Cross-party Members of Parliament, Human Rights lawyers, and President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Mrs Maryam Rajavi, met in the British Parliament on 12 December and concurred that the UK should step up its support for the Iranian people as they fight for human rights and democracy.
The meeting held on the occasion of Human Rights Day noted that authorities in Iran are intensifying the domestic repression with record number of executions and more repressive laws against women and activists in order to crush the popular uprising that began a year ago.
Speakers agreed that the UK must do more to hold the regime to account and denounced inviting of Iran regime’s President, Ebrahim Raisi, to the UN. They asked the Government to take action to end impunity in Iran, exploring both international mechanisms and the use of universal jurisdiction where possible.
The cross-party MPs and Peers backed Mrs Rajavi’s call to proscribe the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and urged the Government not to delay that decision any further.
Several speakers also condemned the regime’s trial in absentia of over 100 members of the democratic opposition, the PMOI/MEK. They emphasised that Iran’s judiciary lacks credibility and is used as a tool of repression, often executing dissidents on fabricated charges such as “waging war against God” (Moharebeh). These speakers denounced the sham trails as part of a broader state crackdown intended to silence the viable democratic alternative to the regime.
NCRI President-elect Mrs Maryam Rajavi, who participated in the meeting via video link, thanked the participants for “focusing on Iran’s situation and the Iranian people's fight to overthrow the mullahs' religious fascism” and said:
“The clerical regime is engaged in three wars at the same time: one against the international community, another against the people of the Middle East, and most significantly, a war against the people of Iran.
“The regime’s leaders must be prosecuted for their crimes and warmongering.
“The mullahs’ criminal president, Ebrahim Raisi was directly involved in the massacre of 30 thousand political prisoners in 1988. It is a shame that the European Governments hold talks with him.
“Khamenei is behind the Middle East war. Feeling surrounded after the Iranian people’s massive uprising last year, he provoked this war to escape.
“To confront this regime, we propose a solution that includes these four measures: terrorist designation of the IRGC; activating the snapback mechanism in the Security Council Resolution 2231; declaring the regime as an immediate threat to world peace and security by placing it under Chapter Seven of the United Nations Charter; and recognising the Iranian people's struggle to overthrow the regime and the fight of Iran's rebellious youths against the terrorist IRGC.”
Referring to the trial against PMOI members in their absence in Iran, Mrs Rajavi said:
“Two decades ago, the Iranian Resistance invited Khamenei and other regime leaders to an international court to present any claim they had against the PMOI and the Iranian Resistance.
“In the last 42 years, this regime held tens of thousands of summary trials for resistance members, lasting only minutes, before sending them to execution. So, why do the mullahs feel the need for this show trial today?
“First, Because of the widespread uprising of the Iranian people the regime is in danger of being overthrown.
“Second, the PMOI and the NCRI are gaining more political and social influence, with Resistance Units growing in many Iranian cities and more young people supporting them.
“Third, there’s a strong global movement demanding that the regime's leaders be tried for committing crimes against humanity.”
Bob Blackman CBE MP, co-president of the International Committee of Parliamentarians for a Democratic Iran (ICPDI), said:
“We know about the appalling human rights situation in Iran. The regime is resorting to disinformation campaigns, laying the ground for terrorist acts, as we have seen in recent weeks in Berlin against the office of the NCRI and the attempted assassination of Alejo Vidal Quadras (former Vice-president of the European Parliament) because of his support for the NCRI/ MEK.
”The regime has also set up a show trial for members of the NCRI and MEK, many of them residents in Ashraf-3 (Albania) in preparation for its terrorist acts against them.
“We must condemn their terrorism and send a clear message to them that nothing can deter us from giving our support to the PMOI/MEK and its Resistance Units in Iran and NCRI as the democratic alternative for establishing a democratic republic in Iran.
“Madam Rajavi and the NCRI has played a decisive role in not only advancing the uprising in Iran but also in offering a viable, organised democratic alternative that delivers on the Iranian people’s democratic aspirations.”
Lord Carlile of Berriew CBE KC, co-president of the British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF), reiterated the continued support for the NCRI and said:
“I absolutely salute what you, Madam Rajavi, have done and I salute especially those refugees from Iran whom I have visited on two occasions in Albania where they have been given refuge. The Albanian government has been put under extraordinary pressure by the government of Iran to remove or reduce the level of hospitality which those many senior professional Iranian people of great talent have settled down and where they are trying to play their part in securing a happier future for Iran.
“It is an absolute outrage that on the 29th of July the Tehran criminal court issued a public announcement publishing 104 names of individuals affiliated with the PMOI most of whom had left Iran about 40 years before calling them on them to appoint a lawyer as they had been charged. We know what the result of that will be.
“They will be charged in their absence. They will be sentenced to death, which in the current atmosphere that Iran is purveying could be carried out because the Iranian government is prepared to murder people wherever they are.
“What Iran is doing at the moment includes as I have said a willingness to murder for false judicial reasons, a willingness to spy and counter-terrorism authorities in this country have interdicted some Iranian plots already.
