British lawmakers call for end to U.S. ban on PMOI following court ruling

THE HILL – On Thursday, MPs and Peers, at a meeting of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom, pressed the US State Department to revoke the designation of the main Iranian opposition group People’s Mojahedin (PMOI) as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO) following the D.C. court of appeal ruling in the organisation’s favour last week.

Rt. Hon. Lord Waddington, a former home secretary, said: “The U.S. secretary of state should look at the case with sympathy, and in light of the decision already made in the British courts, come to a swift and just conclusion and free the PMOI from the stigma of terrorism.”

Conservative MP David Amess said: “The inclusion of the PMOI on the FTO list is a major impediment to democratic change in Iran. Restricting the force for change in Iran is a strategic mistake in confronting a regime which sponsors terror abroad and is bent on acquiring nuclear weapons.”

MP Steve McCabe, a former Labour government whip, said it is time the West stops “frustrating the democratic opposition to the Iranian regime.”

“The terrorism designation is being used by Iran to justify the execution of its opponents and by Iraq to crack down on PMOI members living in Camp Ashraf (northeast of Baghdad),” said Lord Corbett of Castle Vale, chairman of the British Parliamentary Committee of Iran Freedom.

Conservative MP Brian Binley said: “Weakened at home, the Iranian regime is now targeting Camp Ashraf in Iraq. The residents of Ashraf have been denied basic necessities such as food, medicine and fuel, while having to deal with the mental torture of threats by members of the Iranian regime. It is undoubtedly clear that this Iranian regime fears the PMOI and the democratic ideals for which it stands.”

“Surely, the time has come for the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq to set up a permanent representation at Camp Ashraf, and for the UN to take over protection of the residents,” Lord Waddington said.

“But time is not on the side of either the Iranian people or the West,” he said, adding: “Mrs. Rajavi was clearly right when she said that the Security Council resolution would still provide the regime with time to complete its nuclear projects, and that the only real solution to all these problems is democratic change in Iran. Let us therefore call on the world community to show their recognition of the right of the Iranian people to resist religious dictatorship and let us send out from this conference a message to all those resisting oppression in Iran that we know that right is on their side.”

Lord Clarke of Hampstead, former chairman of the Labour Party, said: “Transatlantic cooperation is needed to tackle the threats posed by Iran. We would expect the U.S. to follow Europe in removing the PMOI from the blacklist, as the ban has greatly damaged our efforts to confront the regime. Justice has spoken loud and clear, and it is time for the State Department to immediately revoke the PMOI’s terrorist designation.”

Other speakers included Lord Maginnis of Drumglass, Labour MP Russell Brown and Liberal Democrat MP Mark Williams.

Mr. Parviz Khazai, a Former Iranian ambassador to Sweden and Norway and currently the representative of the National Council of Resistance of Iran in Nordic countries, said Iranians have shown that they are fully capable of bringing about regime change, and he added that the U.S. should stop its restrictions on the main Iranian opposition group.

Ms. Dowlat Nowrouzi, deputy chair of the NCRI’s Foreign Affairs Committee and NCRI Representative in the U.K., said: “The mullahs have for three decades enchained the Iranian people. They have diverted the nation’s wealth to terrorist and fundamentalist projects. The West should put aside the counterproductive policy of appeasement, and it should impose comprehensive sanctions on the regime.” She called on the U.S. administration to lift the ban on the PMOI, paving the way for democratic change in Iran.

The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom is supported by a majority of MPs of all parties and 200 members of the House of Lords.

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