{mosimage}The Birmingham Post - All eyes are currently on Iran. Lord Corbett of Castle Vale, chairman of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom, explains why it is vital to world stability that the West acts now...

{mosimage}The Birmingham Post


All eyes are currently on Iran. Lord Corbett of Castle Vale, chairman of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom, explains why it is vital to world stability that the West acts now...

As Foreign Ministers from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany continue to debate how to deal with Iran's nuclear programme, European Union lead-ers must really step up their game if a further war in the already volatile Middle East is to be averted.

Until the summer of 2002, when Iran's main democratic opposition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), lifted the lid on 18 years of deceit by the mullahs about their nuclear programmes, the regime was vehemently denying it was happening and the international community was none the wiser.

Further NCRI revelations since then, verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency, prove that Iran's fundamentalist theocracy is determined to acquire nuclear weapons. That is precisely why its supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, propelled Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a former Revolutionary Guards commander, to the presidency.

The international community says it will not tolerate nuclear armed mullahs in Tehran. Nor should it. There is no more terrifying a prospect for world peace and security than a nuclear armed religious dictatorship, which terrorises its people at home, openly sponsors terrorism abroad and advocates war between the Islamic world and the West.

Apart from their nuclear weapons programme, the mullahs' rogue activities include advancing their long range missile programme, intensifying acts of and support for terrorism, calling for Israel to be wiped off the map, exporting fundamentalism and terrorism to Iraq and forming a 'Lovers of Martyrdom' garrison to carry out suicide operations against Western targets.

In London on 23 March 2006, Prime Minister Blair accused Iran of meddling furiously in Iraq and said that the ruling theocracy had a terrorist ideology at its heart. He added: "Fundamentally, for this ideology, we are the enemy."

Despite all of this, Britain, France and Germany, have allowed the mullahs to lead them a merry dance for more than three years over their nuclear programmes.

While achieving their objective of demanding from the EU that the largest member organisation of the NCRI coalition, the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI), be unjustly proscribed, the mullahs have deceived, repeatedly broken agreements and openly admitted the nuclear advancements they made during the negotiations with the three.

The-then Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, and his French and German counterparts told us that their policy of appeasing the mullahs would encourage reform within the regime. The opposite has proved true. Rather than strengthening the so-called reformers, any talk of reform has been buried, as the hardliners have taken full control. The result is that the regime now represents a real and serious threat to world peace and stability.

Despite being humiliated by the mullahs, the EU still wants to dance. Its foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, has announced that the EU will be making the mullahs a 'generous' offer of technology, economic and other incentives to abandon its uranium enrichment activities. Before the EU had even made their offer, President Ahmadinejad rejected it: "They think that we are four-year-old children to whom they can offer walnuts and chocolates in return for gold."

We are now at a crucial crossroads from which lead two paths. There is the failed path of appeasing the mullahs by offering them incentives, which will ultimately lead to Iran adding nuclear weapons to menacing fundamentalism in a lethal mix.

The second path is offered by Mrs Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the NCRI, first in the European Parliament and earlier this year in the Council of Europe. It means the EU accepting that its policy has been a dangerous failure and led to the present crisis. The EU must adopt a firm policy towards the mullahs in order to ensure its nuclear programme is truly peaceful, while supporting the Iranian people to bring about democratic change in Iran.

A firm policy must include the adoption by the UN Security Council of comprehensive and targeted sanctions against the regime's leaders and its military machine. This includes oil from which the mullahs collect £80 in every £100 of their export revenue and use it to line their pockets, buy the loyalty of their oppressive forces, fund and arm terrorist groups across the Middle East and fund their nuclear weapons programme.

A firm policy must also include the de-proscription of the PMOI -such proscription having acted as the greatest barrier to democratic change in Iran. As it has the popular support and organisation to mobilise the people of Iran, the PMOI is an invaluable partner in the struggle against terrorism.

The Iranian people are ready and prepared to take on their brutal oppressors. In 2005 alone, there were over 4,000 protests and demonstrations resulting in tens of thousands of arrests and many being killed. Despite this threat, they continue to demand their rights.
Interestingly, the protestors have also linked their demands to the nuclear issue by chanting: "We want bread and jobs not nuclear weapons."

This mocks the mullahs' claims that nuclear weapons have popular support.

The mullahs' greatest fear is democracy, replacing fundamentalist theocracy with secular democracy. To date, the policies of our Government and the EU have sent all the wrong messages to millions of Iranians who want change.

Our Government and the EU should heed the call of the Iranian people and their Resistance before it is too late and frustration at the mullahs' defiance encourages those who believe doing nothing to stop them is not an option.