Friends of a Free Iran Intergroup (FoFI)

The European Parliament, Brussels

Tuesday 7th December 2021

Zoom Seminar 

14.00-17.00 hrs CET

Dear Colleagues, I am very pleased to be able to join you today at this important event. I spent ten years chairing the Friends of a Free Iran Intergroup in the European Parliament from 2004-2014 and it is great to know that it remains a powerful voice for freedom, justice and democracy in that long-suffering nation.

The theocratic regime has a team in Vienna this week again trying to hoodwink the Americans into re-joining the defunct JCPOA nuclear deal. Under the directions of the elderly and demented Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and their new criminal president Ebrahim Raisi, the so-called ‘Butcher of Tehran’, they have tabled demands that are impossible for the Biden administration to meet. They want the immediate lifting of all sanctions, including those that were directed at the regime’s proxy wars in the Middle East, which is something Biden, politically, cannot entertain. They also want a guarantee that no future US administration would ever again withdraw from the deal, a guarantee that no president is able to give. 

Meanwhile the mullahs have accelerated their programme of enriching uranium, now at 60% purity, which is only a step away from weapons grade. Their clear objective is to build a nuclear bomb and their pretext of negotiations in Vienna were only ever a masquerade to hide that reality from the West. So the JCPOA is dead in the water and Josep Borrell would be well advised to abandon his policy of appeasement of this repressive regime and turn his attention instead to providing EU support for the Iranian people, who long for freedom and an end to violent repression.

Khamenei thought that by engineering the election of Ebrahim Raisi as president, he would confront the West with a hard-line aggressor who would frighten his enemies into submission. His plans have backfired spectacularly. Raisi is on the US sanctions list for serial human rights violations. He is a murderer and perpetrator of genocide, who has openly boasted of his role as a member of the ‘death commission’ which oversaw the massacre of more than 30,000 political prisoners in the summer of 1988. Most of those executed, including many teenagers and even pregnant women, were supporters of the main opposition Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK). Raisi was until his elevation to the presidency, chief of Iran’s judiciary, where he was able to indulge his expertise as a mass executioner. He ordered the murder of over 1,500 unarmed protesters during the nationwide uprising in Iran in November 2019. He has directed the hanging of 251 people in 2019, 267 people in 2020, and scores of executions so far this year. According to eye-witness survivors, Raisi often supervised the torture of men and women and then personally attended their execution.

Now António Guterres, the UN Secretary General and Agnès Callamard, the Secretary General of Amnesty International, have called for Raisi to be investigated for crimes against humanity and for his involvement in murder, enforced disappearance and torture. It is essential for the EU to set out a clear roadmap for the indictment of Raisi and his henchmen for these crimes. There must be no impunity. Having agreed to a system similar to the US Magnitsky Act, the EU now has the power to punish individuals involved in human rights violations and genocide and to ban them from entering the bloc. Surely it is a sacred principle for the EU to condemn the crime of genocide and therefore to endorse a UN call for accountability over the 1988 massacre in Iran and the ongoing violations of human rights in that country. 

But please let me sound a warning to my distinguished colleagues who are members of the European Parliament. I know from bitter experience that any time we make progress against this evil regime they retaliate. Their Ministry of Intelligence & Security (MOIS) mobilizes its disinformation machinery to discredit Iran’s democratic alternative, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its pivotal member organization, MEK. While I was an MEP, the MOIS had trained agents coming into the European parliament to brief MEPs and to infiltrate Iranian opposition rallies and meetings. They have a list of compliant journalists ready to unleash their propaganda in the Western media. They have even sent their registered diplomats to try to bomb and kill us in peaceful opposition rallies on European Soil. So please be on your guard. This is a dangerous and ruthless regime who will stop at nothing to silence their opponents. We will win by silencing them.