Cross party UK parliamentary delegation meets Iran’s opposition leader
Statement by Rt. Hon. David Jones MP, former Secretary of State for Wales, 12 February 2016:
More than 200 cross-Party MPs and Peers today called on the UK government to adopt a firm policy towards Iran and make any improvement in bilateral relations conditioned on an end to human rights abuses and regional meddling. The announcement was unveiled at a meeting attended by a delegation of eight MPs and one member of the House of Lords with Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, north of Paris at the headquarters of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
The meeting on Friday and the policy recommendations come as Iran’s regime has faced scrutiny by United Nations bodies over its abysmal human rights record and exactly two weeks before Iran’s Parliamentary and Assembly of Experts sham elections, whose candidates are strictly filtered and unrepresentative of the people’s desires.
Iran has the highest per capita execution rate in the world. Political suppression has intensified over the past two years under the presidency of Hassan Rouhani. Iran continues with its destructive meddling in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
We sharethe position of Mrs. Rajavi who said in the meeting:
“Some apologists claim that after the nuclear agreement, the Iranian regime would move towards moderation. Yet, we can see that the situation is otherwise: Human rights abuses in Iran have worsened after the nuclear deal, as has the mullahs’ meddling and aggression in Syria”.
“If this religious fascism were not in power in Iran, we would not have a shattered Iraq today with all its painful tragedies. Likewise, in Syria, there would not have been this violent war and genocide and Yemen would not have been turned into a killing-field by the regime’s agents”.
Mrs. Rajavi added that the “mullahs’ theocracy is a source of inspiration for two basic tendencies:
1. Extremism under the banner of Islam and
2. Retaliation against the West”.
“The outcome of these two tendencies are terrorist attacks in Europe”, she reminded us.
The Iranian regime continues to repress the people domestically and export terror in the region. It has dispatched Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) commanders and foreign mercenaries to fight for Bashar Assad in Syria. The NCRI is the legitimate opposition to this regime.
Our government, along with our Western allies, has pursued a conciliatory policy toward Iran, hoping that would encourage the Iranian regime to change its behaviour. In this respect the Iranian opposition and the desire of the Iranian people for change were ignored. It is time to abandon that misguided approach.
The policy recommendations backed by more than 200 MPs and Peers reiterated:
“Human rights must be a central factor in our relations with Iran. We must make it clear to the rulers of Iran that their behaviour towards their own people is unacceptable. We must not turn a blind eye to the grave violations of human rights in Iran. On the contrary, expressions of concern about the human rights situation in Iran must be a priority in any bilateral relationship”.
“We should support our allies in the region to stand up against Iran’s growing meddling. Iran has been and remains the source of instability in the Middle East”.
“We need to engage with Iran’s democratic opposition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran. We fully support the 10-point platform of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi calling for a democratic and non-nuclear Iran with separation of religion and state, gender equality and elimination of all religious and ethnic discrimination”.
In addition, the delegation reiterated that in confronting Islamic extremism and fundamentalism, we need to engage with moderate forces within the Islamic world. The Iranian opposition movement, led by Mrs. Rajavi, a Muslim woman, and with the People’s MojahedinOrganisation of Iran (PMOI) as its main component, offers a rational alternative to Islamic extremism.
Lord Clarke of Hampstead, a former Labour Party Chairman, underscored that the “Iranian regime continues to hang children. Rouhani is no moderate. He must be prosecuted. We in the UK Parliament stand with the PMOI(MEK) and NCRI to bring freedom and democracy to Iran.”
The parliamentary delegation was comprised of: Rt. Hon. David Jones MP, Lord Clarke of Hampstead, Mark Williams MP, Sir Alan Meale MP, Martyn Day MP, Dr. Matthew Offord, Jim Fitzpatrick MP, Toby Perkins MP, and Mike Freer MP. They were joined by London lawyer Claire Offord.
The cross-party delegation expressed its full support for the members of the PMOI at Camp Liberty, Iraq, and urged the UK and US governments as well as the UN Security Council to guarantee the safety and security of the Camp Liberty residents until departure of all of them from Iraq.
Sir Alan Meale, Labour MP for Mansfield, stressed: “We must support opposition leader Maryam Rajavi’s movement to bring democracy to Iran”.
According to Mark Williams, Welsh Liberal Democrat MP for Ceredigion: “The West must support Maryam Rajavi’s 10-point plan for a future free Iran”.
Jim Fitzpatrick, Labour MP for Poplar and Limehouse, pointed out: “We British MPs want the UK government to adopt a firm policy towards Iran and to support the NCRI”.
12 February 2016
Rt. Hon. David Jones MP
Former Secretary of State for Wales