48 members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords took the lead in the initiative
The International Committee of Parliamentarians for a Democratic Iran and the British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF) issued a statement urging the UK and EU member states to reconsider their policy on Iran and do more to protect Europe from Iran’s state terrorism following the trial of an Iranian diplomat in Belgium on charges of terrorism last week.
The first session of the hearing was held on Friday 27 November 2020, during which the prosecutor presented his case against the four defendants including an Iranian regime’s diplomat. They are charged with plot to bomb the Free Iran gathering on 30 June 2018, in Villepinte, in the suburb of Paris. Several British Parliamentarians were also attending the international event.
240 lawmakers from 19 different European countries support the statement.
The initiative by Parliamentarians representing a wide spectrum of political tendencies, stressed:
“apart from the judicial process, which is independently underway in Belgium, we believe it is time to reconsider dealing with the Iranian state terrorism”.
“Considering the Iranian regime’s use of diplomatic cover to carry out terrorist acts, the necessary practical warnings should be given to Tehran, such as the closure of its embassies and the expulsion of its ambassadors and diplomats”, the cross-party European lawmakers said in their statement.
They added, “in accordance with the Declaration of the European Union of 29 April 1997, Tehran’s intelligence agents, using the cover of diplomats, journalists, businessmen, etc., should be expelled, and the regime’s religious and cultural front institutions in Europe which serve as terrorist and fundamentalist centers should be closed.”
The European lawmakers also called on the UK, EU, and its member states to make continued relations with Iran contingent upon the necessary guarantees from the Iranian regime to put an end to its terrorist acts on European soil. The lawmakers also ask European governments to alter their failed policy on Iran in favour of a coordinated firm policy that prioritises pressure on the regime and accountability for regime leaders.
They warned that the regime in Iran seeks to eliminate its opponents even on European soil through terrorism.
“Since 2018 parallel with growing anti-government protests inside Iran, there has been an alarming surge in Iran state-sponsored terrorist plots in Europe targeting Iranian activists and dissidents on European soil, in particular members and supporters of Iran’s pro-democracy opposition coalition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI/MEK)”, European lawmakers stressed.
In this regard, the statement highlights two foiled bomb plots against the NCRI gathering in Paris in June 2018 and a gathering of the PMOI in Albania in April same year, which targeted the opposition leader Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, along with several hundred international and European political figures as well as tens of thousands of Iranians attending these events.
The co-president of the International Committee of Parliamentarians for a Democratic Iran, Bob Blackman MP, who is also a civil party to the trial Belgium, said: “Today we stand with the NCRI President-elect Mrs. Maryam Rajavi and call on the UK and the European Governments to proscribe the entire IRGC and Iran’s Intelligence Ministry as terrorist organisations because these paramilitary institutions are critical to the regime’s internal repression and export of terrorism and must be denied funds and resources.”
The European lawmakers applauded the decisions by France, Albania, and other European countries to expel several Iranian diplomats and an Iranian ambassador in connection to these terrorist plots. Steve McCabe MP said, “Appeasing the regime and offering it sanction relief at this time only encourages its illegal and unacceptable behaviour. The most effective policy to counter these threats is a firm policy by UK and EU that puts pressure on the regime and backs the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people and their Resistance Movement led by Mrs. Rajavi.”
Bob Blackman MP added, “evidence presented at the trial against Iranian diplomat Assadi prove beyond doubt that the decision to bomb the NCRI gathering in Paris was taken at the highest level of the Iranian Government and approved by the Supreme Leader. Assadi did not act on his own initiative but followed orders from Tehran. So, the UK Government must act with European allies to hold the entire regime to account.”
In their statement, the European lawmakers also express deep concerns over the continuing human rights abuses in Iran and reiterate that the ongoing crackdown on popular anti-government protests by the authorities, which are documented by Amnesty International, requires more international attention and accountability.
Bob Blackman MP
Steve McCabe MP
Rt. Hon David Jones MP
PROTECT EUROPE FROM STATE TERRORISM
We are deeply concerned about the continuing human rights abuses in Iran, including the execution of dissidents on the charge of participating in anti-government demonstrations. Amnesty International reports on the maltreatment of detainees in anti-government protests require great international attention to this issue.
We are also alarmed over the Iranian regime’s terrorist acts in Europe. The latest annual report of the German Federal Security Service (dated July 2020) states: “An official diplomat of the Iranian Embassy in Austria (the Third Secretary Assadollah Assadi) was arrested on July 1, 2018 in Germany on a European arrest warrant issued by the authorities of Belgian public prosecutor’s office. He is accused, as a full-time employee of the Ministry of Intelligence, of being the commander of a planned bomb attack against the annual meeting of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran near Paris on June 30, 2018.” The same agency had specified in previous reports that an important center of the regime’s intelligence activities “focused on the MEK and the NCRI” is at the “Iranian Embassy in Berlin.”
In addition to tens of thousands of Iranians, the opposition leader Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the primary target of the conspiracy, was present at the rally, along with several hundred political figures from various countries. Had this terrorist operation succeeded, it would have undoubtedly left hundreds killed and many more wounded.
On October 2, 2018, France expelled an Iranian diplomat. Also, three French ministers condemned the preparation of a terrorist act on European soil. Six regime’s diplomats have been expelled from the Netherlands and Albania over the past two years.
Four people, including an Iranian diplomat, are currently in prison in Belgium, and their trial is set for November 27.
On April 19, 2018, Prime Minister Edi Rama unveiled a major terrorist plot by the Iranian regime in Albania against a gathering of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) on the occasion of the Iranian New Year, which led to the expulsion of the Iranian ambassador and the its intelligence station chief from Albania.
Terrorist acts in Europe are the flip side of the coin of intensified repression inside Iran, reflected in the execution of the wrestling champion Navid Afkari that shocked the world. Through terrorism, the Iranian regime seeks to eliminate its opponents even on European soil.
Apart from the judicial process, which is independently underway in Belgium, we believe it is time to reconsider dealing with the Iranian state terrorism. We demand:
1. The continuation of relations with Iran be made contingent upon the necessary guarantees from the Iranian regime to put an end to its terrorist acts on European soil.
2. Considering the Iranian regime’s use of diplomatic cover to carry out terrorist acts, the necessary practical warnings should be given to Tehran, such as the closure of its embassies and the expulsion of its ambassadors and diplomats.
3. In accordance with the Declaration of the European Union of April 29, 1997, Tehran’s intelligence agents, using the cover of diplomats, journalists, businessmen, etc., should be expelled, and the regime’s religious and cultural front institutions in Europe which serve as terrorist and fundamentalist centers should be closed.