Calls on the UK and European countries to proscribe the IRGC as a terrorist organisation and to consider coordinated measures like closing Iranian embassies and expelling Iranian diplomats as part of their firm policy toward Iran

Cross-party MPs and Peers took part in a parliamentary conference today discussing the urgent topic of Iran’s state sponsored terrorism and presenting policy recommendations to counter the threats it poses to global peace and European security.

The conference, held virtually and streamed online, was also attended by experts on Iran and terrorism including former members of the UK, Irish and European parliaments and representatives of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) UK Office.

The conference pointed to at least ten terrorists and espionage campaigns by the Iranian regime, targeting Iranian dissidents in Europe and the US since 2018, which led to the expulsion of a number of Iranian diplomats from France and the Netherlands and the Iranian Ambassador to Albania.

Speakers also noted that in an historic case, a senior Iranian diplomat, Assadolah Assadi, is to stand trial in Belgium next month for trying to bomb the annual gathering of the NCRI in Paris on 28 June 2018. The speakers joined the chairman in strongly condemning Assadi’s recent threat of retaliation if he was to be found guilty of the Paris bomb plot.

Struan Stevenson, former Scottish MEP, Middle East expert and coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change, who chaired the conference, said, “As Foreign Minister, Zarif is in charge of Iran’s army of ambassadors and diplomatic staff and therefore responsible for the terrorist plots since 2018.”

He summarised the policy recommendations presented at the conference and said, “Today, we call on Europe to adopt a firm policy on Iran. We urge European Governments to consider coordinated measures like closing Iranian embassies and expelling Iranian diplomats and to make any diplomatic and economic relations with Iran contingent on the regime verifiably abandoning state terrorism.”

“Furthermore, we called on the UK and European Governments to join the US in implementing all of the UN sanctions on Iran and to proscribe the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the regime’s Intelligence Ministry (MOIS) in their entirety.”

Professor Lord Alton of Liverpool added, “The Iranian people are the ones who decide the future of their country. And they have a democratic alternative in the NCRI led by Madame Rajavi and her 10-point democratic platform for future Iran. We in the UK and Europe must recognise that and stand with the people of Iran in their quest for a better future.”

Lord Alton referred to the crackdown and surge of Iran-backed terrorism against Iranian dissidents in Europe since 2018, and said, “the UK Government needs to refer the regime’s appalling violations of human rights to the UN Security Council and to designate the leaders of this regime as perpetrators of crimes against humanity and sponsors of terrorism. At a very minimum, the UK should be seeking a referral and preliminary investigation by the International Criminal Court.”

The NCRI President-elect Mrs Maryam Rajavi thanked the speakers and representatives of the people of the UK and Ireland for their sense of responsibility toward the threat posed by the Iranian regime and for their support for the Iranian people’s human rights.

“Today, the mullahs are at their weakest possible point. Indeed, it is the policy of appeasement that has emboldened the mullahs and has given them free reign to conduct terrorism abroad and carry out suppression at home”, Mrs Rajavi said calling on “parliaments in Europe to take the lead in adopting a new policy towards Iran”.

“Since December 2017, five major uprisings have erupted against the regime. By killing at least 1,500 youths and arresting at least 12,000, [the Supreme Leader] Khamenei tried to suppress the November 2019 uprising. These protests are sparks beneath the ashes and the daily activities of young people and Resistance Units prove this fact. This explains why the mullahs have resorted to further terrorism abroad, particularly in Europe”, Mrs Rajavi said in her message.

Ms Dowlat Nowrouzi, NCRI UK Representative, stated, “I would like to take this opportunity to urge you to make representations to the UN Missions of your countries in Geneva urging them to act to hold the regime to account for its human rights violations during the ongoing session of the UN Human Rights Council.”

The Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP, former Secretary of State for Environment, said: “The mullahs are using terrorism to target Iranian dissidents abroad such as the NCRI. [The regime] and its IRGC are a threat in many places around the world.”

“It is shocking that the UN Arms Embargo on Iran is due to expire in the coming days”. Theresa Villiers said that she is supporting the call on the UK to proscribe the IRGC.

Steve McCabe MP supported the policy recommendations and said, “There are those who argue for appeasement and more dialogue with the regime. It will not help. Iran is the leading sponsor of state terrorism. The only approach is to exclude the regime from the world community and let them know that they must either provide truly free and fair elections or they will be isolated.”

Bob Blackman MP said “More than 70 parliamentarians from several European countries have signed a statement we have initiated in support of the policy recommendations presented today, which also have widespread, cross-party support in the UK House of Commons”. He also revealed that he had attended the 2018 gathering in Paris and has filed a complaint against the regime for its role in the bombing plot, as a third party to the court in Belgium.

Toby Perkins MP, endorsed the policy recommendations and said, “The regime targets the Iranian Resistance because Mrs Maryam Rajavi has a democratic platform for the future of Iran and because the NCRI has a crucial role in exposing the regime’s human rights abuses and illicit behaviour.”

Mr Hossein Abedini of the NCRI’s Foreign Affairs Committee, who is a surviving victim of the regime’s terrorism, said, “The IRGC answers only to the Supreme Leader Khamenei and exists only to guarantee the clerical regime’s survival and secure Khamenei’s grip on power. As the leader of the Iranian resistance has said, Iran does not need two armies. We call on the UK and other European countries to support the NCRI’s global campaign to disband the IRGC and have its billion dollars budget allocated to improve the life and the economy of the Iranian people.”

Other speakers at the conference included: Ian Mearns MP; Gill Furniss MP; Lord Maginnis of Drumglass; Anthea McIntyre, former British MEP; labour politicians, Sir Alan Meale, Roger Godsiff and Liberal Democrat Mark Williams; John Perry, former Irish Minister; Gerry Horkan, former Irish Senator.

British Committee for Iran Freedom

15 October 2020