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British Lawmakers and Anglo Iranians Urge UK to Support Iran Protests and Resistance

uk parliament jim shannon baroness liz redfern 

Anglo-Iranian organizations, held a meeting in the United Kingdom’s parliament, discussing the current uprising and Iran. This event was attended by some British lawmakers, as well as Iranian activists. The event and its attendees condemned the Iranian regime’s mounting violence against the Iranian protesters, supported the organized Resistance movement, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and urged the UK government to cut ties with Tehran and proscribe the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization. The following are remarks of the conference’s panelists, edited for clarity. 


Azadeh Zabeti Co-chair and president of the Committee of Anglo-Iranian Lawyers 

My name is Azadeh Zabeti. I’m an international human rights lawyer as well as a human rights and women’s rights activist with expertise in Iran and, of course, the wider Middle East. I’m the co-chair and president of the Committee of Anglo Iranian Lawyers, and with Dr. Elahizabihi on my right, who’s a senior lecturer, we are committee members and on the panel of the Women for a Free Iran, who are hosting you this afternoon. And it’s my immense pleasure to be your chair. 

Women are active participants in this revolution, and in others, they have always been at the forefront of the Iranian people’s history of change.  

The IRGC, whom we will come to speak about in a little while, and I’m sure our speakers will touch upon, have used batons, steel rods, tear gas, and live ammunition on unarmed civilians, killing protesters, including women, children, and minors. 

The modus operandi of the Iranian regime has always been savagery and brutality. The modus operandi has not changed. The modus operandi will not change because the Iranian regime is incapable of change. This is a regime that has a history of executing minors, executing pregnant women, and executing those individuals who stand against it.  

The demands of Iranian women and our people are very simple, and that is that they have the inalienable right, which is the right of all men and women around the world, to live in a free, democratic, and secular republic. And in my opinion, it would be an enormous disservice to Iranian women if this movement for change and this revolution were solely termed in terms of the hijab and mandatory veiling, and the dress code. Make no mistake, this revolution is about one thing and one thing only. And that is, of course, regime change in its entirety by the Iranian people and for the Iranian people. One of the most prominent chants on the streets of Iran is “with the hijab or without the hijab; together, we go towards the revolution.”  

Our organization has carried out an analysis of the chance and the graffiti and slogans that we’re seeing from inside of Iran on social media. And that’s coming to us. One of the most popular chants of this revolution and others has been “death to the oppressor, be it the shah or our current ruler.” This, of course, is a reference to the dictatorial rule of the Shah, an individual who was overthrown rightly by the Iranian people in 1979.  

It’s an insult to the Iranian people and the immense sacrifices that have been made by men and women, and women in particular, to suggest that they are sacrificing their lives in order to be led by an unelected male to lead over them simply by virtue of his DNA. This is, of course, in my opinion, as I said, an insult to the blood that’s been shed. And, of course, as someone who has had family members who have been imprisoned and mercilessly tortured by Shah’s secret police, the SAVAK.  

The SAVAK is the forefather of the IRGC, the Basiji forces, the Revolutionary Guard, and the forefather of the plainclothes police officers who terrorize Iran’s people, including women. There is history in the making. The Iranian people are on the march to freedom. 

Iran's people reject the Shah and mullahs' regimes | Iran protests


MP Jim Shanon 

I wanted to be here because I’ve always supported the rights of those whom I suppose the freedom fighters in Iran, especially ladies and girls, but also those of other religious persuasions as well. I chair the APPT and freedom of religious belief. For me, religious expression is so important. 

The nationwide uprising is one that we all support, and I want to add my support for that as well. I think the uprising has made it very vivid and clear that the Iranian people overwhelmingly reject the ruling regime. There’s obviously no doubt in my mind about that. The regime as it is must be removed. So, when it comes to what is more than a protest, it’s a revolution, and the regime has responded with its signature barbarity and violence. 

Some 750 protesters have been killed, including some 60 children. I think that underlines the number of people who are involved and the age groups that they range from as well. Some 35,000 have been detained, and we’ve had some hangings as well, and those have been hard to watch when people are only fighting for the freedom, liberty, and democracy we have here that we enjoy in this country. Many have been tortured, and many have been executed.  

