By David Amess MP
I have long been an opponent of the present Iranian regime. In short, I think that President Ahmadinejad a truly wicked man. Nevertheless, I do not favour other countries, including Britain and the United States of America, intervening in the internal affairs of Iran, by which I mean, aiding and abetting the overthrow of the present regime. I have always favoured peaceful change from within the country itself. However, I have been very disappointed by what I regard as the appeasement of the regime by the United States of America, and to some extent, the United Kingdom. Before being elected to office, President Obama and Mrs Clinton had much to say about regime change in Iran, yet the leader of that country is regularly given a platform at the UN. Similarly, my country seems to have, at the very best, loose links with Iran, which I am frankly uncomfortable about. I am saddened that oil seems to be the stumbling block.
The human rights record in Iran throughout the clerical regimes 34 year rule is disgraceful. It includes the execution of 120,000 of its political opponents; the catastrophic repression of women, nationalities, and followers of various religions; the destruction of the majority of the middle class; the obliteration of the private sector; the fall of at least 40 million people below the poverty line; unemployment standing at 35%; and with a 40% inflation rate, the plunging of the nations official currency.
At the same time, Iran’s regime is sowing the seeds of discord in all of the Middle East, not least in Syria where the Mullahs are lending huge assistance to the dictator Assad, and in Iraq, where the regime is attempting to eliminate the countries democratic opposition leaders, as well as the 3300 Iranian dissidents in Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty. The Mullahs continue to develop nuclear weapons which would enable them to threaten peace and stability in the entire world. ‘The world’ seems to stay silent as human rights in Iran are abused. For instance, at least 150 people were hanged in November and December alone. On the 13th November, 44 people were sent to the gallows. Some thousand prisoners are currently on death row. Yes, the UN does condemn all this, but the Iranian regime just sticks two fingers up at everyone.
A 35 year old dissident blogger was arrested by Iranian police on the 30th October. On the 6th of November, his family was told to collect his body from Tehran’s detention centre and he was buried the following day. He had been brutally tortured to death whilst in detention in an attempt to obtain a false confession. Witnesses said his body was crushed due to torture marks. There are countless examples of the abuse of human rights in Iran, so I am calling on the government to take the initiative of a new policy in the European Union; to refer the Mullahs terrifying human rights dossier to the UN Security Council; to commit to the security of the inhabitants of Camp Liberty and Camp Ashraf by calling on the UN to give these camps refugee status and respecting Ashraf residents property rights and rights to sell their goods. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, to recognise the Iranian resistance for regime change.
David Amess will lead an adjournement debate in the House Commons today, on Human rights in Iran.