Time to Redress a Grave Injustice
The world watches with apprehension as Iran's
ruling mullahs persist with violations of human rights, sponsorship
of terrorism, and nuclear development. The regime threatens regional
and global security through a lethal mix of fundamentalism and
As the EU has tried "constructive engagement" with the
clerical regime, the mullahs have shown no willingness to respond
properly, demanding that the main opposition group, the People's
Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI), be listed as a terrorist group. Giving
in to that demand has only helped those who use terror at home
and sponsor it abroad, while the mullahs' nuclear programme continues.
is time for the EU to focus on the democratic aspirations of the
Iranian people. Europe and the rest of the world should be on
the side of the millions demanding freedom and human rights, not
those who have stolen these from them.
co-chaired a symposium at Church House, Westminster, London, on
22 March, where dozens of members of both Houses of Parliament
from the three major political parties joined more than 500 lawyers,
human rights advocates, trade unionists, clergymen, student activists
and members of the Anglo-Iranian community to call on the Government
to de-proscribe the PMOI and remove a serious impediment to democratic
change in Iran.
Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the opposition coalition, the
National Council of Resistance of Iran, said via satellite link-up,
"The terrorist label against the Iranian Resistance is not
only a move against an opposition movement. It is capitulation
to the dictates of the ayatollahs and a barrier to change in Iran."
both appeasement and military intervention, Mrs. Rajavi called
for support for democratic change by the Iranian people and the
Iranian resistance movement.
the law on the side of the resistance, we must stand by the Iranian
people in their struggle against the religious tyranny. On 15
March, millions of young Iranians heeded the PMOI's call to turn
the traditional end-of-Persian-year fire festival into a national
protest against mullahs' tyranny. These young Iranians need the
support and encouragement of freedom-loving people around the
world. By blacklisting their resistance movement, we are sending
them the opposite signal.
The terrorist tag must be hung around the neck of the real terrorists,
the mullahs who rule Iran, not their victims. The symposium in
London was part of a growing campaign to undo this injustice.
Appeasement must end and the PMOI removed from the terror list
to signal support for democratic change by the Iranian people
and their legitimate representative, the National Council of Resistance
Corbett of Castle Vale
Rt. Hon. The Lord Slynn of Hadley, QC
Terror label against PMOI is capitulation
to the dictates of the ayatollahs
week ago, millions of Iranian women and men across Iran used the
occasion of ancient end-of-Persian-year celebrations to resonate
the chant of freedom against the ruling mullahs across the country.
They again displayed the resolve of the Iranian people for change
those sailing into uncharted seas in lonely nights, the brave Iranians
resisting the barbaric despots have a right to wonder if their cry
for freedom is finding an echo among men and women of conscience
around the world.
is the answer, as clearly shown today by the confluence of law and
politics in your symposium and your emphasis on the need to distinguish
between terrorism and legitimate resistance.
history remember that the conscience of Europe and Britain rejects
deals over the rights of the Iranian people to resist religious
appeasement of the ruling ayatollahs in Iran is thwarting the will
of the Iranian people for change. Twenty-seven years ago, as the
Shah's regime was going through its final weeks, the then-British
Foreign Secretary declared that Britain must stand by the side of
her ally. Today, in an echo of failed policies of the past, the
British Foreign Secretary has become the most frequent high-profile
Western visitor to Tehran, having made five trips in two years.
The Foreign Secretary was quoted by the state-run media in Tehran
as taking pride in the fact that as the Home Secretary, he had proscribed
the main Iranian opposition group, the People's Mojahedin. He took
the lead in putting the terror tag on the Mojahedin in the European
Union and personally informed the Iranian government ahead of the
war in Iraq that camps belonging to the Iranian Mojahedin would
be bombed. Oddly enough, the freedom-fighters bombed in those camps
had received the support of a majority of members of Parliament
in Britain in their endeavour to end religious tyranny in Iran.
is to be remembered that the Iranian resistance movement had been
supported by the Labour Party and its leadership for 15 years and
invited to Labour's annual conferences. We continue to enjoy strong
grassroots support in the Labour Party and among its parliamentarians.
a majority of members of the House of Commons and more than 100
Peers note in their joint statement that "supporting the Iranian
Mojahedin is indispensable to the fight against terrorism,"
why does the British government continue to proscribe the Mojahedin?