“Cyber warfare is part of their hourly stock in trade and members of this parliament are aware that they have been targeted in that kind of cyber warfare. They do not like being interfered with themselves but they will interfere with anyone who does not agree with everything they say.”
Rt Hon. Dr Liam Fox condemned the regime for abusing religion to justify its human rights abuses and recalled his visit with members of the Iranian opposition in Ashraf 3 in Albania. Referring to Raisi’s involvement in the massacre of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, Dr Fox said:
“There are a number of things that I find deeply disturbing about where we are today. To see Iran chair the United Nations Human Rights Council [Social Forum] is a stain on the United Nations.
“It is deeply disturbing that the man who was personally responsible for selecting, for execution, many of those who were murdered in 1988, should in any way be accorded an accolade as a statesman by other world leaders.
“I agree that we have to act and that we need to outlaw the IRGC. We also need to act against Iranian banks and Iranian airlines in the United Kingdom.
“We need to also raise public awareness about the abuses by the Iranian regime, and provide moral support to those who have the courage themselves to take on that regime inside their own country.
“The Iranian people are our friends and we are their allies, but we need to make it very clear to the Iranian regime that we find them an obscenity in a civilised world and make them know that when the time comes, we will stand with the Iranian people.”
Steve McCabe MP, co-president of the BCFIF, said:
“We will continue to support our friends in the Iranian opposition. I am delighted at the recent successful joint Lords in Commons statement, which attracted over 500 signatures, supporting the activities of the NCRI and calling for a complete and total ban on the IRGC.
“This is a regime where execution and torture have become the norm. A regime that fears Madam Rajavi and her plans for a democratic free Iran.
“They are currently ratcheting up their attack on the opposition, which possibly explains why they are trying to intimidate supporters of the opposition here and in other countries, why they have announced that they are going after members of the PMOI/MEK, many of whom left Iran perhaps as long as 40 years ago.
“I fear that this announcement may be the green light for a new campaign of assassinations and bombings orchestrated by the Mullahs and their IRGC. I warn you, do not mistake the evil that these people are prepared to undertake.”
Highlighting the Iranian people’s right under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to oppose the tyranny and oppression of the regime to realise their democratic aspirations, Prof Lord Alton of Liverpool, co-president of the BCFIF, said:
“The reality, of course, is that the regime has closed all venues of opposition through parliamentary and political activity. The regime’s laws restrict Iranian people's fundamental rights and freedoms, and they are left with no other recourse but to rebel through popular uprising to realise the democratic aspirations to enjoy their fundamental rights and their freedoms.
“We must applaud the brave women of Iran and the resistance units of the democratic opposition referred to by Madam Rajavi earlier on for challenging the regime's repressive laws and defying its oppression to expand the uprising and anti-regime activities and protests.
”Our Government should lead international allies at the UN to demand Iran allow the UN Special Rapporteur and the UN fact-finding mission to visit Iranian prisons and meet with political prisoners and detained protesters, as the NCRI has called for since last year.
“I urge our Government to set an example globally by cutting diplomatic relations with a regime that continues to carry out the kind of obscenities that we have seen over this last year until it ends executions, releases all political prisoners, releases detained protesters and dual citizens and verifiably scraps the discriminatory and repressive laws against women and the Iranian people.”
Baroness O'Loan DBE criticised the failure of the UN and the West to hold the Iranian regime to account and said:
“As long as this regime is allowed to act with impunity nothing would change.
“I urge our Government to lead an international coalition of allies and partners asking the UN Security Council to review the regime’s appalling human rights record and refer those responsible for the state repression and systematic human rights violations.
“In the meantime, I believe the appropriate step is to continue to impose targeted human rights sanctions against the regime including against the regime's Supreme Leader Khamenei and his president, Raisi, to make it clear to the regime that they cannot and will not escape justice and accountability.”
Jim Shannon MP said:
“Madam Rajavi set out in her remarks what [British] support should look like and what the Iranian people expect from the the UK Government.
“I urge our Government to reach out to the NCRI to assist efforts of the Iranian people to hold the regime to account and prosecute its leaders under existing UN mechanisms and international law. That should be the focus of our Iran policy and I will petition our Government to that end until justice prevails in Iran.”
Martyn Day MP reiterated that Iran has one of the worst human rights record in the world and said:
“I have lost track of the number of times I and others have called for the complete proscription of the IRGC in this country. I hope it is coming soon, but we will keep calling for it until it does.
“We need to see the UK and indeed other parts of the international community taking a much stronger action against the criminal regime in Iran and prosecuting those that we can identify.
“We have to be on the right side of history, and I am convinced that you [Madam Rajavi].”
Others who attended and spoke at the meeting were: Anthea McIntyre CBE, former Conservative member of the European Parliament; Lauren Lederle, Associate at Omnia with focus on public international law, international criminal law and human rights; Prof. Sara Chandler KC (Hon.), member of the Law Society of England and Wales, and Secretary of the Human Rights Commission of the Federation of European Bars; Dr Jocelynne Scutt, Barrister and Human Rights Lawyer; and Roger Lyons, former president of the TUC.
British Committee for Iran Freedom
12 December 2023