NCRI, November 10 – The following is a statement released by the Committee of Anglo-Iranian Lawyers (CAIL) yesterday, November 9:
The Iranian regime’s news agency, IRNA, reported yesterday that a press conference will be held on Thursday by a number of Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) operatives in the London office of Emma Nicholson, an MEP who has close relations with the Iranian regime, as well as MOIS past and current ministers, Ali Younessi and Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei. The aim of the meeting is to accuse the "hypocrites (the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran) of being a party to the crimes perpetrated by Iraq’s deposed dictator and call for the prosecution of this group." In addition to Massoud Khodabandeh, his wife, Ann Singleton, and Emma Nicholson, Alain Chevalerais, and a Dutch woman, Judith Neurink, will also take part in the meeting.
This transparent tactic of the MOIS that failed miserably in the past in France, Washington, DC and The Hague, is being planned in London after a series of major political achievements by the Iranian opposition, including the 35,000-strong rally outside the European Commission Headquarters in Brussels. In that rally, the Resistance’s supporters called for the referral of Tehran’s nuclear file to the Security Council for the adoption of comprehensive oil and technological embargoes, and the removal of the unjust terror tag from the PMOI. British lawmakers from all three major political parties voiced their support for the PMOI as a legitimate resistance movement. They, along with a number of Euro MPs raised the demands of the Iranian people and those in the rally directly with the EU’s presidency.
Facing global censure and outrage over what Prime Minister Blair described as “the revolting and totally unacceptable” remarks by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad about the destruction of Israel, the Iranian regime is bidding to divert attention from its relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons and its increasingly terrorist and fundamentalist meddling in Iraq, including financing and arming groups responsible for the deaths of British troops, that has been acknowledged by many world leaders and officials, including the Prime Minister and the Foreign and Defence secretaries of Britain, the EU’s rotating Presidency.
Fearful of the presence of witnesses and Iranian victims of MOIS who had in similar meetings exposed the nature of the regime and its conspiracies, the organisers have made attending the 10 November meeting conditional on having an invitation, which it has already issued to its own operatives.
According to a witness statement filed with the British Courts on 12 November 2002, by Ebrahim Khodabandeh, the brother of Massoud Khodabandeh (one of the main organisers of the press conference) Massoud Khodabandeh was recruited by the MOIS in the mid-1990s. He has repeatedly travelled to Tehran and East Asia for face-to-face briefings by MOIS officials as regards actions against the opposition People’s Mojahedin.
Ebrahim Khodabandeh also set out in his witness statement the long record of cooperation between Ann Singleton (the wife of Massoud Khodabandeh), whom IRNA has introduced as "Mojahedin’s former British member" and MOIS, including her many travels to Iran. Former Labour MP, Win Griffiths, issued a letter about his humanitarian visit to the notorious Evin Prison in the summer of 2004. Evin prison is the place in which tens of thousands of political prisoners have been tortured and executed, and the Canadian-Iranian journalist Zahra Kazemi was brutally tortured, raped and then murdered. In his letter, Mr Griffiths expressed surprise at having seen Anne Singleton sitting next to interrogators and waiting to meet him in Evin.
Emma Nicholson is a discredited figure, whose ties with the Iranian regime and MOIS have been reported by Iran’s state-controlled media. In a letter published on 16 March 2005, the Iranian regime’s daily ‘Kayhan’ revealed the contacts between Nicholson and the head of MOIS, Ali Younessi. It stated, "Given her role in the British Parliament and the European Union, Baroness Nicholson has initiated special action in recent years to collect credible and irrefutable documents and evidence to have the name of the terrorist grouplet, the hypocrites, in the list of terrorist and anti-human groups. The MOIS has used this opportunity and has raised some issues with her in a meeting."
In the course of the adoption of a recent resolution in the European Parliament against the vile human rights abuses of the Iranian regime, she claimed that Iran was the most democratic country in the Middle East region and that women have the most rights in Iran compared with the rest of the region. Her remarks drew outrage among Euro MPs.
The state-controlled daily ‘Abrar’ also wrote on 1 March 2003, "Nicholson said in 1999 and 2000 [the PMOI] transferred some of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction and buried them beneath the southern marshes". Of course this allegation, like many others levelled by Nicholson against the PMOI, have in the fullness of time proved to have been completely untrue. Another example of her involvement in MOIS’ misinformation campaign against the PMOI related to the murder of three Christian leaders in Iran in 1994, which was initially blamed on the PMOI, but later transpired to have been the work of the second in command at MOIS. On 21 June 1995, the Iranian daily ‘Iran’ wrote, “An anti-Iran meeting in the British House of Commons was exposed after the Secretary of the Parliamentary Human Rights Group revealed the Mojahedin’s conspiracy in murdering three Christian priests. Emma Nicholson, MP, from the Conservative Party referred to her meeting with the murderers of the priests in Iran and said after her meeting, it became clear to her that the Mojahedin are responsible for these murders…Ms Nicholson told MPs that she has “met with two women who had been arrested and confessed.” She said in her meeting with the two women no one else was present and that they confessed to having committed this crime on the orders of Rajavi’s group.”
On 9 February 1996, the UN Special Rapporteur on Religious Tolerance stated, “The Iranian government had apparently decided to execute those Protestant leaders in order not only to bring the Mojahedin organisation into disrepute abroad by declaring it responsible for those crimes, but also, at the domestic level, partly to decapitate the Protestant community and force it to discontinue the conversion of Muslims…”
The Daily Telegraph also wrote on 5 March 2004 that Nicholson having set up a charity in the name of Ammar, who was a young Iraqi war victim, had in fact then abandoned the boy who was by then 23 years old.
Another participant in this press conference is Alain Chevalerais. In many trips to Iran, he has been accused of being the guest of the MOIS and his expenses having been paid by a MOIS front Labour outfit called the “House of Labour." Ali Rabi’e, former MOIS deputy and the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council under Mohammad Khatami, founded the House of Labour.
The other participant is a Dutch woman named Judith Neurink. Her interview with a Farsi language radio on 7 November 2005, unveils her motives for taking part in this demonization campaign against the PMOI. She said, "contrary to what the U.S. is saying, the Mojahedin is not the de facto alternative for the current regime. Our main conclusion is that beware, this organisation is dangerous."
The Committee of Anglo-Iranian Lawyers draws the attention of the public in Britain and relevant officials, particularly the British security services to the activities of MOIS and its foreign operatives in London. It underscores that European soil must not be turned into the roaming ground for Iranian and non-Iranian MOIS agents. This is an issue of immense concern for Iranian dissidents, especially bearing in mind the Iranian regime’s record of assassination of Iranian dissidents in the heart of Europe. In this regard, the Committee points to the book published in 1996 by the Parliamentary Human Rights Group entitled ‘Iran: State of Terror’, which underscored, "Another method is using the small number of defectors who had at one stage co-operated with opposition organizations and individuals. These persons, due to their low or non-existent motivation to continue the struggle and maintain their principles, allowed themselves to be bought by the regime at a later stage. Such people have so far provided regime’s terrorist in Europe with the most extensive intelligence and political services. In addition to providing information on the assassination targets to the regime, they prepare the political grounds for the murders of dissidents by spreading propaganda against the individuals or organizations they had previously co-operated with, defaming them and accusing them of being worse than the ruling regime.”