NCRI FAC Interview with British MP Bob Blackman on Iran’s Uprising

Written by
Shamsi Saadati

British MP Bob Blackman 1
On January 24, 2023, the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s Foreign Affairs Committee conducted an interview with Bob Blackman, a Conservative member of the British House of Commons and a prominent member of the British Committee for Iran Freedom, about the uprising of the Iranian people. Below is the text of this interview.
Q: what was the purpose of the January 12 Parliamentary debate in the House of Commons?

Thank you for the opportunity of speaking to you and your viewers and my best regards, of course, to the brave people of Iran who are resisting the violence being heaped upon them by the regime of the Mullahs. We held the debate on 12th January, which was a timely debate, because obviously at the time when we asked for the debate, this was the start of the pressure in Iran. I’d asked two urgent questions, and there’d been a further question on the floor of the house in the run-up to the Christmas recess in relation to the violence, particularly against women on the streets of Iran and the fact of the oppression that was still being heaped on the people of Iran and them having the opportunity to protest. So the first issue for us was the position of the demonstrators, who of course, the details we understand that more than 70,000 people have been arrested, more than 700 people have been killed on the streets, and a large number were facing the death penalty for the crime of protesting against the regime. Now, this is an outrage. Iran as a country has the second highest rate of executions anywhere in the world and it has the highest number of executions of women anywhere in the world.

Now, whatever people’s views on the death penalty, the fact is that people are suffering the death penalty for the crime of protesting, and that cannot be a crime in any sense of the word. So from that perspective, it is quite clear that the regime is using the death penalty as a means of enforcing its rule of law over the people of Iran and trying to shore up the desperate attempt by the mullahs to keep control of their country. So that was obviously our second element. The third element in particular in relation to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps is that they are the arm of the state. They are the people that are enforcing these crimes, these war crimes, crimes against humanity, against the people of Iran. And not only are they doing so within Iran, but of course, they are promoting terrorism around the world and across the west. So, for example, they finance and run Hezbollah, which has been doing so much destabilization in Lebanon. They finance and run Hamas, which caused so much damage to the state of Israel. The reality is, of course, they have financed the Houthis in Yemen.

So from their perspective, they are literally running these proxy wars across the Middle East and aiming to destabilize the Middle East and the governments. And the final straw for us, of course, was that back in 2018, when the NCRI was having its annual conference, many of us, including myself and others, traveled to Paris for that conference with Maryam Rajavi and many others from the NCRI. People from across the world came to that conference. And, of course, there was a terrorist plot to try and bomb that particular conference. We do know that now, of course, that it was an Iranian diplomat who smuggled the bomb in a diplomatic bag into Belgium and he was only caught passing that bomb over to the two terrorists, who would then take the bomb across the border and plant it in Paris. Thanks to the Belgian authorities, he is now in prison. Quite rightly. And it demonstrates that you cannot trust the diplomats from Iran, you cannot trust the IRGC. They are a force for evil and therefore should be prescribed and very importantly, all of their assets seized and used for the benefit of the people of Iran.

Interview with MP Bob Blackman- Jan 24, 2023

Q: How do you see the future of Iran?

I think the future of Iran is, of course, one where we are reaching a tipping point. I don’t believe that we’re at the tipping point of a revolution at this moment, is my personal view. But I have to say I salute the brave people who are demonstrating against the regime, in particular the women who are protesting against the imposition of very harsh measures against them and the rest of the people of Iran. The two choices before the regime that runs Iran at the moment are either to continue with this violent suppression, which will heap odium on them and eventually lead to their downfall, or alternatively, look to have proper democratic elections, restore democracy, restore human rights for the people of Iran. I suspect that they’re not going to do that and therefore the protest will continue, the pressure will continue, and at every opportunity that we have, we are going to call out the regime for the damage they’re doing to the good people of Iran. And I just think that there is a potential now for a change of regime. It’s probably the strongest it’s been for more than 30 years and an opportunity now to actually see proper democratic change and for the despotic rulers to leave the country.

I think what we also need to do across our United Nations allies is sanction the supreme leader and the President and Prime Minister and all of the major officials. Not just sanctioning a few people, but sanctioning their serious people that have committed crimes against humanity and they should face justice by appearing before the human rights courts.

Do you think this was a spontaneous uprising? And what is the reason for the continuation of the uprising?

Well, this is a popular uprising and it’s not confined to one part of Iran. It’s all over Iran and it’s spontaneous because of the murder of a young girl in captivity by the so-called morality police, which is just an arm of the IRGC. And what this has done has sparked, in particular, young women to protest and lead the protests on the streets. This is a different sort of scenario to the ones we’ve previously seen, which you could put down. All I said was that’s the opposition, they would do this, wouldn’t they? This is a spontaneous uprising by the people of Iran saying enough is enough. We do not want this to continue. Now, I’m absolutely sure that the NCRI and PMOI, as the natural opposition to the regime and the most organized people, will assist and help with making sure that the protests are organized and continue. But you can’t dismiss this as saying it’s just the NCRI, they would naturally do this. What we’re looking at here is the spontaneous uprising, as I say, of the Iranian people and the demand for change. And we should recognize that demand for change and indeed endorse it.

The regime claims that it has no viable alternative and that the MEK has no popular support in Iran. How do you see that?

The claim by the regime is nonsense. The reality is that people are literally putting their lives on the line in these protests on the streets. And of course, as we know, several hundred have been killed. And I salute those brave people who literally are demonstrating their right to protest. The reality is this if the regime is so confident, so confident that the PMOI and the NCRI have no legitimate base and base of support, let’s have free and fair open elections in Iran with the people having the right to choose who they wish. One of the great things about Madam Rajavi’s ten-point plan for democracy in Iran is that there would be free and fair elections. So the people of Iran would get the opportunity to make their choice in an open, legitimate way, not have it foisted upon them by people being vetted to make sure that they are literally conducive to the regime and will bow down and scrape to the regime of the Mullahs. That’s not a way to run any sort of country. It’s certainly not a way to run a democracy. In a democracy, people have the right to choose their representatives, the right to choose their government, and the right to ensure that their human rights are protected.

So the challenge for the regime is, are you prepared to take this on? Or if you’re not, then frankly, get out of the way and allow regime change to take place and then make sure, as we’ve said, we have free and fair democratic elections where the voice of the Iranian people can be heard properly.

Why do you support the MEK and the National Council of Resistance of Iran?

I supported the NCRI and PMOI, as you say, for a very long time indeed. The reality is that I’ve looked long and hard and I can’t see a viable alternative to the current regime other than the NCI PMI. Now, I’m sure everyone would understand that not every single person is going to support the NCRI or PMOI. That’s what happens in a democracy. People don’t necessarily support one group or another. And so, therefore, what we have to look at is what is the potential for regime change. And my view is, and it’s been for a long time, that Madam Rajavi has got the opportunity, with her ten-point plan, the support of the PMOI, the support of the NCRI, and I think a broad range of people within Iran to actively take over as an alternative straight away. Now, that doesn’t mean to say that the people of Iran would elect her in an election. That’s a matter for them. All I would seek to do is to ensure that proper opportunities arise so that actually can be tested at the ballot box and the people of Iran can make a choice. So, for me, it’s about looking around and saying, well, who is there that could actually take this task on?

And I think the NCRI and the PMOI are the one organized group that could actually legitimately take on the leadership of Iran at these terrible times and then, as I say, put their powers to the test and make sure that people get a proper democratic vote.

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