|LORD CLARKE OF HAMPSTEAD|
|Tuesday, 28 February 2012 20:57|
Good afternoon. It is an honour to be here with you this afternoon with such a distinguished panel of scholars on the subject that is of outmost concern to us as we speak here about the rights of the people of Ashraf and the rights of the people of Iran, the right to be free and live free and express freely without fear of persecution what you believe in.
But before I begin I must pay tribute to the champion of this cause, our beloved chairman Robin, the Lord Corbett of Castle Vale. I knew Robin for most of my political life and it’s not a short one. I am proud to say here that he was my mentor, he was my political colleague, and above all he was my friend, a true and good friend. As so many of you know Robin had ceaselessly worked hard here in the UK and internationally against those perpetrators of injustice against the brave people of Ashraf. But today as Val said at the beginning of this gathering, today we can make a pledge. This afternoon we can take Robin’s legacy that he gave us, and we knew his determination to assist those in need in Iran, and particularly the residents of Ashraf, and as Val has said his spirit will be with us all the way. Robin will always be there watching what we are doing and giving us encouragement. I happen to have a belief and I believe he will be there watching what we are up to.
So I am proud to be here to stand alongside those who will be watching. The people will watch this abroad .....(no good mumbling) people will be able to see the proceedings they will be able to see the will of the gathering here today and those at many other parts of the world.
We can say to the people of Ashraf, without any ...(2.49). words you are not only a symbol for your own people, you are a beacon not just for Iran but also to the people all over the world who seek justice. In my view you represent the respect for humanity. The cause of protecting you and the humanitarian values you represent is a great cause and I say as always I am proud to be part of it.
As we stand here today the issue of Iran and how to deal with a regime that is brutal to its own people and very arrogant and subversive with respect to its neighbours, and has shown over the year a total disregard for international standards of decency, the issue of Iran and how to deal with its evil and disgusting ruling regime is a problem for the free world. The problem should be a reminder for every decision maker in the governments of the free world.
The world is rapidly polarising, those who oppose democratic values are coming together, Russia and China backed Syria and its main ally the Iranian regime. The Syrian uprising has taken a new course. Bashar Asad with Iran’s backing is refusing to accept the will of the people and pack up and go. We know that Iran is backing the brutal Syrian crackdown because the mullahs know full well that the storm will eventually reach them from Syria across Iraq and into Iran and remove them from their place
The events of last year proved once more that no dictator can last forever. It is unfortunate that these sorts of people are the last to learn from history. They always think that they are different. That the can overcome the will of the people. But we got news for them that the time will come when you have to go whether you like it or not. And from this afternoon let’s say let that time be quicker, sooner rather than later.
However the brutal regimes try to circumvent this process and the most effective method so far has been used by Iran; the spread of misinformation. The tyrants want to wear us out. They want to make it so difficult for the truth to unveil that people get tired and give up. This is the purpose of the misinformation campaign of Iranian regime and its propaganda machine that we have been witnessing it for so long haven’t we. Unfortunately there are people out there who would do anything for money.
Some of the reports that have been circulating lately by making reference to anonymous officials are of that kind. But the truth will always come out. The truth is that all these allegations are fabricated by a brutal regime to demonise its opposition and we have seen this happen quiet often. Even in Syria you see that Asad junior is blaming terrorists for the popular uprising. We know that the terrorist designation of PMOI was an Iranian regime plot that the West fell for and cooperated in the hope of engagement. Thanks for brave people like Robin Corbett the courts of Justice here destroyed the myth in the UK and in Europe. And when you see those pictures at the beginning of this meeting of Robin coming out of the special appeals courts, and when you saw him coming out of the European courts and you knew that truth had emerged as victorious. You knew then and you know now that you are right and they are wrong. It has to be acknowledged.
I think we all understand today and appreciate one simple fact that the policy of engagement with Iran has not succeeded. This has to be acknowledged. The world has got to understand. It doesn’t resemble anything to the fact that you can talk to these people that are brutal, arrogant and that they are despotic in everything they do. And I have got a message for both my new friend David, General David and Wes that we met before. We had to fight into the courts of this country. And I think it’s about time that the American people started thinking about Hillary Clinton. On our television last night, Hillary Clinton is talking about the Syrian people and it is not good enough. Syria would not do what it is doing today if that hadn’t acquiesce to the mullahs in Iran.
