Tuesday, December 7, 2021
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Answer to Iran regime’s threats is support to its opposition – Lord Taverne

Lord Taverne, QCNCRI – In a conference at the House of Lords on November 29 it was announced that 1,300 Lawyers called for removal of the unjust terror label against the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, the main Iranian opposition to the fundamentalist regime ruling in that country. Lord Taverne, QC, was among distinguished speakers at this conference who found the solution to the problem of Iranian regime to be support for its opposition and made the following speech:
Friends, I find myself completely baffled. I genuinely cannot understand what the basis is for the policy of the Foreign Office in relation to the Iranian regime. It is true that diplomats are not always concerned with human rights.  However, we are here because we are concerned with human rights and there have been many eloquent and moving speeches which have explained why we are here. But the Foreign Office is essentially concerned with ‘real politic’.  They are concerned with stability.
It has been clear for decades, ever since Khomeini first came to power, that the Iranian regime is dedicated to the spread of Islamic fundamentalism. Do the Foreign Office not realise this? Why do they ignore it? It has been absolutely clear for decades that all effective controls in Iran are in the hands of the Supreme ruler and the mullahs. Do the Foreign Office not realise this? A few years ago, they put all their hopes in Khatami. President Khatami was an irrelevance as the real power was kept in the hands of the Supreme ruler. Did the Foreign Office not know this?
At the same time, it has been absolutely clear for decades that the Iranian regime has been trying to establish a theocracy in Iraq. Has the Foreign Office not recognised this? Do they not recognise that the mullahs were behind many of the attacks against British and American troops?
I want just to say a very few things briefly. What I think is very important is the aim of spreading Islamic fundamentalism. I think there is a great rise of fundamentalism of different kinds in the world. They all scare me. I am scared by the Evangelical fundamentalists in the United States. I am appalled by the Jewish fundamentalists who justify their occupation of Palestinian lands by referring to what was written in the Tora. But by far the most dangerous and frightening are the Islamic fundamentalists from Iran. It is not just because they advocate and practice terror, but it is because they have given Islamic fundamentalism of the most extreme kind a state base. That is what makes them so dangerous internationally. It is rather like Marxism which caused a great deal of upheaval in different parts of the world. But it did not become a major force in the world until it was given a state base in the Soviet Union.
I think there is a far greater danger, potentially from the state base and the spread of Islamic fundamentalism than there was from the Soviet Union, because the leaders of the Soviet Union, the communist party, when it came to power, were people who were realists. In the case of the Iranian regime, we are facing people who are fanatics.
How do you deal with people who are training something like tens of thousands, it has been said, of martyrdom seekers, people craving for martyrdom, to become suicide bombers? Now imagine if the state of Iraq also becomes dominated by these kinds of Islamic fundamentalists and that Iran acquires nuclear weapons. The only possible justification for ‘real politic’, as far as the policy of the Foreign Office is concerned was that if we appeased Iran, somehow they would not develop nuclear weapons.
Far from postponement, what the policy of appeasement has achieved is delay in effective action. So the question that has to be faced is how do we rid ourselves of this regime? That surely should be in the minds of the Foreign Office with their ‘real politic’. I do not think it can be invasion, because that would be one of the worst of the solutions. There is only one way in which one can get rid of this monstrous regime, and that is by every possible support to the opposition.
So I think that the Foreign Office has been responsible for one of the most disastrous mistakes in our foreign policy for many years. They have failed to support the opposition. Sometimes, you cannot act to promote human rights in the way one wishes. In China it is very difficult to see what we could really do effectively to influence this enormously vast country. But in the case of Iran we can, and the answer is to support the opposition and consign this wretched policy of appeasement to the dustbin.