Iran General NewsIran media fuel row with London over opposition leader

Iran media fuel row with London over opposition leader

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Iran Focus: Paris, Jul. 30 – Iran’s officials and state-owned media have been launching virulent attacks on the British government for supposedly hosting an Iranian opposition leader in London. In a “special report”, the semi-official daily Kayhan wrote in its Saturday issue that Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran, held a meeting with British Parliamentarians in the House of Lords “to present a report on the status of the group in Iraq”. Iran Focus

Paris, Jul. 30 – Iran’s officials and state-owned media have been launching virulent attacks on the British government for supposedly hosting an Iranian opposition leader in London.

In a “special report”, the semi-official daily Kayhan wrote in its Saturday issue that Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran, held a meeting with British Parliamentarians in the House of Lords “to present a report on the status of the group in Iraq”.

Kayhan added that several members of the House of Lords “left the House in protest against the official presence” of Maryam Rajavi.

The government-owned website, Baztab, reported on Friday that Maryam Rajavi “held frank discussions with British Peers in the House of Lords this week” and took “souvenir photos with members of the House of Lords”.

The website said Rajavi “discussed the future of the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MeK) with her British interlocutors”.

The charismatic Rajavi, who lives in the northern suburbs of Paris, is often the target of virulent attacks by Iran’s government-run media. She has been nominated by the opposition council as the country’s president in the interim period after the current Islamic regime.

In a related development, Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, an ultra-conservative Majlis deputy and a member of the parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee, attacked the British government over “the presence of Maryam Rajavi in the House of Commons and her meetings with some of the Members of Parliament in that country”.

Fars News Agency, run by the office of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, quoted Falahatpisheh on Saturday as saying that “Britain has always adopted a mysterious policy on Iran and their meeting with the MeK leader must be seen in this light”.

“We must not allow the issue of the MeK be included in the talks between Iran and the Europeans and for the latter to demand more concessions from Iran on this issue”, he said.

A spokesman for the National Council of Resistance of Iran in Paris denied the reports in Iran’s state-owned media that Maryam Rajavi had visited London recently.

“Mrs. Rajavi addressed a meeting of dozens of prominent members of the House of Lords and the House of Commons in Westminster earlier this month”, NCRI spokesman Shahin Gobadi said in a telephone interview. “But this was via a taped video message from her residence north of Paris”.

The meeting Gobadi referred to was organized by the parliamentary British Committee for Iran Freedom, chaired by veteran Labour Peer Lord Corbett of Castle Vale. Speakers, who included former Conservative cabinet ministers Lord Fraser and Lord Renton, as well as former Law Lord and judge of the European Court of Justice, Lord Slynn of Hadley, called for a new policy of firmness by the British government vis-à-vis Iran in the wake of the presidential elections. They also urged the government to remove the MeK from the list of terrorist groups.

The reports in the Iranian media were all the more baffling in view of the fact that both Houses of Parliament in Britain began their summer recess on July 22.

Baztab, the website that is close to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards commanders, noted that “the presence of Maryam Rajavi in the House of Lords just before the Europeans make their proposals to Tehran on the nuclear file and just before the new government takes over in Iran is an indication that London is adopting ever-more radical policies against Iran”.

NCRI’s Gobadi said the reports seemed to be part of a “pre-emptive campaign by the Iranian theocracy to prevent any change of policy by the British government at a time when there is growing support in and out of Parliament for a fresh look at the mullahs’ regime and its principal opponents”.

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