Home Secretary acknowledged in February 2001 in a written note to
Parliament that the Mojahedin never attacked Western or British
did Britain join France and Germany to promise the mullahs that
if they were to limit their nuclear program, the European Union
would continue to keep the Mojahedin on the terrorism list? Was
this not a travesty of justice and the fight against terrorism?
must particularly note that all members of the Mojahedin in Iraq
have been recognised by the Coalition member states, including Britain,
as "protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention"
and that the US government announced that it had found no grounds
to bring charges against any members of the Mojahedin.
how can one justify keeping this label? The terrorist label against
the Iranian Resistance is not only a move against an opposition
movement; it is capitulation to the dictates of the ayatollahs and
a barrier to change in Iran.
signal this label sends to the mullahs is that they can continue
the repression, the export of terrorism and their nuclear ambitions
with impunity. And it tells my fellow Iranians that the West is
standing by the despots who rule them and is opposed to change in
mullahs use this label to justify the continuing executions, torture
and flagrant violations of human rights in Iran. When they demanded
the bombing of the combatants of freedom, this label was again their
unjust designation is a grave breach of the principles of democracy
and human rights. But it is more than that. It's a serious political
blunder. As millions of Iranians cry for freedom, the end of mullahs'
tyranny is appearing in the horizon. It is time for change.
has exacted a high price from the Iranian people and will continue
to do so, but it cannot prevent the inevitable change.
just, and wise, policy is to stand on the side of the Iranian people
and their desire for democratic change.
the position of the Iranian Resistance in the past quarter-century
that the clerical regime is the font of Islamic fundamentalism and
terrorism has been vindicated. Western officials increasingly concede
that the Iranian people are yearning for freedom, that the ruling
theocracy lacks any popular support and legitimacy, and that there
will be no peace, stability, and progress in the Middle East without
democracy in Iran.
have before us the experience of two decades of appeasement, particularly
during Khatami's presidency. This policy has only led to the strengthening
of the most hard-line factions of the ruling clique.
the same time, no one wants a war or a foreign military intervention.
The only real and effective option is to support democratic change
by the Iranian people and Resistance. This is the very option I
raised in my speech at the European Parliament in December.
through continuing appeasement, the West were to allow the mullahs
to advance their policies, the nuclear program and meddling in Iraq,
war would become inevitable.
virtue of its profound roots in Iran's culture and society, with
its vast and well-organized network inside Iran and the NLA, as
well as its political alternative, the National Council of Resistance,
the Iranian Resistance represents the best and the last chance for
democratic change in Iran.
committing itself to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
the Iranian Resistance is seeking the establishment of a pluralist
democracy that advocates the separation of church and state, gender
equality, and the elimination of all discrimination among ethnic
and religious minorities.
order to rebuild our devastated country, we want private investment
and seek to create a situation whereby our experts abroad would
return to Iran. We want equal relationships with all countries and
the spread of peace, democracy and security to the rest of the world.
the backbone of this Resistance, the People's Mojahedin Organisation
of Iran has espoused a democratic and tolerant interpretation of
Islam and emerged as the best cultural and political answer to Islamic
fundamentalism, which Iran's rulers have attempted to spread to
the rest of the world, especially Iraq.
Resistance's parliament, the National Council of Resistance of Iran,
has been the most enduring political coalition in Iran's modern
history. With women making up just over half of its members, the
NCRI includes the representatives of different political tendencies
and all of Iran's various religious and ethnic groups. It has established
itself as a symbol of unity and tolerance for the free and tolerant
Iran of tomorrow.
this reason, the mullahs know that the only way to forestall change
is to fetter the Resistance movement. They see the continuing terrorist
designation of the Mojahedin as their strongest line of defence
against the tide of change. This is the continuation of appeasement,
and appeasement, as history attests, paves the way to war.
day, the proponents of appeasement sacrificed Czechoslovakia to
appease a certain "Mr. Hitler." In the words of Sir Winston
Churchill, between war and dishonour, they chose dishonour. But
they ended up with war.
sacrificing the Iranian Resistance as a price for rapprochement
with the mullahs has the stench of a new Munich.
why I believe your consensus in the face of this injustice is not
just in defence of democracy, human rights and the sanctity of law,
but it is also a serious initiative to prevent war.
behalf of the victims of one of the most brutal and suppressive
regimes in modern history, I thank you for your dignified stance
in defence of the Iranian people against a great injustice.
tree of liberty in Iran has been replenished with the blood of 120,000
of my country's bravest sons and daughters. Today, millions of Iranians
crying for freedom need your support. They need each and every one
of you to do whatever in your power to remove the terror label on
the Iranian Resistance.
the name of justice, humanity and peace, I urge you to answer their