{mosimage}"The time has come for the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq to set up a permanent representation at Camp Ashraf, and for the UN to take over protection of the residents"

Text of remarks by Lord Waddington at a meeting of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom in Parliament’s Boothroyd Room on 22 July 2010:

{mosimage}We can take some encouragement from what has happened in America recently. First and foremost, congratulations should go to those have worked so hard to try and get the US Government to rescind its unjust listing of the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI) as a terrorist organisation. Now a Court has ordered the State Department to review its decision, and I think that the Parliamentarians at this meeting should send a message to the Secretary of State asking her to look at the case with sympathy, and in light of the decision already made in the British Courts, come to a swift and just conclusion and free the PMOI from the stigma of terrorism.

As for the members of the PMOI in Camp Ashraf, things remain appallingly difficult for them, and our thoughts are with them as they stay besieged by the Iraqi authorities - with the entry of food, fuel and medicine restricted, with relatives, even those with visas, refused entry into the Camp; and the loudspeakers outside the Camp blaring out threats and abuse day by day.

The fear obviously is that, with the US forces now having would up their camp near Ashraf, a new attack on the residents will soon be launched by Iraqi forces, and we must constantly alert the international community to this danger. Surely the time has come for the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq to set up a permanent representation at Camp Ashraf, and for the UN to take over protection of the residents.

As for the situation in Iran, the sheer barbarism of the regime, exemplified by the case of the 43-year-old mother originally sentenced to stoning, has now been exposed to the whole World. Of course that is only one of thousands of cases of abuse of human rights. Hundreds of political prisoners languish in Iranian gaols in inhuman and degrading conditions, a man’s hand is chopped off for stealing, executions – one of a man charged with murder he was alleged to have committed when 15 – are commonplace.

It is high time the whole international community rose up and demanded action, and if revelations about the regime’s contempt for human rights won’t move them, surely the threat which the regime poses to peace in the Middle East and the wide World should. Here again there are signs of things beginning to happen. The American President has signed into law sweeping new economic sanctions against companies found to be trading with Iran. There has been a new UN Security Council sanctions resolution and a tightening of European Union sanctions. But time is not on the side of either the Iranian people or the West. With the director of the CIA declaring that Iran already has enough fissile material for two atomic bombs. And that it was doubtful, in his opinion, whether the sanctions so far imposed will deter the regime from their ambitions.

Mrs. Rajavi was clearly right when the other day she said that the Security Council resolutions, although a step in the right direction, would still provide the regime with time to complete its nuclear projects, and that the only real solution to all these problems is democratic change in Iran. Let us therefore call on the world community to show their recognition of the right of the Iranian people to resist religious dictatorship and let us send out from this conference a message to all those resisting oppression in Iran that we know that right is on their side.



Brief biography of Rt. Hon. Lord Waddington GCVO DL QC: David Waddington is a former Conservative home secretary under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and former leader of the House of Lords. He is a former Governor of Bermuda. He is currently the ranking Conservative member of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom.

Note: The US Court of Appeal in Washington D.C. on 16 July 2010 ordered the US Secretary of State to review the designation of the PMOI, strongly suggesting it should be revoked.