Universe Column for January 22nd 2006
by David Alton
Over the years in this column I have detailed the shocking and widespread human rights abuses in Iran. While it suited our economic interests we turned a blind eye to this, only recently waking up to the threat posed by the Iranian mullahs’ nuclear weapons programme.
The way in which the West has dealt with the threat posed by the Iranian regime’s nuclear weapons programme is an illustration in the dangers of appeasement. After having led the European Union on a merry dance for a few years, the mullahs’ nuclear negotiator openly admitted the nuclear advancements that they had made while the protracted negotiations were taking place. During this process, they also broke every agreement reached with the EU, most recently by feeding 37 tonnes of uranium ore into the uranium conversion facility in Isfahan. Now Iran states that it will feed a further 50 tonnes into the facility, providing it with sufficient highly enriched uranium for up to 10 atomic bombs.
The thought of the most active state sponsor of terrorism possessing the world’s most dangerous weapons is terrifying. Since the National Council of Resistance of Iran revealed the existence of the mullahs’ nuclear programme in August 2002, the international community have behaved like a headless chicken. Rather than adopting a firm policy towards the Iranian regime, the EU gave the mullahs concession after concession in the blind hope that they would suddenly wake up one day, repent for all their misdeeds and decide that they would give up a nuclear weapons programme on which they have spent billions of Dollars and which they see as their only means of survival.
Any further delay in the referral of the Iranian regime’s nuclear file to the UN Security Council is inexcusable, as the threat posed by the Iranian regime continues to mount, thereby increasing the potential for military conflict.
The EU even went as far as to promise the continued proscription of the Iranian resistance movement (the PMOI) if the mullahs agreed to comply with their nuclear obligations.
The promise by the EU highlights the way in which the West has used those fighting for democratic change in Iran as a pawn in negotiations with the mullahs.
Having been involved with the activities of the Iranian Resistance for many years, I have learned a great deal about this misinformation campaign and the attempts by the Iranian regime to discredit the PMOI. One of the allegations that I personally followed concerned the gruesome murder of three leaders of the Anglican Church in Iran in 1994. We were told that three women publicly confessed to have received orders from the PMOI to murder these Anglican priests. Several years later, however, former intelligence officials of the Iranian regime revealed that the priests had been murdered by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security and that all the allegations about PMOI involvement in the killings were fabricated to discredit the movement.
The Iranian regime and its agents have recently intensified their misinformation campaigns against the PMOI in the heart of Europe. A recent example of this was when in May of this year Human Rights Watch was duped into writing a report accusing the PMOI in Iraq of human rights abuses. The report was based on a few telephone interviews with individuals claiming to be former PMOI members. HRW failed to give the PMOI a right to reply to the allegations and failed to visit Camp Ashraf, the scene of the alleged abuses. The report drew ire from many circles and therefore a delegation from the European Parliament visited the PMOI’s camp Ashraf and conducted independent investigations into the allegations. It published its findings in a book, which concluded that agents of the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence had duped HRW into preparing the report containing fabricated allegations against the PMOI.
1,000 British lawyers have now signed a statement calling for the deproscription of the PMOI. This cannot happen a day too soon. As things stand in Britain it is the equivalent of banning the French Resistance during World War Two and trying to do business with the Reich.
For the Uyghurs, Genocide is a word which dares not speak its name. For the sake of women like Rahima Mahmut, Gulzira Auelkhan, Sayragul Sauytbay, and Ruqiye Perhat – whose heart-breaking, shocking, stories are recorded here – it’s time that the crime of genocide was given definition in the UK. On January 19th Parliament can use its voice and speak that name – insisting on justice for victims of Genocide and refusing to make tawdry trade deals with those responsible for the crime above all crimes.
For the Uyghurs Genocide is a word which dares...