MPs and Peers call on the UK Government to stand with the Iranian people and their just Resistance Movement led by Mrs Maryam Rajavi

MPs call on the UK Government to stand with the Iranian people and their just Resistance Movement led by Mrs Maryam Rajavi during a conference in the House of Commons, 21 January 2020

At a conference in the House of Commons on Tuesday, 21 January, cross-party MPs and Peers discussed the future UK Policy on Iran following the recent protests in the country.

The cross-party speakers stressed that the waves of popular protests across Iran since December 2017 with chants targeting the regime, its Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), are public rejection of the ruling theocracy and a nationwide demand for change and a democratic, free Iran.

They strongly supported the protests which continue across the country despite authorities’ brutal response with the IRGC and Security Forces killing at least 1,500 protesters and arresting thousands of others.

Dr Matthew Offord MP, who chaired the conference called for a firm policy on Iran and said: “Our Government must work with the EU to proscribe the IRGC and Iran’s Intelligence Ministry as terrorist organisations in their entirety in order to deny the regime resources and funds it will use to suppress protesters and export terrorism.”

In her message to the conference, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, Mrs Maryam Rajavi said: “I thank you for supporting the uprising of the people of Iran by urging your government to adopt a decisive policy against the Iranian regime and to recognise the right of the Iranian people to resistance. The Iran uprising will not be stopped. The struggle of the people of Iran, the resistance units, and rebellious youth will continue to end the religious fascism.”

“We are at a sensitive moment in the history of the people of Iran. The Iranian Resistance seeks to establish a republic based on people’s free choice and vote, separation of religion and state, pluralism, gender equality, and abolition of the death penalty”, Mrs Rajavi added.

The NCRI President-elect also raised the issue of the tragic downing of the passenger plane in Tehran by two IRGC missiles that killed 176 innocent people and said: “This is a horrific crime which caused outrage in Iran and around the world. The people of Iran will neither forgive nor forget. Khamenei, Rouhani and commanders of the Revolutionary Guards must be brought to justice.”

The cross-party panellists criticised the current policy towards Iran pursued by the UK Government and the FCO’s long fixation to elevate a so called moderate faction from within the ruling theocracy, as being out of touch with the realities in Iran and a dangerous illusion.

“The UK Government should stand with the Iranian people and the NCRI, recognising their democratic aspirations and their right to change the regime for a better future”, the Rt Hon David Jones MP, former Secretary of State for Wales, said, summarising the recommendations put forward by the other cross-party panellists at the conference calling for a firm policy on Iran. He also highlighted the role of the Iranian Resistance movement, NCRI, and its resistance units in organising the recent protests in Iran.

“In the short term this firm policy must include the UK Government working with international allies at the UN and the EU to support the brave protesters in Iran; and to pressure the regime to immediately release all political prisoners, dual citizens and those arrested in the recent popular uprisings”, he added.

Prof. Lord Alton of Liverpool highlighted the killing of at least 1,500 protesters during the November protests and the increasing crackdown on public dissent since 2018, and said: “UK Government must work with allies at the UN to hold the regime and its leaders to account for their atrocities including the killing of protesters and the brutal crackdown on the recent popular uprisings as well as the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran’s prisons by referring them to an international tribunal.”

Steve McCabe MP joined the other panellists in backing the call by the NCRI President-elect, Maryam Rajavi, on the UN Security Council to send a fact-finding mission to Iran to investigate the killing of protesters and reports of torture in Iran’s prisons of those arrested.

“We expect the UK Government to urgently take the necessary actions, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, to secure this fact-finding mission”, he said, pointing out that UK must face the reality that we cannot negotiate with the regime because it has no respect for human life, law and order or the diplomatic staff of other countries.

With regards to the recent events in the region, speakers pointed to the protests against Iran’s regime in Iraq and Lebanon for its destructive meddling in these countries. They agreed that these protests together with the elimination of Quds-force commander Qassem Soleimani, crushed Iran regime’s plans to continue to export terrorism and warmongering abroad.

Rt Hon John Spellar MP said, “This is a regime responsible for the destabilisation of Iraq, Syria Jemen, and right away the Middle East, resulting in many deaths.”

“This is a rogue regime ruling with brutal repression. We should stand in solidarity with and pay tribute to those standing up to the regime and work with the people in the country who protest for a better future and a free Iran”, he added.

The conference also warned about Tehran’s repeated steps to break key restrictions set out in the Iran Nuclear Deal, the JCPOA, as a sign of the regime’s domestic, regional and international impasse.

The cross-party panellists welcomed the UK Government’s recent actions including the proscribing of the entirety of Hezbollah as a terrorist group and the decision with France and Germany to trigger the Dispute Resolution Mechanism under the JCPOA.

However, they stressed that while these are positive steps in right direction, the UK should do more to increase pressure on the regime in Iran, as part of a firm policy, by proscribing the entire IRGC as a foreign terrorist organisation and by working with international allies to reinstate the six UN Security Council resolutions on Iran’s nuclear programme and the nuclear- related UN sanctions.

Hossein Abedini of the NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee, thanked members of parliament for their support for the cause of human rights and democracy in Iran and said, “In gathering IRGC and its Bassiji thugs across the country [for the Friday-prayer], Khamenei tried to confront the crippling blow with the termination of Soleimani and chants of death to Khamenei, and IRGC you’re ISIS by millions of Iranians. He displayed his deadly impasse and increased the nation’s rage.”

He added, “Khamenei dubbed the Quds Force, an international terrorist organisation, as ‘combatants without borders’, and ‘a humane institution’ with ‘great humanitarian instincts’. Nevertheless, he admitted that the main task of Quds Force’s crime is to secure the regime’s stability inside Iran. He described millions of Iranians on the streets demanding freedom and democratic change as beguiled and unwilling to sacrifice for his despicable religious dictatorship.”

Other speakers at the conference included: Bob Blackman MP; Toby Perkins MP; Jim Shannon MP; Ian Mearns MP; Lord Clarke of Hampstead CBE; Lord Singh of Wimbledon CBE; and Lord Cotter.

British Committee for Iran Freedom

21 January 2020