Iran Focus: London, Mar. 26 – The European Union must immediately abandon “its failed and counterproductive policy
of appeasement" towards Iran and instead support the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people and their resistance, according to a London-based legal expert. Iran Focus

London, Mar. 26 – The European Union must immediately abandon “its failed and counterproductive policy of appeasement" towards Iran and instead support the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people and their resistance, according to a London-based legal expert.

Masoud Zabeti, Associate at Glovers Solicitors in Mayfair and President of the Committee of Anglo-Iranian Lawyers, one of the organising parties of a major symposium of Parliamentarians and Jurists held on March 22, told Iran Focus, “The European Union’s blacklisting of Iran’s main opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI), was the greatest gift to the mullahs ruling Iran. This week over 500 British Parliamentarians, lawyers, diplomats, representatives of human rights organisations and other personalities gathered in the Assembly Hall of Church House, the historic seat of the British Parliament during the Second World War, to consider ways of removing the unjust terror tag from the PMOI”.

“In pursuing the crucial war against terrorism, it is essential to distinguish between terrorists and their sponsors on the one hand and legitimate resistance movements on the other. A resistance movement that abides by international law in its struggle against an oppressive regime, which violently prevents all forms of dissent, cannot be labelled terrorists. There is no better example to illustrate this point than the case of the PMOI. It is widely recognised by international human rights organisations that the mullahs’ rule has no legitimacy and is based on violent oppression, systematic human rights violations and prevention of any form of dissent. In such circumstances, the Iranian people and their Resistance are entitled, as a last resort, to exercise their right under international law to struggle against tyranny and oppression. In the case of the PMOI, panellists at the symposium pointed out that the PMOI had not carried out any military activities since the summer of 2001 and its members based in Iraq voluntarily disarmed in May 2003. Prior to the summer of 2001, the PMOI’s military activities were confined to its own country and only against an indisputably repressive regime’s military and security apparatus”, Zabeti added.

The London symposium panel included dozens of British Parliamentarians and prominent international law experts, who called on Whitehall to remove the PMOI from the UK list of proscribed organisations.

Panellists from a cross-section of mainstream British politics included, among others, Lord Archer of Sandwell QC, a member of the Select Intelligence and Security Committee of the British Parliament and a former Solicitor General; Lord Corbett of Castle Vale, Chairman of the British Committee for Iran Freedom; Baroness Gould of Potternewton; Lord Alton of Liverpool; Lord Clarke of Hampstead; Lord King of West Bromwich; Lord Dholakia OBE, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democratic Party in the House of Lords; Andrew Mackinlay, MP, member of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee; Dr. Rudi Vis, MP, member of the Council of Europe; Win Griffiths, MP, former Vice-President of the European Parliament; and David Amess, MP.

Speakers included some of the leading lights of Britain’s legal profession in the field of human rights. The renowned Geoffrey Bindman and Stephen Grosz from Bindman and Partners; Imran Khan from Imran Khan and Partners; Prof. Bill Bowring, Director of the Human Rights & Social Justice Research Institute of London Metropolitan University; Malcolm Fowler, member of the International Human Rights Committee of the Law Society; Claire Miskin, joint chair of the Women's Interest Group of the International Bar Association; Mark Muller, vice-chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee; and Wolfgang Kaleck, President of Germany’s Association of Republic Lawyers, were among the legal experts who addressed the audience.

Zabeti explained, “The PMOI has not only the backing of the people of Iran, but has for consecutive years received the support of the majority of the British House of Commons for its struggle to liberate the Iranian people. In direct contrast, the Iranian people have taken every opportunity to show their contempt for their theocratic oppressors. The mullahs have been strongly condemned by the United Nations General Assembly, the European Parliament and many international human rights organisations for their drastically deteriorating record in human rights. And of course, the international community has for long recognised the Iranian regime as the most active state sponsor of terrorism”.

Zabeti called on the EU to adopt the “third option” policy put forward by the President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, Maryam Rajavi. “Europe must neither appease the mullahs, nor must it engage in any form of war against Iran. Instead it must support the Iranian people and their Resistance to bring about genuine change in Iran”, he said.

Addressing the London conference via video link from Paris, Rajavi accused Britain, France and Germany of using the PMOI as a bargaining chip during negotiations with the Iranian regime over its suspected nuclear weapons program.

"This unjust designation is a grave breach of the principles of democracy and human rights," Rajavi said, adding that the so-called EU-3 had assured Tehran that the group would stay on the terrorist list, as long as Iran's suspension of uranium enrichment activities continued.

"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".

"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?”, Rajavi added.

"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 foreign military intervention. The only real and effective option is to support democratic change by the Iranian people and Resistance".

Zabeti told Iran Focus that a committee of legal experts was being established from among the many lawyers who attended the symposium, the purpose of which would be to strive towards the removal of the terror-tag against the PMOI.