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Lawmakers Urge UK Government to Adopt Firm Policy Vis-à-Vis Iranian Regime

A debate was held at the UK's House of Lords on January 30, members of House of Lords raised concern over the Iranian regime’s malign activities in the Middle East and its terrorism abroad as well as its nuclear extortion campaign.

British lawmakers have urged the United Kingdom government to adopt a firm policy vis-à-vis the Iranian regime.

Written by Mahmoud Hakamian on 08 February 2020.

British lawmakers have urged the United Kingdom government to adopt a firm policy vis-à-vis the Iranian regime.

At a debate held at the UK’s House of Lords on January 30, members of House of Lords raised concern over the Iranian regime’s malign activities in the Middle East and its terrorism abroad as well as its nuclear extortion campaign.

While referring to the downing of a Ukrainian airliner by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) on January 3, Lord Alton of Liverpool said: “My Lords, it is possible that the shocking and tragic downing of Ukrainian passenger jet PS752, with the loss of 176 lives, followed by a farrago of lies, denials, and distortions will be Iran’s Chernobyl moment—a moment when another fundamentally flawed regime is exposed for what it is. The conflation of lies, denials, and distortions, accompanied by bulldozers trying to plow up the evidence, was a vivid demonstration of the nature of a cruel and barbaric regime, unworthy of a great people and a great country.”

Referring to the nationwide Iran protests in November 2019, and the regime’s terrorism, led for years by the now-dead IRGC Quds Force chief, Qasem Soleimani, Lord Alton said: “As widespread demonstrations have shown, this is Iran’s greatest existential crisis since 1979; it is a regime forced to kill hundreds of protestors and to terrorize thousands of others who show its true face. Khamenei and Soleimani are two sides of the same coin.”

“Last month I was in northern Iraq and Kurdistan, where I saw the Kurdish Regional Government attempting to build a pluralist and democratic society. That is endangered by a pincer movement of rekindled sleeping ISIS cells and by proxy Shabak militias funded by Iran. All over the region, Iran has destabilized countries, peddling a violent hateful ideology. Think of the consequences in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. Since its foundation in 1979, the Iranian regime has been based on two pillars: domestic oppression and the export of terrorism and chaos abroad. Since 2018, Iranian-backed groups of militants have fired over 30 rockets at US facilities in Iraq, including the US embassy in Baghdad, the consulate in Basra and military training facilities in Taji, Mosul, and Nineveh. Congress and the White House have repeatedly warned that this will not be tolerated forever,” he added.

Referring to an article in the Daily Telegraph about the regime’s terrorism abroad, Lord Alton asked the UK government: “I have two questions for the Minister. A report in the Daily Telegraph revealed that Soleimani’s Quds force and Afghan mercenaries are secretly directing military operations in the north-west city of Idlib in Syria, despite a promise during peace talks not to attack that city. Could he give us his response to that, and to calls to proscribe the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps?”

Baroness Ashton of Upholland, former European Union High Representative, also spoke during the debate. Referring to the 2015 international nuclear deal Baroness Ashton said that one of the criticisms to the “Iranian nuclear agreement—the JCPOA—is that it deals only with the nuclear weapons issue.”

Referring to the Iran protests and the regime’s deadly crackdown on protesters, Lord Clarke of Hampstead said: “Within Iran, the oppression continues, and the recent protests have led to an all-too-familiar pattern of murders and mass arrests. Innocent people who have only freedom in mind—freedom for democracy—are being cruelly mown down. Once again, the protests were put down by the Revolutionary Guard and others. I pay tribute to those people who made such a stand to try to change things in their own country.”

Referring to the regime’s President Hassan Rouhani’s past and his role in crimes such as the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, mostly members, and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI, Mujahedin-e Khalq or MEK), Lord Clarke said: “We have to learn from the mistakes. This is the Rouhani from the 1988 massacre; the Rouhani who told Iraq what to do about the people at [Camp] Ashraf and Camp Liberty. More recently, Iran’s fingers have got involved in Albania, where some of those people resettled after getting out of Camp Liberty. I hope that the Minister is able to speak with a louder voice than we have heard from the Government in recent years.”

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, represented the UK government. He said: “The world must recognize and understand Iran’s destabilizing influence in the Middle East.”

Referring to the regime’s malign activities in the region, especially its attack on vessels in the Persian Gulf, the Minister of State said: “Following Iran’s attacks on shipping in the Gulf, we joined the International Maritime Security Construct to uphold freedom of navigation. We fully understand the desire of the United States to re-establish deterrence and the need to shift the strategic calculation for the Iranian leadership by increasing the costs of Iran’s activity.”

“It is worrying for someone who looks after the agenda of women, peace, and security to see the declining role of women within Iran and the suppression of women’s rights. It is important that we bring this to the fore. We regularly raise the issue of human rights, and as Human Rights Minister I assure my noble friend that I will continue to do so, both in multilateral fora and bilaterally through our engagement with Iran.”

“We will continue to hold Iran to account for its destabilizing behavior,” the Minister concluded.

Here is the full transcribe of the event

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