December 16, 2017

Iran Watch – February 20, 2008

[spoiler title=”UK faces shame in EU Iran opposition ban”]

By: Christopher Booker
Source: The Sunday Telegraph
Feb. 17, 2008
Tomorrow morning, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, will preside over what must be the most bizarre and politically fraught case ever brought before him. Sitting with two other judges as the Court of Appeal, he will hear an application from Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, for leave to appeal against an order by the High Court that she and the Government must stop breaking the law – solely to appease the murderous regime in Iran which, apart from all its other crimes, is arming terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The political ramifications of this case are immense. Already it is causing considerable embarrassment to our Government, which not only misled its EU allies into an action found illegal by the EU’s own courts, but has now been boxed in still further by criticism from the Council of Europe, in a near-unanimous vote of disapproval supported by the leader of the UK delegation, John Prescott.

This extraordinary story began in 2001 when the then home secretary, Jack Straw, on Foreign Office advice, obeyed Iran’s request to outlaw the People’s Mujahideen of Iran (PMOI) as a terrorist organisation. The Teheran regime regards the PMOI as its main enemy, since it forms a large part of the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI), a movement with huge popular support which wishes to see Iran liberated from the theocratic dictatorship of the mullahs and transformed into a modern, secular, democratic country. Since 1979, the regime’s death squads have murdered 120,000 NCRI supporters.

In 2002, at Britain’s insistence, the EU also outlawed the PMOI as terrorists. But in 2006 the EU’s second highest court ruled that this decision was “unlawful”. Astonishingly, and again at Britain’s insistence, the EU’s Council of Ministers voted twice last year to defy its own court. Last summer, 35 MPs and peers, with several former ministers, a former law lord and a home secretary among them, having asked in vain for the Government to lift its ban, applied to the Proscribed Organisations Appeal Committee, a branch of the High Court, to rule it illegal.

In November, after hearing 10 days of evidence, some in secret, the High Court delivered an unequivocal judgment. Neither the Home Office nor the Foreign Office had produced any evidence that the PMOI were terrorists. The Government’s refusal to lift the ban had been “flawed” and “perverse”. The Home Secretary must immediately lay an order before Parliament removing the PMOI from its list of terrorist organisations. When Smith asked for leave to appeal, this was rejected by the court, which ruled that she “had no reasonable prospects of succeeding”.

The Government has one last hope: to convince the Court of Appeal to give it the right to appeal. That the Lord Chief Justice himself is to preside over tomorrow’s hearing indicates how important the judiciary recognises this case to be. If the Government loses, it will have nowhere to turn, greatly embarrassing it in front of its EU partners, who only agreed to proscribe the PMOI on evidence supplied by British officials.

Indeed, those embarrassments have already begun. In January a Council of Europe report which is highly critical of our Government’s conduct was approved by more than 100 delegates, including Mr Prescott. One of only three votes against came from Denis McShane, a former Foreign Office minister. On January 31 the European Parliament also formally noted that the High Court had ordered the UK Government to lift its ban.

Meanwhile, the Teheran regime has stepped up its reign of terror in recent weeks, with more public hangings, torture, amputations and gouging out of eyes, of the kind personally supervised by President Ahmedinejad when he was an official in Teheran’s notorious Evin prison. Yet this is the regime which our own Government does all it can to appease: the same regime whose Revolutionary Guards are supporting the terrorists who are killing British troops, and which is still working to enrich the uranium it needs to build nuclear weapons.

If there is one hope for peace in that region, it centres on those Iranians who alone could restore their country to sanity; the very people whom, incomprehensibly, our Government still seems determined to suppress. [/spoiler] [spoiler title=”National Council of Resistance of Iran to Disclose Iran Regime’s Secret Nuke Program and Command Center”]

NCPDA- Today, Wednesday February 20, 2008, an Iranian opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), will hold a press conference in Brussels to disclose new information about a major and active nuclear project of the clerical regime in Tehran.

The NCRI is responsible for first revealing Iran’s nuclear projects in Natanz and Arak in 2002. The NCRI plans on revealing details on the Iranian regime’s covert projects currently underway, as well as locations of these programs and their command headquarters. Names of officials and experts involved will also be discussed. [/spoiler] [spoiler title=”IRGC Commander on Hezbollah and Israel”] “In the near future, we will witness the destruction of the cancerous existence of Israel by the powerful and competent hands of the Hezbollah combatants”. [/spoiler] [spoiler title=”Policy Conference in U.S. Congress Deplores Tehran’s Meddling in Iraq, Calls for Protection of Ashraf City”] WASHINGTON, Feb. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The following statement was issued today by the Society of Iranian-American Scholars & Professionals (San Diego), Colorado’s Iranian American Community, and the Iranian-American Society of Texas:

Iran’s rising meddling in Iraq and the humanitarian and political status of Iran’s largest opposition — the People’s Mojahedin Organization (PMOI/MEK) — in Ashraf City, Iraq, was the topic of a policy conference in the U.S. Congress on February 13, 2008.

The bi-partisan Iran Human Rights and Democracy Caucus hosted the conference in which more than 200 Iranian-American delegates from across the United States, congressional staffers, former government officials, policy and military experts, and the representatives of foreign embassies attended. The conference was chaired by Mr. Ronald G. Precup, a partner in the law firm of Carpenter & Precup.

