Spellar MP; Martin Vickers MP; Mr Virendra Sharma MP; Craig Williams MP; Mike Freer MP; Mark Pritchard MP; Dawn Butler MP; Jim Shannon MP; Patrick Grady MP; Andrew MacKinlay, former MP; Lord Shipley OBE; Lord Cotter; Lord Singh of Wimbledon CBE; Earl of Glasgow DL; Malcolm Fowler, solicitor and former member of the Human Rights Committee of the Law Society of England and Wales; and members of the Anglo-Iranian Associations in the UK and Ireland.

British Committee for Iran Freedom

28 March 2017