{mosimage}Global Politician - Brian Binley has been a Conservative Party Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom for Northampton South since 2005. He has taken an active role in the UK House of Commons on issue of Iran and its opposition groups. David Storobin interviewed him for the Global Politician.

Global Politician 

Exclusive Interview: MP Binley - Isolate Iran Like Apartheid South Africa

David Storobin, Esq. - 11/22/2007

{mosimage}Brian Binley has been a Conservative Party Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom for Northampton South since 2005. He has taken an active role in the UK House of Commons on issue of Iran and its opposition groups. David Storobin interviewed him for the Global Politician.

1. Recently Russian leaders have met with Iranian leaders. Is there a Russo-Iranian alliance and what are its dangers?

I don’t believe that such an alliance is in the offing. The Russians are using the Iranian crisis to further their own strategic and economic interests. The Iranian regime is really not capable of providing Russia with the sort of alliance benefits that would counterbalance the mistrust and ill-will Russia could earn from Western democracies if it allied. I just don’t see that coming. Russia is interested to fend off any Iranian contribution to the European energy market in order to further its own interests in that sector. With the mullahs ruling Iran and the turmoil there preventing development of a Iranian gas pipeline to Europe, Russia stands to gain much.

2. How does Russia help Iran militarily and scientifically?

I think that Russia is maximizing its gains by taking advantage of Western sanctions on Iran. It is selling the Iranian regime airplanes, machinery, and air defense systems.

3. What is the proper Western response to this?

The West should concentrate on ending appeasement with the Iranian regime and getting on with supporting the opposition forces in Iran. Only in this way can we effectively respond. The Iranian opposition is capable of bringing about change in their country and all we should do is to remove the egregious limitations that have been put on them in hopes of conciliation with Tehran. The West would do well to listen to the recent court rulings in Europe and remove some opposition parties from the terrorism blacklist.

4. Many believe that Russia supports the Mullahs because any Iranian government that is not fundamentalist is likely to ally itself with the United States and the West. What are your views on this?

The Russians support the mullahs in so far as it is in their interest to deny Europe a stable and mutually beneficial relationship with a truly representative Iranian government and therefore keep Europe dependent on Russian fossil fuel resources, particularly gas. Since the mullahs thrive on instability and the sort of crises we have seen until now, it may be to Russia’s short term economic benefit after all that this situation should continue.

5. You've advocated in the past that the MeK/PMOI/NCRI opposition group should be legalized in the UK and other countries. Can you explain why?

It is quite clear that internal dissent has brought about the downfall of many corrupt regimes in the past. To hamper those who wish to achieve internal regime change in Iran seems not only foolish, but also to be in direct conflict with our national interest. And that simply does not make sense. The West pinned all its hopes on an impossible mission, to reform the mullahs’ regime by hoping that a moderate would emerge within that regime and the EU and US gave the mullahs concession after concession to achieve that objective which has clearly failed. Sadly, the principles which Europe prides itself on, including universality of human rights, freedom of speech and opinion, and right to resist fascism and dictatorship were all sacrificed to that objective and as a result they proscribed the main Iranian opposition movement, the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI) and listed it as a terrorist organization. Various EU officials, including our own Home Secretary, Jack Straw, openly admitted that this designation was granted purely for political reasons. In the US also, former US Assistant Secretary of State, Martin Indyk, has admitted that the Clinton-era designation of the PMOI as a terrorist organization was a gesture of “goodwill” to the mullahs. Tragically, it turned out to be one of the most important concessions made to the mullahs. Furthermore, the PMOI is built on the ideals of bringing democracy and freedom to the Iranian population through free and fair elections.

6. What progress, if any, has been made by those advocating legalization of the MeK?

Much has been done to bring the EU governments to realize the folly of the designation, politically and legally. The European Court of First Instance ruled in December 2006 to annul the EU designation of the PMOI as a terrorist organization. This ruling has not been honored by the European Commission yet but they will surely have to answer for it again in court. The EU human rights watchdog has strongly criticized the EU’s flouting of the CFI ruling recently. In Britain, 30 Members of Parliament and Peers, petitioned the Proscribed Organizations Appeal Commission to rule whether the Home Secretary’s designation of the PMOI as an organization involved in terrorism was illegal. A ruling is due on this soon and the government’s case is without any merit. A groundswell of public opinion and political support for de-proscribing the PMOI has been building for some time and now is the time to actually do the right thing and remove them from the list.

