NewsSpecial WireBritish lawyers want Iran opposition group de-listed

British lawyers want Iran opposition group de-listed

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Iran Focus: London, Nov. 29 – In an unprecedented move in British legal history, 1,300 lawyers called Tuesday on Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government to de-list Iran’s main opposition group, the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MeK), from the list of terrorist organisations. Iran Focus

London, Nov. 29 – In an unprecedented move in British legal history, 1,300 lawyers called Tuesday on Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government to de-list Iran’s main opposition group, the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MeK), from the list of terrorist organisations.

The lawyers’ statement was made public at a symposium in the House of Lords, where an array of British Parliamentarians called for Iran’s “human rights abuses, sponsorship of terrorism and nuclear file” to be referred to the United Nations Security Council.

Former Solicitor General Lord Archer of Sandwell, Labour Peers Group Chairman Lord Corbett of Castle Vale, former Conservative ministers Lord Renton and Lord Fraser, former chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Lord Russell-Johnston and distinguished academic Lord Turnberg were among senior politicians from Britain’s three major political parties who attended the symposium organised by the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom. They were joined by many of their colleagues from the House of Commons, including Stephen McCabe, Rudi Vis, David Amess, Brian Binley, and David Drew.

The symposium also heard the views of several leading British lawyers and jurists, who included Geoffrey Bindman, Claire Miskin, Stephen Grosz, Bill Bowring, and Mark Muller.

A statement signed by the British lawyers said that the promotion of freedom and democracy in Iran faced a major obstacle which was the listing of the MeK as a proscribed group.

The MeK was listed as a terrorist organisation by the European Union in mid-2002, in what the EU’s then-Spanish leadership called “a goodwill gesture to Tehran”.

While urging Home Secretary Charles Clarke to de-proscribe the MeK, the lawyers called on the government to distance itself from Iran’s hard-line regime, which they said represented a “direct threat to British interests”, and instead side with the “millions of Iranians and their Resistance movement who seek peace, freedom and a secular democracy in Iran”.

“When 1,300 lawyers agree on one thing, it has to be significant”, said Shahin Gobadi, a spokesman for the National Council of Resistance, a coalition of opposition groups that includes the MeK. “There is a growing realisation that keeping the mullahs’ main opposition group on the list not only lacks legal basis, but is also counter-productive: it emboldens the fanatics who rule Iran”.

During the parliamentary symposium, several Members of Parliament and Peers who rallied behind the call to have the MeK’s name taken out of the terror list also demanded that the British government get tough on Tehran by referring it to the Untied Nations Security Council in the face of its flagrant human rights abuses, sponsorship of terrorism, and pursuit of nuclear weapons.

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