Human rights must be focus of UK policy towards Iran, MPs sayPublished by International Liberty on September 17, 2015
The all-party British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom held a meeting at the House of Commons on Tuesday 15 September to discuss human rights situation in Iran and the conditions at Camp Liberty.
In the meeting the members of the committee expressed grave concern over deteriorating human righst situation in Iran and called on all EU member states and the British Government to tie any deals with Iran to its human rights record.
Following is the text of the Press Release issued by the Committee after the meeting:
At a major conference in the House of Commons on Tuesday, September 15, organised by the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF), MPs and Peers from all major parties of both Houses of Parliament addressed the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran and the urgent plight of Iranian refugees and members of Iran’s main opposition, the PMOI, in Camp Liberty, Iraq.
Members of the Anglo-Iranian Community also attended the conference with representatives and former political prisoners raising serious concerns of the community over regime’s use of mass arrests and public hangings, that has intensified since Hassan Rouhani took office. They criticised the untimely decision by the government to open the British Embassy in Tehran in the face of ongoing abuses and increasing executions.
Under Hassan Rouhani the so-called moderate or reformist president of the Iranian regime, there have been over 2000 executions since he took office two years ago.
“Accelerated use of the death penalty, concerns about the right to a fair trial, and the continued detention of journalists, bloggers and human rights defenders remain a major cause for concern”, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in a statement on Monday, September 14, at the opening of the Human Rights Council session in Geneva.
The cross-party speakers condemned the alarming rise in the number of executions in Iran, especially in the month following the nuclear deal with Iran. Participants also pointed to the legitimate concerns that a large portion of the billions of dollars accessed by the regime following nuclear deal with world powers would be used to enhance the capabilities of repressive security organs, like the Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and its Basij-Force, to quell the growing popular dissent and anti-regime protests at home.
They called on the government, to join allies; the U.S. and the EU, to make human rights the basis of a firm policy towards Tehran that focuses on putting pressure on the theocratic regime to stop all executions, end its human rights violations and free political prisoners in the country as a precondition to any improvement of relations.
In her message to the conference, Mrs Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), thanked the BPCIF and members of both Houses of Parliament for their attention to the cause of human rights and freedom in Iran.
“The people of Iran must have the right to freedom from arbitrary arrests, torture and extra-judicial executions. They must have the right to enjoy personal freedoms and security and be equal to others before the law … Unfortunately, the issue of human rights and freedoms in Iran was overlooked more than ever in the past two years while the nuclear negotiations and its ultimate agreement was ongoing. We call on Britain, Europe and the International Community to stand by human rights, freedom and the Iranian Resistance and respect the Iranian people’s desire for regime change”, Mrs Maryam Rajavi said.
The Rt Hon. David Jones, Conservative MP for Clwyd West, joined colleagues in condemning ongoing atrocities during Rouhani’s tenure. “In confronting Islamic extremism and fundamentalism, our government needs to engage with Iran’s democratic opposition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the NCRI and fully support the ten-point platform of [NCRI President-elect] Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, a progressive Muslim woman, calling for a democratic and non-nuclear Iran with separation of religion and state, gender equality and elimination of all religious and ethnic discrimination”, he said, in referring to Policy recommendations put forward by the BPCIF, which so far has been supported by over 100 MPs from all major parties of both Houses of Parliament.
Steve McCabe Labour MP for Birmingham, Selly Oak, echoed his support for these policy recommendations and said, “We know all about the regime’s atrocities, public executions and what really is going on in Iran thanks to the revelations by the brave members of the opposition, PMOI and activists inside Iran. Our government must now help them to overcome the regime’s domestic repression and its campaign of terror against those who dare to oppose its despotic rule.”
On Camp Liberty, the MPs warned about a recent intensification in Tehran’s hostile campaign against the defenceless Iranian refugees in Camp Liberty, Iraq, with Iran’s Embassy in that country helping individuals to gather outside the camp to chant threatening slogans at the residents while taking photographic and video footage from a high altitude and throwing stones at the residents.
Reiterating a statement by BPCIF last week, speakers called on the UN, the UK and the U.S. governments to take concrete actions to pressure the Government of Iraq and the Iraqi Prime Minister Dr Al-Abadi to dismiss officials, like Faleh Fayyad, with known ties to Tehran, from the Governmental Committee in charge of the camp and its security.
Baroness Harris of Richmond, reiterated the call from other MPs and Peers on Camp Liberty and said, “The UN has an obligation to make sure that the residents of Camp Liberty are protected, and that need to happen now.”
Speakers at the conference included Lord Clarke of Hampstead CBE; Steve McCabe MP; Baroness Harris of Richmond; Sir David Amess MP; Rt Hon. David Jones MP; Lord Maginnis of Drumglass ; Professor Lord Alton of Liverpool; Jim Fitzpatrick MP; Sir Alan Meale MP; Sir Roger Gale MP; Lord Suri; Lord Cotter; and Professor Bill Bowring, representing the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales.
British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom – 15 September 2015