Time to Redress a Grave Injustice

The world watches with apprehension as Iran's ruling mullahs persist with violations of human rights, sponsorship of terrorism, and nuclear development. The regime threatens regional and global security through a lethal mix of fundamentalism and nuclear weapons.
As the EU has tried "constructive engagement" with the clerical regime, the mullahs have shown no willingness to respond properly, demanding that the main opposition group, the People's Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI), be listed as a terrorist group. Giving in to that demand has only helped those who use terror at home and sponsor it abroad, while the mullahs' nuclear programme continues.

It is time for the EU to focus on the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people. Europe and the rest of the world should be on the side of the millions demanding freedom and human rights, not those who have stolen these from them.

We co-chaired a symposium at Church House, Westminster, London, on 22 March, where dozens of members of both Houses of Parliament from the three major political parties joined more than 500 lawyers, human rights advocates, trade unionists, clergymen, student activists and members of the Anglo-Iranian community to call on the Government to de-proscribe the PMOI and remove a serious impediment to democratic change in Iran.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the opposition coalition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, said via satellite link-up, "The terrorist label against the Iranian Resistance is not only a move against an opposition movement. It is capitulation to the dictates of the ayatollahs and a barrier to change in Iran."

Rejecting both appeasement and military intervention, Mrs. Rajavi called for support for democratic change by the Iranian people and the Iranian resistance movement.

With the law on the side of the resistance, we must stand by the Iranian people in their struggle against the religious tyranny. On 15 March, millions of young Iranians heeded the PMOI's call to turn the traditional end-of-Persian-year fire festival into a national protest against mullahs' tyranny. These young Iranians need the support and encouragement of freedom-loving people around the world. By blacklisting their resistance movement, we are sending them the opposite signal.

The terrorist tag must be hung around the neck of the real terrorists, the mullahs who rule Iran, not their victims. The symposium in London was part of a growing campaign to undo this injustice.

Appeasement must end and the PMOI removed from the terror list to signal support for democratic change by the Iranian people and their legitimate representative, the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

Lord Corbett of Castle Vale

Rt. Hon. The Lord Slynn of Hadley, QC

Terror label against PMOI is capitulation to the dictates of the ayatollahs

Maryam Rajavi

A week ago, millions of Iranian women and men across Iran used the occasion of ancient end-of-Persian-year celebrations to resonate the chant of freedom against the ruling mullahs across the country. They again displayed the resolve of the Iranian people for change in Iran.

Like those sailing into uncharted seas in lonely nights, the brave Iranians resisting the barbaric despots have a right to wonder if their cry for freedom is finding an echo among men and women of conscience around the world.

Yes is the answer, as clearly shown today by the confluence of law and politics in your symposium and your emphasis on the need to distinguish between terrorism and legitimate resistance.

Let history remember that the conscience of Europe and Britain rejects deals over the rights of the Iranian people to resist religious tyranny.

Today, appeasement of the ruling ayatollahs in Iran is thwarting the will of the Iranian people for change. Twenty-seven years ago, as the Shah's regime was going through its final weeks, the then-British Foreign Secretary declared that Britain must stand by the side of her ally. Today, in an echo of failed policies of the past, the British Foreign Secretary has become the most frequent high-profile Western visitor to Tehran, having made five trips in two years. The Foreign Secretary was quoted by the state-run media in Tehran as taking pride in the fact that as the Home Secretary, he had proscribed the main Iranian opposition group, the People's Mojahedin. He took the lead in putting the terror tag on the Mojahedin in the European Union and personally informed the Iranian government ahead of the war in Iraq that camps belonging to the Iranian Mojahedin would be bombed. Oddly enough, the freedom-fighters bombed in those camps had received the support of a majority of members of Parliament in Britain in their endeavour to end religious tyranny in Iran.

It is to be remembered that the Iranian resistance movement had been supported by the Labour Party and its leadership for 15 years and invited to Labour's annual conferences. We continue to enjoy strong grassroots support in the Labour Party and among its parliamentarians.

When a majority of members of the House of Commons and more than 100 Peers note in their joint statement that "supporting the Iranian Mojahedin is indispensable to the fight against terrorism," why does the British government continue to proscribe the Mojahedin?

The Home Secretary acknowledged in February 2001 in a written note to Parliament that the Mojahedin never attacked Western or British interests.

Why did Britain join France and Germany to promise the mullahs that if they were to limit their nuclear program, the European Union would continue to keep the Mojahedin on the terrorism list? Was this not a travesty of justice and the fight against terrorism?

