More than 525 cross-party MPs and Peers from across the political spectrum say the UK and international partners should support the popular struggle for a secular and democratic Iran and endorse the democratic alternative put forward by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

The cross-party initiative which addressed shortcomings with the current UK policy on Iran was announced at a conference in Parliament on Tuesday, attended virtually by the NCRI President-elect, Mrs Maryam Rajavi.

Cross-party members from both Houses, Iran experts and human rights lawyers also took part in the conference ‘Free and Democratic Iran within reach’.

The Iranian opposition leader briefed Members of Parliament on the prospect of democratic change in Iran. The participants also discussed provision of a firm UK policy towards the Iranian regime and what the UK can do to support the people of Iran in their quest for freedom, democracy and human rights.

In their initiative, the 525 cross-party MPs and Peers including scores of former Cabinet, Government and FCDO ministers and former party leaders as well as current Committee Chairmen, stressed:

“We stand in solidarity with the people of Iran in their desire for a secular and democratic republic where no individual, regardless of religion or birth right, has any privilege over others. Through their slogans the Iranian people have made it clear that they reject all forms of dictatorship, be it the deposed Shah or the current theocratic regime and thus reject any association with either.

“We believe it is for the Iranian people to decide their future and recognise that over the past four decades, the democratic coalition of the NCRI has constantly and tirelessly pursued democratic change.

“In this respect, we believe the Ten-point Plan articulated by the NCRI President-elect, Mrs Maryam Rajavi, deserves our support [as] it stands for free elections, freedom of assembly and expression, abolition of the death penalty, gender equality, the separation of religion and state, autonomy for Iran’s ethnicities and a non-nuclear Iran.”

Mrs Rajavi thanked Members of Parliament for their initiative and support on behalf of the Iranian Resistance and the Iranian people and elaborated:

“With this statement, you have presented a strong and effective policy towards Iran in the current critical conditions. Your statements reflect the total isolation and lack of credibility of the policy of appeasement.

“Like the recent decision of Belgium to hand over a diplomat-terrorist to the regime. This policy has put religious fascism on the verge of obtaining atomic bombs. Therefore, your statement and the policy you propose also serve the cause of global peace and security.“

Rt Hon. David Jones MP, President of the British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF), said:

“With the number of executions in Iran reaching unprecedented levels in the last month, the regime is showing with its own actions that it has not been able to crush the uprising despite its claim and months of crackdown.

“What I take from [Mrs Rajavi’s] remarks is that the people of Iran have made up their mind and will continue the protests and to stand up to the repressive security forces and the IRGC until they have established a free and democratic republic.

“As we reiterate in our statement, it is for the Iranian people to decide their future and they have a real, viable democratic alternative in the shape of NCRI and Mrs Rajavi’s 10-point plan and we reiterate the consensus of the House of Commons that the UK Government and international partners should proscribe the IRGC in its entirety.”

Co-President of the International Committee of Parliamentarians for a Democratic Iran (ICPDI), Bob Blackman MP, said:

“Our statement makes a clear case for a firm policy on Iran. This has moved our Government's position as it has on several occasions stated its intention of holding the regime to account.

“The threat from the regime stressed the need for our Government to get serious about countering the regime’s state terrorism by proscribing the IRGC and closing the diplomatic missions and Embassy of the regime in London, until Tehran verifiably abandons its state terrorism.”

“Our Government must demand a snap back of all UN sanctions and the reinstatement of the six previous UN Security Council resolutions against the regime”, Bob Blackman MP said with regards to Tehran’s nuclear escalation.

Steve McCabe MP, Co-president of the BCFIF, said:

“Now is not the time for any kind of appeasement towards the mullahs. As many of my colleagues have said, now is the time to ban the IRGC and to break diplomatic relations with this evil regime. Now is the time to make it clear that we are no longer in the business of dealing with them.

“As far as I am concerned, the people of Iran want democracy and freedom. That is what I am about, that is what I believe you are about. That is why I believe we should all work together to try to deliver based on the ideas contained in your Ten-point plan.”

Rt Hon John Spellar MP stressed that he and colleagues will press the Government to proscribe the IRGC and said:

“The Iranian regime is a threat to world peace and is a fascist regime.”

Baroness Verma said:

“We know the decisive role women and girls of Iran should and will play in Iran’s future and their equal participation is a requirement if the country is to enjoy democracy and freedom.

“In contrast to the misogynist rulers in Iran who view women and girls as a serious threat to their grip on power, the Iranian Resistance movement (NCRI) sees women and girls as an asset and the guarantors for a free, democratic and secular republic.”

Baroness O'Loan DBE MRIA said:

“The Iranian people deserve our unreserved support as they pursue their democratic aspirations and that is why I am so pleased to be part of this very important worldwide initiative. Your Ten-point plan, Mrs Rajavi sets out the blueprint for what a future Iran can look like, including gender equality, a separation of religion and state and a Republic founded on universal suffrage and pluralism.”

Lord Singh of Wimbledon CBE said:

“As the regime is stepping up the execution to an unprecedented level, the UK must act with international partners to save the lives of those detained at risk of execution by putting pressure on the regime to allow UN Human Rights experts and the Special Rapporteur on Iran to enter the country to visit the prisons and meet with detained protesters and political prisoners.”

Other speakers at the conference included: Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP; Rt Hon Sir Roger Gale MP; Rt Hon Sammy Wilson MP; Lord Hacking; Baroness Cox; Viscount Hanworth; Lord Kirkhope of Harrogate; Roger Lyons, Former TUC President; 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 Dr Jocelynne Scutt, Barrister and Human Rights Lawyer.

British Committee for Iran Freedom

13 June 2023