NewsSpecial WireBritish lawmakers rally behind Iran dissidents

British lawmakers rally behind Iran dissidents

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Iran Focus: London, Jan. 31 – An array of British parliamentarians and distinguished jurists called on the British government to cease its “policy of appeasement” towards the government of hard-line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and remove the proscription of Iran’s main opposition group as a terrorist organisation. Iran Focus

London, Jan. 31 – An array of British parliamentarians and distinguished jurists called on the British government to cease its “policy of appeasement” towards the government of hard-line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and remove the proscription of Iran’s main opposition group as a terrorist organisation.

Several dozen speakers addressed a conference organised by the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom, entitled “Responding to Iran’s Nuclear and Terrorist Threat”, asking the government of Tony Blair to support “democratic regime change in Iran”.

The speakers, who all spoke in favour of the main Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organisation (MeK), said that the proscription of the group was the “most important impediment to achieving democracy in Iran” and called on the British government to remove the group’s name from the terrorist list. They described the MeK as a legitimate “resistance movement” fighting for freedom in Iran, adding the group’s original proscription was “politically motivated”.

“From the evidence that I have considered over the past three to four years, I am surprised that the [MeK”> was ever proscribed, as there was no justification for such designation. There is an overwhelming case for the removal of the [MeK”> from all terror lists”, Lord Slynn of Hadley, a former Judge in the European Court of Justice, told the conference.

A statement signed by more than 2,000 British lawyers calling for the removal of the name of the MeK from the list of terrorist groups was unveiled during the conference which took place in the House of Lords. The statement was addressed to the Home Secretary Charles Clarke.

Former Home Secretary Lord Waddington was among the panellists who defended the demand for the MeK’s de-proscription. “The radical make up of Iran’s present government and the threats from Iran’s president concerning Israel, as well as his vision of the Islamic world becoming one, under the leadership of Iran’s mullahs, and a final war between the Islamic world and the West, sends shudders down one’s spine. It is for this reason that I say that the struggle of the National Council of Resistance of Iran and [MeK”> to bring about democracy in Iran is not only crucial, but their struggle will have serious repercussions for the rest of the world. I therefore urge our government to de-proscribe the [MeK”>”.

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A number of parliamentarians also spoke in favour of referring Tehran’s nuclear and human rights files to the United Nations Security Council.

Chair of the meeting Lord Corbett of Castle Vale said, “I congratulate Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia on their decision to refer the Iranian regime’s nuclear weapons programme to the UN Security Council. This step represents an important change in attitude towards the Iranian regime, which should also lead to a change in attitude towards the Iranian Resistance”.

Among the human rights defenders in the panel was Lord Joffe, former lawyer to South African icon Nelson Mandela. “We must recognise the Iranian Resistance and support the aspirations of the Iranian people. The right signal should be sent to the Iranian people by removing the unjust terror tag on their resistance movement, the [MeK”>”.

Joffe said that he could not differentiate between the African National Congress struggling against Apartheid in South Africa and the MeK struggling against the theocracy in Iran. “There is therefore no justification for the international community to give less support to the [MeK”> than it did to the ANC”.

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