The British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF) unveiled a joint initiative backed by over 230 cross-party members of the UK Parliament at a conference in Parliament today in support of the Iranian people's uprising and their struggle for a free and democratic Iran.

In light of the recent execution of protesters in Iran, the initiative sets out five concrete steps for the UK, the UN, and its member states to support the popular uprising in Iran. The steps consist of recognition of the Iranian people's right to self-defence as well as the pro-democracy opposition coalition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and its president-elect Mrs. Maryam Rajavi; international measures to end impunity for regime leaders; diplomatic boycott of Tehran and securing the Iranian people’s free access to the internet.

The cross-party speakers commended the UK Government’s firm stance against the violent repression of protests in Iran, including the vote in support of the UN Human Rights Council's resolution to establish an investigation into human rights violations by the regime since the beginning of the nationwide protests.

They also welcomed the rounds of human rights sanctions against IRGC commanders and officials within the regime's judicial and prison systems and the summoning of Tehran's most senior diplomat to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) over the execution of protesters, as positive steps in the right direction.

The regime in Iran recently announced punitive measures against the British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF) and its members in response to the committee's long-time work to advance and promote the cause of human rights, freedom, and democracy in Iran.

The co-president of BCFIF, Dr. Matthew Offord MP, strongly condemned the execution of two young protesters, Mohsen Shekari and Majidreza Rahnavard, on behalf of the committee and the cross-party speakers.

“As Amnesty International said in its position, these horrifying executions of young protesters expose the Iranian regime's cruelty,” Dr. Offord said in his opening remarks announcing BCFIF's new joint initiative.

“This statement is supported by over 230 cross-party MPs and Peers and reiterates that there is a viable Iranian solution and democratic alternative represented by the NCRI and the democratic 10-point platform for the future of Iran presented by the NCRI President-elect, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi.”

“This is a very important point which refutes the claims of the uprising in Iran lacking leadership and that its future is uncertain,” he added.

“The Iranian people are struggling for democratic change, and they have the determination and a viable Iranian solution in the NCRI,” Dr. Offord concluded.

The President of the BCFIF, Rt Hon. David Jones MP said, "The statement we presented today shows the next steps forward for our Government and the international community based on realities on the ground in Iran, recognising the NCRI and Madam Rajavi, end diplomatic relations with the regime and begin talks and cooperation with the Iranian Resistance movement, and refer the regime's appalling human rights dossier to the UN Security Council for the prosecution of regime's leaders.”

“The regime has lost all of its legitimacy … majority of the Iranians want the religious dictatorship to end, and that they are prepared to pay the price and make the necessary sacrifices to realise their democratic aspirations”, Mr. Jones added.

He emphasised, “As Madam Rajavi has said, the Iranian Resistance Movement is not in competition with other Iranians in seeking power.”

The co-president of BCFIF, Steve McCabe MP, said, “At this year's celebration of Human Rights Day, the UN declared a year-long campaign to promote and recognise the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and what better way to do that by the UK and the international community recognising the Iranian people's right to rebel against the religious tyranny and oppression in Iran as their human rights and freedoms are not protected by the rule of law in Iran.”

“I joined the other 230 signatories because we know there is no rule of law in Iran, and the judiciary is cough in the state suppression apparatus. The current president in Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, is known as the butcher of Tehran for his role in the 1988 massacre,” he added.

Steve McCabe MP joined the other cross-party speakers in hoping the UK Government is successful in its efforts today to expel the regime from the UN Commission on the Status of Women and said, "I urge it to also take the next step and refer the regime in Tehran and its leaders to the UN Security Council to ensure their prosecution under international law."

Jim Shannon MP said, "Without accountability, the regime's killing spree will continue as we have seen time and time again for the last four decades. Therefore, I want to stress the need to refer the regime and its many human rights violations to the UN Security Council for prosecution. Our government must also ensure that the fact-finding mission, which is to be created following the UN Human Rights Council vote, is serious and not watered down by the regime's allies at the UN."

Rt Hon. Lord Dholakia OBE stated, "Reports from Iran all indicate that the regime in Tehran has no plan of easing its killing of protesters and is planning another massacre.”

He emphasised, "Our focus must be to prevent another massacre in Iranian prisons as the regime becomes more desperate in the face of the growing popular dissent and uprising. The best way to do that is through international accountability for the regime's leaders and the recognition of the Iranian Resistance NCRI and Madam Rajavi as the democratic alternative to the regime. That is the right policy of the UK going forward."

Other speakers at the conference were: Bob Blackman MP; Rt Hon. Sir Roger Gale MP; Baroness Verma; Dr Tahar Boumedra, human rights lawyer, former senior UN Official and member of the advisory board of the Justice for Victims of the 1988 massacre in Iran; and representatives of various Anglo-Iranian Associations.

British Committee for Iran Freedom

14 December 2022