One must particularly note that all members of the Mojahedin in Iraq have been recognised by the Coalition member states, including Britain, as "protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention" and that the US government announced that it had found no grounds to bring charges against any members of the Mojahedin.

So how can one justify keeping this label? The terrorist label against the Iranian Resistance is not only a move against an opposition movement; it is capitulation to the dictates of the ayatollahs and a barrier to change in Iran.

The signal this label sends to the mullahs is that they can continue the repression, the export of terrorism and their nuclear ambitions with impunity. And it tells my fellow Iranians that the West is standing by the despots who rule them and is opposed to change in Iran.

The mullahs use this label to justify the continuing executions, torture and flagrant violations of human rights in Iran. When they demanded the bombing of the combatants of freedom, this label was again their pretext.

This unjust designation is a grave breach of the principles of democracy and human rights. But it is more than that. It's a serious political blunder. As millions of Iranians cry for freedom, the end of mullahs' tyranny is appearing in the horizon. It is time for change.

Appeasement has exacted a high price from the Iranian people and will continue to do so, but it cannot prevent the inevitable change.

The just, and wise, policy is to stand on the side of the Iranian people and their desire for democratic change.

Today, the position of the Iranian Resistance in the past quarter-century that the clerical regime is the font of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism has been vindicated. Western officials increasingly concede that the Iranian people are yearning for freedom, that the ruling theocracy lacks any popular support and legitimacy, and that there will be no peace, stability, and progress in the Middle East without democracy in Iran.

We have before us the experience of two decades of appeasement, particularly during Khatami's presidency. This policy has only led to the strengthening of the most hard-line factions of the ruling clique.

At the same time, no one wants a war or a foreign military intervention. The only real and effective option is to support democratic change by the Iranian people and Resistance. This is the very option I raised in my speech at the European Parliament in December.

If through continuing appeasement, the West were to allow the mullahs to advance their policies, the nuclear program and meddling in Iraq, war would become inevitable.

By virtue of its profound roots in Iran's culture and society, with its vast and well-organized network inside Iran and the NLA, as well as its political alternative, the National Council of Resistance, the Iranian Resistance represents the best and the last chance for democratic change in Iran.

By committing itself to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Iranian Resistance is seeking the establishment of a pluralist democracy that advocates the separation of church and state, gender equality, and the elimination of all discrimination among ethnic and religious minorities.

In order to rebuild our devastated country, we want private investment and seek to create a situation whereby our experts abroad would return to Iran. We want equal relationships with all countries and the spread of peace, democracy and security to the rest of the world.

As the backbone of this Resistance, the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran has espoused a democratic and tolerant interpretation of Islam and emerged as the best cultural and political answer to Islamic fundamentalism, which Iran's rulers have attempted to spread to the rest of the world, especially Iraq.

The Resistance's parliament, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, has been the most enduring political coalition in Iran's modern history. With women making up just over half of its members, the NCRI includes the representatives of different political tendencies and all of Iran's various religious and ethnic groups. It has established itself as a symbol of unity and tolerance for the free and tolerant Iran of tomorrow.

For this reason, the mullahs know that the only way to forestall change is to fetter the Resistance movement. They see the continuing terrorist designation of the Mojahedin as their strongest line of defence against the tide of change. This is the continuation of appeasement, and appeasement, as history attests, paves the way to war.

One day, the proponents of appeasement sacrificed Czechoslovakia to appease a certain "Mr. Hitler." In the words of Sir Winston Churchill, between war and dishonour, they chose dishonour. But they ended up with war.

Today, sacrificing the Iranian Resistance as a price for rapprochement with the mullahs has the stench of a new Munich.

That's why I believe your consensus in the face of this injustice is not just in defence of democracy, human rights and the sanctity of law, but it is also a serious initiative to prevent war.

On behalf of the victims of one of the most brutal and suppressive regimes in modern history, I thank you for your dignified stance in defence of the Iranian people against a great injustice.

Dear friends,

The tree of liberty in Iran has been replenished with the blood of 120,000 of my country's bravest sons and daughters. Today, millions of Iranians crying for freedom need your support. They need each and every one of you to do whatever in your power to remove the terror label on the Iranian Resistance.

In the name of justice, humanity and peace, I urge you to answer their call.

Home | Appeasement Policy | Platform | Article | Interviews

© All rights Reserved 2005