The regime needs to be held accountable for the serial mass murder. It also killed some 1500 protesters in [2019], and we’ve said the many times adopted as well there with 30,000 political prisoners killed at that time [1988]. International experts believe that the 1988 massacre is classified as a genocide, and I think sometimes we in this country and across the world are slow to recognize genocide as it is, and we should be making it more our support more apparent. Also, the perpetrators who continue to hold senior posts in Iran and elsewhere need to be accountable and know that they will be accountable for their crimes against humanity. The uprising is still continuing with fervor and commitment, and the regime has also had no serious long-term solutions for a variety of social and economic crises as well. 

The balance of power has clearly shifted in favor of the Iranian people. That’s my perception outside looking in. I think it’s one of many members hold as well. The opposition and chief amongst them have been my friends in the National Council of Resistance of Iran. Very much to the forefront, very much to flying the flag for a viable alternative after the regime’s downfall will take place.  

Western governments in London should acknowledge this shift, and I think it’s time for them to recognize that as well and that the Iranian people have a right to defend themselves and overthrow the clerical regime. So far UK’s response and policy have been apart with realities on the ground in Iran, but I do feel that we must tighten the squeeze on those in control in Iran at this moment in time. The practical step for the UK is to scrap negotiations with the tyrannical rulers and begin a long due dialogue with the Iranian people. Yeah, don’t talk to the government. Talk to the people who are leading the revolution, who are trying to overthrow the government in favor of democracy, liberty, and of freedom. 

The Iranian people deserve major global solidarity and real, meaningful action. Tomorrow, I believe, is too late. Every minute that democracy isn’t realized is something that we must be very aware of. So, the UK must abound the old policy of appeasement and act decisively by standing on the right side of history. The NCRI’s ten-point plan, I believe, provides a respectable and reliable alternative. So, I would fully support that. I’ve said it before in other speeches I have had here, and I reiterated that again.  

The UK should act immediately to stop the execution of protesters in Iran and demand the release of the protesters. UK should also partner with international actors to make sure that the fact-finding mission of the UN Human Rights Council is allowed to visit Iran and inspect the Iranian prisons, where they can meet with and interview the detainees and political prisoners as soon as possible.  

Western governments must also proscribe the IRGC because of their crimes against the people of Iran. I think that is something we must take action against very quickly.  We’re here to support the Iranian people’s struggle for freedom, for the liberty of our democracy. And we in this country, and myself as a parliamentarian, will only stop once that happens.  


Baroness Liz Redfern, Member of the UK House of Lords from Halifax: 

I’m a member of parliament for Halifax, but I’m also the shadow minister for national security. And so, the disclosure in the Director General of MI5’s annual threat assessment that they’ve intervened in attempted kidnapping and assassination plots directed at Iranian heritage British residents since January of last year is really quite staggering.  

That for anybody who thinks that this is something taking part in a country that’s a long way from the UK, the reality is that some of the very worst elements of that Iranian regime are playing out, are active on the streets of our country as well. Just to make that absolutely crystal clear to anybody that doesn’t understand why we’ve got a responsibility and an obligation to stand with those braves, incredibly brave. It’s a way that keeps continuing to be used by protesters throughout to deliver regime change in Iran. 

There was something for me that I tweeted just last week. There was a new story of a husband who had received an eight-year prison sentence for decapitating his 17-year-old wife. He’d received an eight-year sentence for murdering, in the worst possible way, his very young woman wife. Whereas the death sentences are being handed out to those who dare speak out against the regime. To me, it just absolutely spoke to the hypocrisy and the corruption that goes to the heart of that regime and the misogyny that underpins it.  

I’ve been very keen to try and make sure that from both a sort of front bench perspective, we’re doing all that we can to bring that pressure to bear on the regime in Iran, to keep people safe here and drive that influence out of our country and be a voice for those women who aren’t to live with that misogyny and that hypocrisy every day. 

British MPs address Anglo Iranian community- Jan 2023