Can anybody rightly say that things are any better today than were a few years ago after all this talk of appeasement, absolute nonsense? The Answer is no it has got much worse.
Those who believed that the PMOI designation would bring about a more moderate Iran have been proven wrong. Wrong on nuclear programs, wrong on meddling in the affairs of other countries, wrong in the suppression of the rights of the people of Iran, and it is time for that designation to be ended once and for all in the free world. It is illegal; it is immoral and worst of all it is providing justification for slaughter of innocent people. It has to end not tomorrow, not next week but now. Governments have got to wake up that they don’t place up into what is happening in Tehran and by its puppet in Iraq, the world is heading for a greater disaster than we have seen for a long long time.
We know that Nouri al-Maliki is using this unjust and illegal excuse, and I say illegal because 22 courts all over the world have said so and our own Chief Justice called it “perverse” to label these people terrorists. So let’s see how the situation is Iraq. In a recent letter to Iranian officials – you know recently Iranian Resistance attained a document from inside the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) which says that following the transfer of the first group of Ashraf residents to Camp Liberty and this is the last time I call it camp Liberty Camp Concentration Liberty because that’s what it is. The Iraqi Prime Minister has reassured the Quds Force and regime's ambassador in Baghdad that members of the PMOI would be crippled in Liberty and would become politically dead - in this document it is also revealed that “we(that is Iraqi government) have told the UN and the international community that the Iraqi government does not recognize members of PMOI as political or humanitarian refugees”, but why? I’d say the US government by refusing to obey the court order and de-list the PMOI has given the Iraqis this excuse. Based on this unjustified excuse we also know that at least 47 people were killed, 12 more died because of the medical siege and more than a thousand injured. So the American government must realise, and of course ours, we want Hague to get out and talk about Syria, just bring him back to earth down here and tell us that we can be doing to assist the people of Ashraf. So the main governments have got the responsibility to recognise the truth. And we got to expose that by dragging their feet as they are and not ending the proscription they are causing death and destruction. It’s past the time when the United States and other nations act rather than prolong the sufferings.
The document I referred to paints the intentions of the Iraqi regime very transparently: "We (the Government of Iraq) shall impose our own conditions and we want PMOI members to give in to these conditions at the end… on many occasions, UN justifies Iraq's conditions and calls on PMOI members to acquiesce, since Camp concentration Liberty is just a transition station where residence there would be short-term."
According to this document the Government of Iraq complains that, “not all members in United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) are not in full accord with the GOI” and says, “nevertheless, SRSG Kobler in particular supports GOI’s demands. We believe he does not want to have any dispute with the GOI and is not willing to strain his relations with Iraq for the sake of the PMOI”. It is deeply regretful that some parties in UNAMI are cooperating with this repressive and illegal plan of relocating Ashraf residents to a concentration camp under such harsh conditions.
Now Mr Kobler has promised that their stay in Liberty will be short. While I emphasise that I disagree with relocating the residents of Ashraf to Liberty in any case and I call on UNHCR to start the interviews immediately in Ashraf, I turn to our government and ask Foreign Secretary Hague to take the lead in Europe and welcome these courageous people to England. We should announce our preparedness for taking in a good share of these brave people and I call on my government from the conference today to do so and I expect from everyone of you in this meeting to take up this issue with your MP’s and press the government to act quickly since time is running short.
And my message to you today at this gathering and to the courageous residents of Ashraf; we will not rest until all your rights are respected and you are in a free land, free from oppression and free from the government of Iraq. You see it is being a major player now.
In conclusion I like to say something to Madam Rajavi and to the residents of Ashraf. It is something that you already know. You know because you are living it. I simply want to stress that you have something that is more important than anything else and that is that you represent a strong moral and a just cause. The forces of history and of human development are on your side. Those forces favour democracy. They favour freedom. The forces of history and human development are on the side of those who advocate freedom and democracy as dear Robin tirelessly did. I pledge to do whatever I can to help.
You have a tremendous group of allies here in the United Kingdom and all over this planet, in the US, Europe and in the Middle East and in Iraq as well, and now it is up to all of us to turn from talk to action and that is what we needed to be done and with God’s will, inshallah, we will be successful. Thank you.
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