London, 29 Mar – Britain’s Prince Charles is being urged to cancel a planned visit to Iran later this year.
The Sunday Times reported that Prince Charles is considering a visit to Iran this autumn, marking the first official royal visit to that country in more than 40 years.
Struan Stevenson, a former Member of the European Parliament representing Scotland, said in a statement on Tuesday that he was deeply concerned by the reports of the planned visit.
Speaking in Scotland, Stevenson, a veteran British Conservative politician, said that if the press reports were true he hoped that the Prince of Wales could still be persuaded to change his plans.
Stevenson, who has written extensively on Iran and Iraq, said: “The Iranian regime is one of the most brutal and repressive in the world. They execute more people per capita than any other country. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have repeatedly condemned them for their wanton abuse of human rights and women’s rights. They regularly execute juveniles who were children at the time of their alleged offences. They conduct executions, public floggings and amputations in public. Only last month, two alleged robbers each had a foot and a hand amputated in Zahedan in the south-eastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan. Thousands of political prisoners are tortured, beaten and often executed fort opposing this barbaric, fascist, mullah-led regime.”
“Iran’s international reputation is even worse than its domestic status. The Iranian government has backed Bashar al-Assad’s blood encrusted regime with money, men and equipment for the past five years. Without Iranian assistance the Syrian civil war would have ended. They back the brutal Shi’ia militias in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza and the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Their main export is terror. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, was determined to build a nuclear bomb to boost his country’s dominance of the Middle East and only agreed to the sanction busting nuclear deal after the collapsing oil prices and Iran’s escalating military costs almost bankrupted the country. Yet the West appears to have been beguiled by the smiling, so-called ‘moderate’ Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Prince Charles should be aware of the fact that 2300 people have been executed in Iran during Rouhani’s two and half years in office. He is anything but moderate.
“As President of the European Iraqi Freedom Association, I know from bitter first-hand experience how the Iranian regime has exploited the current fight against Daesh (ISIS) in Iraq, to further its genocidal campaign against Iraq’s Sunni population. That is why we constantly call for the eviction of the Iranian-led Shi’ia militias from Iraq and the indictment of their commanders for crimes against humanity and genocide. It would be a great mistake for Prince Charles to visit Iran this year. His visit would be seen as a propaganda victory for the fascist mullahs and they will regard royal endorsement of their regime as a signal to redouble their repression of the beleaguered Iranian people. If there are serious plans on the table regarding a royal visit to Iran I would urge Prince Charles to think again”.
Struan Stevenson was a British Member of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2014 and chaired the Friends of a Free Iran intergroup. He was President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq from 2009 to 2014 and is currently the President of the Iraqi Freedom Association.