NCRI, LONDON – Below is a statement by ‘The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom” issued today following a symposium of parliamentarians & jurists:
Over 30 pre-eminent Parliamentarians (from all three major political parties in both Houses of Parliament) and renowned jurists addressed the symposium held in the Moses Room of the House of Lords on 29 November 2005.
The symposium was chaired jointly by Lord Corbett of Castle Vale (Chair of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom) and Rt. Hon. the Lord Archer of Sandwell, QC (former Solicitor-General). Other speakers included Rt. Hon. the Lord Renton, QC, Lord Fraser of Carmyllie, QC, Lord Taverne, QC, Baroness Harris of Richmond, Lord Alton of Liverpool, Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen, Lord Russell-Johnston, Lord Clarke of Hampstead, Lord Dholakia, Baroness Gould of Potternewton, Lord Inglewood, Baroness Turner of Camden, Lord Turnberg, Lord King of West Bromwich, Stephen McCabe, MP, Dr Rudi Vis, MP, David Amess, MP, Brian Binley, MP, David Drew, MP, Geoffrey Bindman (Solicitor), Claire Miskin (Barrister and Recorder), Stephen Grosz (Solicitor), Professor Bill Bowring (Barrister and Lecturer), Mark Muller (Barrister – Vice Chair Bar Human Rights Committee), Malcolm Fowler (Solicitor and International Human Rights Committee of the Law Society), Edward Grieves (Barrister) and Dowlat Nowrouzi (UK Representative of the NCRI). Mrs Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (“the NCRI”) also sent a special message to the symposium.
At the start of the symposium, it was announced that over 1,300 British lawyers had signed a statement, ‘Iran: A Call for Justice’, calling upon the Home Secretary to de-proscribe Iran’s main opposition, the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (“the PMOI”). After all, it was said that the Home Secretary had acknowledged that the PMOI does not represent a threat to Western or British interests. The statement added, “It is time that our government distanced itself from Iran’s hard-line regime, which represents a direct threat to British interests, and instead sides with the millions of Iranians and their Resistance movement who seek peace, freedom and a secular democracy in Iran”.
Speakers at the symposium addressed the audience in respect of a wide range of issues. Some drew attention to the resolution passed by the UN General Assembly on 18 November 2005 condemning the Iranian regime for the ever deteriorating and dire state of human rights in Iran. They also expressed alarm at the more than 100 executions that have taken place in Iran in the four months since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became President.
A number of other Parliamentarians highlighted the Iranian regime’s widespread meddling in the affairs of Iraq and the mullahs’ promotion of suicide bombings. Criticising the British government for what they described as its policy of appeasement vis-à-vis the Iranian regime, the Parliamentarians questioned the Foreign Office’s close relations with the Tehran regime, which was responsible for the deaths of British troops in Iraq and whose paramilitary Bassij forces had hurled petrol bombs at the British Embassy in Tehran. The paramilitary Bassij had also warned that if Iran’s nuclear file was referred to the UN Security Council, no corner of Britain would be safe from suicide bombers. The Parliamentarians also expressed outrage at the news that the Iranian regime and its agents have, with Iraqi Interior Ministry officials, been running torture centres in Iraq. A number of the renowned British lawyers reminded the audience of the kidnapping in Baghdad on 4 August, by Iranian regime agents and Iraqi Interior Ministry forces, of two PMOI personnel who were ‘protected persons’ under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The jurists addressed the audience on the illegal and unjustified nature of the PMOI’s proscription. The lawyers also drew attention to Tehran’s misinformation campaigns and conspiracies against the PMOI personnel in Iraq. In this regard, they denounced statements by an Iraqi government official, on a recent trip to Iran, suggesting that the Iraqi government would be prepared, in breach of international law, to forcibly transfer PMOI personnel to Iran.
Other Parliamentarians spoke of the change in the political landscape of Iran following the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Revolutionary Guards’ cementing of control over every organ of power in Iran. Particular consideration was given to the impact of this change on the threat posed by the Iranian regime’s nuclear weapons programme. The Parliamentarians described the manner in which the West has dealt with this threat as an illustration in the dangers of appeasement. They confirmed that after having led the EU3 on a merry dance for a few years, the Iranians boasted of the nuclear advancements that Tehran had made during the negotiations with the EU3.
The symposium also listened to a statement from Mrs Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran. Mrs Rajavi described the statement ‘A Call for Justice’, as representing the voice of law and justice. She described as a grave injustice the accusations of terrorism made by the West against the PMOI, which were part of political negotiations with the Iranian regime and for the sake of trade gains. Describing the terror tag on the PMOI as a by-product of the West’s failed policy of appeasement of the theocratic regime, Mrs Rajavi called for the deproscription of the PMOI. She said that the continued proscription of the PMOI was having serious repercussions on the Middle East region and the wider world, as it had hamstrung the most effective anti-fundamentalist Muslim force.
On behalf of the Iranian Resistance, Mrs Rajavi, condemned all forms of terrorism, stating that in the view of the Iranian Resistance, any violent act that is directed at civilians or results in harm to civilians, under whatever pretext, was condemned. However, she also described as deplorable the questioning by the West, under the guise of combating terrorism, of the legitimate right of the Iranian nation to resist against tyranny and oppression.
The symposium concluded by demanding (i) referral of the Iranian regime’s human rights abuses, sponsorship of terrorism and nuclear file to the UN Security Council, and (ii) a change in British government policy towards the Iranian regime to include recognition of the right of the Iranian people to resist against tyranny, oppression and religious fascism, as well as removal from the PMOI the unjust and illegal terror tag, which was described as being the main barrier to democratic change in Iran.