7. How much support does the MeK have inside Iran?

The PMOI have for over 28 years faced up to many challenges from the Iranian regime and in the past decade from European countries who sought to improve relations with Tehran by hampering the PMOI. I have asked that same question from NCRI representatives and it seems to me that it is quite credible that a movement under such immense pressure that continues to rally the largest number of followers abroad time after time, continues to secure funding from the Iranian community and private contributions, continues to mount the most effective political campaign for change in Iran, continues to be the single most important source of information and intelligence on the domestic Iranian situation, is indeed enjoying a wide degree of support, and being the opposition, actually embodies the voice of the Iranian people, the majority of whom oppose the ruling regime. So I think they do indeed have considerable support. I had the pleasure of attending an unprecedented gathering of 50,000 Iranians in Villepinte, Paris in July of this year, in support of the de-listing of the PMOI as a terrorist group. This was one of many clear indications of the support that it evidently does have. But the most telling point is that 120,000 supporters of the movement have been executed by the regime in Iran.

8. What is your view of those affiliated with the son of the Shah?

I think it is up to Iranians to decide about their future system of government in a free and democratic Iran.

9. What role do you see for the leaders of the student uprising?

I strongly believe that all the present protest movements in Iran, the students, teachers, transport workers, and women, have a role in shaping the evolving struggle for democracy in that country and I would encourage them to organize as best possible and join forces to change the current regime to a government that Iran really deserves with its rich cultural heritage and vast potentials.

10. What proof do you have that Iran's nuclear program is for military purposes, rather than for civilian needs?

The fact is that the Iranian nuclear program was concealed and secret for over 18 years before the PMOI brought it to the world’s attention in 2002. The French Defense Minister recently pointed to intelligence his country has about the military nature of the Iranian regime’s nuclear program. The Iranian opposition has uncovered hard links between the program and the IRGC. Even the IAEA has asked Tehran for many years to clarify the production and testing of nuclear components in military sites. Here we have a regime that is clamoring for Global Islamic Rule, has a very backward social and political agenda, supports terrorism, and meddles in neighboring countries in the name of Islam and threatens to wipe Israel off the map. So I think it would be foolish to trust the mullahs’ promises that all they want to do is to produce energy. And finally what other reason would have for purchasing 3000 centrifuges capable of producing weapons quality material.

11. What effective non-military action can be taken to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear capability?

The only effective action in my view is to support the Iranian resistance in achieving its declared goal of changing the regime in Tehran. The world must stop appeasing the mullahs and support change in Iran or face a horrific choice of either acquiescing to a nuclear Iran or a very unpredictable and tragic war in that region. It is in our national interest to remove the obstacles to democratic change by the Iranian people and their opposition movement. We must stop legitimizing the current regime and support the PMOI and NCRI. Furthermore, we must blacklist the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and its front companies, which act as the financial base to the entire nuclear weapons programme. The drying up of finance to the IRGC will act as a significant obstacle in the path of Iran’s nuclear weapons programme.

12. Do you support total and complete international sanctions against Iran's economy and sports teams, similar to the embargo of apartheid South Africa?

Yes, indeed. This is the only way to show the Iranian regime that we mean business and to show the Iranian people that we have stopped appeasing their oppressors. It is a clear signal of an international change of course. It will show that the mullahs cannot bully their way to dominance in the region.

13. Are you ready to advocate economic and sports embargo of Iran by the European Union, if UN sanctions prove diplomatically impossible?

I believe this is long overdue and if the United Nations fails to adopt such measures due to Russian or Chinese obstacles, then it is up to the Western democracies to rise to the occasion and support change in Iran through such sanctions.

14. If all non-military means fail, is it preferable to bomb Iranian nuclear installations or engage in "deterrent diplomacy" where the West will just have to live with a nuclear Iran?

I hope we do not reach this point. It is a tragedy that we should wait so long as to deprive ourselves and the world of the only chance for change in Iran. I believe that it is not inevitable and we can and must do all we can to support the Iranian solution to this crisis, namely support for the Iranian opposition.

15. If Israel chooses to bomb Iran nuclear installations, will you personally and the UK Conservative Party as an organization, condemn it for doing so?

I rather not get into hypothetical questions here and I do not think this is inevitable.

David Storobin is a New York lawyer who received Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Rutgers University School of Law. His Master's Thesis (M.A. - Comparative Politics) deals with the historical causes for the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. He's been interviewed on radio and cited in books as a political expert. Mr. Storobin is also a practicing Criminal Defense and Family Law attorney.
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