Iran Focus: London, Feb. 09 The British government conceded on Thursday to review the terrorist listing of the main Iranian opposition group, the Peoples Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI). Iran Focus
London, Feb. 09 The British government conceded on Thursday to review the terrorist listing of the main Iranian opposition group, the Peoples Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI).
After a lively debate at the House of Lords, Under-Secretary of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Lord Triesman of Tottenham announced that he was willing to look at the possibility in making the case for the groups de-proscription.
Shadow Minster of Foreign Affairs, Conservative Peer Lord Howell of Guilford, urged the government to look into the case for de-proscribing the PMOI.
I hope that the case of the PMOI will be kept under review by this government, Lord Howell said, as he urged the government to listen to the numerous Peers who defending the group.
Lord Triesman suggested that the Iranian opposition group, which has long contested the label, make the case for its de-proscription at the Proscribed Organisations Appeals Committee (POAC).
But when pressed by several Peers, the Labour minister also stated that he was perfectly willing to discuss any new information regarding the group.
Former Home Secretary Lord Waddington told Parliament that he had come to the conclusion that by proscribing the PMOI, we have been helping no one but the mullahs.
He rejected that the PMOI was fit for designation under the UK Terrorism Act 2000.
His comments were echoed by Lord Temple-Morris from Tony Blairs ruling Labour Party who said that the PMOI had never been a terrorist organisation and urged the government to de-proscribe them.
Lord Temple-Morris said that he had tried in vain for 26 years to convince the regime through dialogue to make change in Iran, adding that he now believes that Tehran is not seeking to change its ways.
He accused Tehran of meddling in Iraq in operations that took the lives of British troops. Lord Temple-Morris also highlighted Irans nuclear threat. I am convinced that they are going for a bomb.
We must support the dissidents inside and outside Iran, he said, adding that the Iranian Resistance had a perfectly good political wing, referring to the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
Former Foreign Secretary Lord Hurd of Westwell described the Iranian regime as undemocratic, repressive, and unreliable in its assurances regarding its suspected nuclear weapons program. He said that supporters of the PMOI might have had a point in suggesting the group be de-proscribed.
Baroness Gould of Potternewton, who also called for the Iranian opposition groups de-proscription, said that the Iranian regime had executed more than 120,000 of its opposition.
Highlighting the fact that women were the first victims of the Irans religious theocracy, Baroness Gould called on the British government to support Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the NCRI. We should be offering our support to Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, she said.
It is a grave injustice that the PMOI have been proscribed. It is about time we stopped appeasing the mullahs. It is about time we deproscribed the PMOI, the Labour Peer said.
Lord Blaker told the debate, The Iran crisis is more serious than the Iraq crisis. He too suggested the de-listing of the PMOI.
The termination of the proscription of the PMOI seems to me to be extremely desirable, the Conservative Peer said.
Former British Solicitor-General Lord Archer of Sandwell described the PMOIs designation as tragic.
Lord Archer said it was the Iranian Resistance who first revealed to the world, Tehrans clandestine nuclear sites in 2002.
He added that Lord Slynn of Hadley, an internationally renowned jurist and a former judge of the European Court of Justice, had declared his support for the de-proscription of the PMOI.
Lord Taverne said that hard-line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had brought out the regimes true colours.
Iran is the principle champion of Islamic extremism in the world, Lord Taverne said, as he suggested that internal regime change was the only hope the West had for peace in the region.
He described as ridiculous the decision to list the Iranian opposition as terrorists.
Lord Clarke of Hampstead said that the National Council of Resistance of Iran was the only effective opposition movement to the religious theocracy ruling Iran. The PMOI is a member organisation of the NCRI.
He called on the British government to abandon its policy of appeasement and instead support the political leadership of Maryam Rajavi to bring about democratic change in Iran.
Lord Russell-Johnston told the debate that the Iranian government did not represent the people of Iran, especially in its threats against the existence of neighbouring countries. He said that the NCRI had the ability to bring about peace and freedom in Iran. I think Mrs. Rajavi is well regarded by many in Iran.
Lord Russell-Johnston said that he had been at the European High Court of Justice in Luxembourg where the PMOI had made their case against the listing this week.
Lord Mitchell warned at the debate, Time is running out.
He accused Tehran of seeking to threaten the West by developing nuclear weapons and missiles with which to deploy them.
Lord Dykes said, The future of Iran belongs to the Iranian people.
He accused Ahmadinejad of isolating the people of Iran from the international community through his hard-line stances of the nuclear and terrorism issues.