Conservative MP for Clwyd West and member of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom, David Jones, has warned that religious fundamentalism will remain a global threat if international powers fail to re-evaluate their approach towards Iran.
Mr Jones observed that the sudden emergence of the Islamic State (IS) should not be a matter of surprise considering that fundamentalist roots had taken hold in 1979, when Khomeini seized power after the Iranian revolution ousted the Shah. The rise of religious fundamentalism is not random or spontaneous as erroneously believed by some. It is a result of a deliberate effort on the part of the Iranian regime, which sponsors terrorism abroad.
Mr Jones shed light on the activities of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Qods Force, which are primarily relied on for export of fundamentalist ideology and terrorism. Shiite militias in Iraq, which are in no way inferior to IS in their barbaric activities, are controlled by Tehran. In Lebanon, the Qods Force supports and sustains Hezbollah, which takes cues from Tehran. In Yemen, the regime is backing Houthi rebels who have pushed the country to the brink of disaster. In Syria, the IRGC is spending considerable time and energy to keep dictator Bashar al-Assad in power by conducting a bloody war against the Syrian people. Despite the condition of its economy, international sources believe that the Iranian regimes $1-2 billion every month to save Bashar al-Assad.
The Conservative MP negated the view that Sunni fundamentalism is somehow more dangerous compared to Shiite fundamentalism. While there may be doctrinal differences between Shiite and Sunni groups, they both aspire to an Islamic caliphate, support inhumane punishments to enforce an outdated set of laws and beliefs. It would be in error to draw imaginary distinctions and discriminate between them. To rely on one in order to counter the other would prove counterproductive.
He went on to claim that a nuclear Iran would have a negative impact on the volatile situation in the Middle East and the wider world. Negotiating with the regime over the issue lends it undeserved legitimacy and emboldens it. Armed with nuclear weapons, entities such as the Qods Force will wield greater power and thus cause greater damage as noted by President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi. By making it a partner in the campaign against IS, the international coalition is undoing its work. It is wrong to believe that the regime would give up on its ambitions in exchange for an enhanced role in Iraq. By partnering with Iran, efforts against the IS have been seriously compromised.
Mr Jones concluded by stressing that since the Iranian regime serves as an intellectual, ideological and practical role model for religious fundamentalist groups, the West ought to support democratic change in Iran to enable its people in fulfilling their wishes for peace and stability.