Cross-party Members of Parliament, Iran experts and representatives of the democratic opposition coalition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), discussed the Iranian regime’s warmongering and appropriate UK policy responses at a meeting in the British Parliament on Tuesday, 28 November.
Speakers agreed that the regime in Iran is the source of conflict in the region as it sees peace and a stable Middle East as a death sentence.
They stressed that the regime’s warmongering is a continuation of its domestic repression, intended to mask and divert international attention from its violent crackdown of the protest movement demanding democratic change and a republic.
It was emphasised that the soft-line approach by the UK and allies and their failure to proscribe the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has allowed the regime to act with impunity, emboldening Tehran to directly threaten the UK and Europe with terrorism.
Speakers reiterated that any long-term solution to countering the Iranian regime’s warmongering must include the proscription of the IRGC, support for the Iranian people’s desire for change and endorsement of the popular, democratic alternative presented by the NCRI.
Rt Hon. David Jones MP, co-president of the British Committee for Iran Freedom, who chaired the meeting, said:
“It is crucial to understand that the Iranian regime’s warmongering is a sign of its weakness rather than its strength. It is the regime trying to export its crisis of survival at home in face of growing popular dissent and demands for genuine democratic change.
“Many wrongly interpreted this warmongering as a sign of the Iranian regime’s strength and a natural behaviour of a ‘regional superpower’ to increase its sphere of influence. This is the main reason for the UK’s soft-line approach to Iran.
“The Government has taken several encouraging steps to address the Iranian regime’s terrorism threats and malign activities following the 2022 uprising. But, these steps have not had the desired outcome and proven to be insufficient because the most important two steps are missing.
“Firstly, proscription of the IRGC as a terrorist organisation, a decision that is supported overwhelmingly by all parties in the House of Commons and similar strong support in the House of Lords.
“Secondly, the determining factor, which is our Government refusal and failure to acknowledge the existence of an Iranian solution and a democratic alternative to the regime embodied in the NCRI.”
In her video message to the meeting, Mrs Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the NCRI emphasised that the regime is mow engaged in three wars and said:
“A war with the international community involving their nuclear bomb-making activities and their deadly drones used in the war against the people of Ukraine.
“The other war is with the countries in the region, involving the regime’s proxy groups and provoking wars in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and today in Israel and Gaza.
“But the clerical regime’s most important war is with the people of Iran.
“Since the start of the war in the Middle East on October 7, the mullahs have executed 170 individuals in Iran. By these executions, the regime attempts to prevent the outbreak of another uprising by the people of Iran.
“The wars with the region and the world are also intended to preserve the mullahs’ rule inside Iran. Khamenei has repeated time and again that if they do not fight in the countries in the region, they would have to fight in Tehran.”
The NCRI President-elect warned:
“The clerical regime is playing a double game.
“While their proxies continue their attacks, the regime claims that they act independently and denies its own intentions to expand the war. The mullahs’ objective is to get through this stage and set the scene for another conflict later on.
“The head of the snake is in Tehran. The centre of export of war and terrorism is in Tehran. I must emphasise again that the slaughter of innocent civilians on all sides benefits Khamenei and his Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).”
Mrs Rajavi concluded:
“If the governments of Europe indeed oppose the war in the Middle East, we propose a solution consisting of four elements.
“Designating the IRGC as a terrorist entity; activating the snapback mechanism according to the UN Security Council resolution 2231; placing the regime under Chapter VII of the UN Charter; and recognising the Iranian people’s struggle to overthrow the regime and the young Iranians’ fight against the terrorist IRGC.
“Our solution is clear and practical. The people of Iran are paying the price for this solution, but the overthrow of this regime will bring peace and security to the world.”
Bob Blackman CBE MP gave his personal experience of Iranian regime’s terrorism and said:
“The regime’s warmongering is not confined to the region but is targeting Europe now in the form of state terrorism including terrorist assassinations and bombings targeting critics and opponents in European capitals and cities.
“The regime also uses hostage-taking diplomacy to cover its terrorism and prevent a firm response to its warmongering.
“I know the result of this hostage taking and the regime’s state terrorism first-hand. I was one of the plaintiffs against the Iranian diplomat Assadi in a Belgian court who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for planning and trying to carry out a bombing of the NCRI gathering in Paris in June 2018.
“The UK must move ahead and proscribe the IRGC to deny it the resources and funds it needs to export terrorism and to sustain and intensify the domestic repression. Such a decision will also make it a clear criminal offence to support and work with the IRGC in the UK, which is long overdue.
“I urge the Government to work with allies and partners to place the clerical regime under Chapter VII of the UN Charter as a threat to world peace and security. The international community must accept and acknowledge this truth so that it can focus on supporting the solution, which is the democratic alternative presented by the NCRI and Madam Rajavi.”
Martyn Day MP emphasised the long-term need to support the Iranian uprising and said:
“Whilst we sit here today and rightly call for the IRGC to be listed as a terrorist organisation and the Iranian regime to be sanctioned for its actions across the international stage, we must couple that with demands for our governments to support the Iranian people’s right to fight the IRGC and bring about the change that the people of Iran so desire.
“When we look at Iran’s warmongering and search for a solution, we need not look any further than the Iranian people and their organised opposition movement led by Maryam Rajavi. The Iranian regime’s warmongering would end immediately if the Iranian people could succeed in their revolution and bring about a democratic, secular, republic of Iran.”
Baroness Eaton DBE said:
“The Iranian regime has been emboldened by the weakness of the West.
“Whilst our governments have continued to try at each and every turn to placate Iran’s dictatorial leaders, the regime has continued to redouble its efforts to support terrorism in the region. Through the IRGC, the regime provides financial support to terrorist groups, it supplies them with weapons and training to murder. Look across the Middle East and you see the fingerprints of the IRGC over crime after crime.
“Women leadership of resistance units inside Iran and of the uprisings shows the power of women in Iran. Maryam Rajavi’s ten-point-plan is a commitment to political and social gender equality, as well as legal safeguards for the rights of all other marginalised groups that suffer routine discrimination under the current system.”
Baroness O’Loan DBE highlighted the Iranian regime’s use of death penalty to suppress the people and said:
“There is a unified and strong voice in support of the need for a firm policy towards the Iranian regime and there is a unified voice in support of Maryam Rajavi whose courage and inspirational leadership gives the Iranian people hope for a brighter future.
“This year alone, while the world is distracted by other conflicts, the regime has executed over 600 people, including most recently a 17 year old boy. These executions include political prisoners and individuals who have not had any due legal process. In Iran, demanding basic freedom and democracy is a crime.”
The recent terrorist assassination attempt against Dr Alejo Vidal-Quadras, former Vice-President of the European Parliament in Madrid was also condemned at the meeting. Dr Vidal-Quadras was a champion for the cause of human rights and democracy in Iran. He is also a strong proponent of the West adopting a firm policy on Iran based on supporting the Iranian people’s democratic aspirations and endorsing the organised resistance movement, the NCRI, and its democratic platform.
It was noted that before the attempt on his life, the Iranian regime had put Dr Alejo Vidal-Quadras and many other of his colleagues from the UK, U.S. and Europe on its sanction and terrorist list because of their advocacy. This makes the case for the regime being considered one of the main suspects during the investigation.
Other speakers included: Jim Shannon MP; Baroness Meacher; the Rt Hon. the Lord Whitty; and Lord Singh of Wimbledon CBE.
Iran experts Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield Jr., former Assistant Secretary of US State for Political-Military Affairs; and retired U.S. Senator Robert Torricelli also addressed the meeting via video link.
British Committee for Iran Freedom
28 November 2023