On February 8, 2008, the agents of the Qods Force, the terrorist arm of Iran’s regime bombed and completely destroyed a plant in Iraq’s Diyala Province which supplied water to Ashraf City and 20,000 Iraqis living nearby. The members of PMOI in Ashraf City are “Protected Persons” under the Fourth Geneva Convention and under protection of the Multinational Force — Iraq.

Congressmen Bob Filner (D-CA), Chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs; Tom Tancredo (R-CO) and Ted Poe (R-TX), members of the Foreign Affairs Committee, attended the conference. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), a member of the Homeland Security Committee sent a special message to the conference.

Rep. Tancredo called for immediate attention to “the current problems” at Ashraf City and said “I believe it would be better for the U.S to be very clear in its intentions and I believe those intentions should be to protect the people at Camp Ashraf and to support the Iranian opposition. Iranian opposition today represents the best hope for democratic change in the country… The Iranian opposition has been a long friend of the U.S for a long time. The MEK is responsible for informing about Iran’s nuclear activities and providing information about Iranian Qods force. US policy I believe should be changed to reflect this reality.”

Congressman Poe remarked that “America’s quarrel… is not with the people of Iran, but it’s with the government of Iran and there is big difference… And I for one hope we do everything as a country, as a Congress, to support the efforts of the Iranian people in that struggle against tyranny, against the government that is oppressive to the people…”

Dr. Allan Gerson, chairman of Gerson International Law Group, said that “despite the fact of the MEK’s actions at Camp Ashraf in renouncing terrorism and fully cooperating with U.S. authorities, and despite the MEK leadership’s total renunciation of terrorism, the MEK remains on the U.S. terrorism list. This is inexplicable…” He added that the humanitarian provisions of the Geneva Convention “demand that the restored sovereign, here the government of Iraq, and the military power seeking to assure stability in the war torn area — the U.S. military command — continue to have a duty to do whatever they can to assure the well-being of protected persons.”

The address by Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, was read by Ms. Soona Samsami. In her address, Mrs. Rajavi stated that: “The Iranian Resistance is the counter weight to the mullahs and their export of fundamentalism to Iraq and to the region… The PMOI has played a vital role in pursuing different nationalist Iraqi forces as well as Sheikhs and tribes to participate in the political process. This explains why the Iranian regime views the PMOI as the most important barrier against expanding its complete influence in Iraq and hatches every possible conspiracy to destroy Ashraf.”

In its message to conference, the Coordination Committee of Iraqi National Forces, which includes major non-sectarian Iraqi groups, emphasized that “There are many reasons for the existing level of political awareness amongst Iraqi political forces and on the grass root level. But one major factor that will never be forgotten by Iraqis is the role played by the Iranian Resistance and namely the PMOI and Ashraf. A role that has exposed them to a great deal of pressure and conspiracies by the Iranian regime.”

View Source Here [/spoiler] [spoiler title=”Hear the Cry of the People of Iran for Freedom”] Baroness May Blood – Member of UK House of Lords – 2/19/2008

On January 31, the European Parliament (EP) adopted a resolution expressing its “deep concern over the deterioration of the human rights situation in Iran.” The EP strongly condemned the death sentences and executions in Iran, in particular those imposed and/or carried out on minors.

The resolution came not a moment too soon. The EP in particular protested vehemently the execution of Zamal Bawi, who was executed just hours before the vote. Twenty-four hours earlier, five men were summarily hanged by Iranian authorities in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison. Fearful of a population increasingly discontent over the tremulous state of the economy and lack of basic rights, in January alone the regime executed at least 31 people, including a mother-of-two.

Currently state security forces roam the streets of Iranian cities in an effort to fend off the slightest potential for anti-government protests. Women have suffered the most during the ongoing crackdown which the regime has billed as the “plan to root out corruption in society”. Those caught not wearing the mandatory veil or using make-up are often taken to police stations and can receive fines and even lashes and prison terms. In October, a state-run daily reported 122,000 people, mostly women, had received warnings about their attire and some 7,000 such people had been ordered to attend classes on respecting the Islamic Republic’s dress regulations.

Actually, the regime has reason to be anxious of even small signs of public dissatisfaction. Iranian youths, and women in particular, have become ever-more vocal in their condemnation of the regime’s misogynistic policies. Last year, more than 5,000 anti-government protests took place across the country by all sectors of society. Remarkably, Iranian women have been playing the lead role in publicly defying the ayatollahs. In fact, for the past 15 years the Iranian Resistance has been led by a charismatic woman, Maryam Rajavi.

Mrs. Rajavi, who has been nominated by the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) as interim president for the transitional period following the demise of the current regime, was recently a guest of honour at both the European Parliament and the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe, where she outlined her vision of a future free and democratic Iran which would live in peace with its neighbours and offer its citizens equal opportunities and freedom of thought and speech. The NCRI’s political platform prohibits use of the death penalty and thankfully for us in the West rules out the need for nuclear development.

At the centre of Rajavi’s coalition is the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran which has lost more than 120,000 of its members to the regime’s gallows.

Yet, rather than supporting the brave men and women of Iran to bring about democratic change in Iran, the West has disgracefully sided with their oppressors. In an unfortunate act of appeasement, the UK government and the European Union blacklisted the PMOI in the first half of the decade.

This act is a direct challenge to the people of Iran and has angered European Parliamentarians. In the resolution it adopted last week on rights violations in Iran, the European Parliament also pointed out that two separate courts in the UK and EU had ruled that the PMOI was not terrorist. The resolution recalled the “decision of the European Court of First Instance of 12 December 2006″ that annulled the inclusion of the PMOI in the EU terror list. It also took note of the “decision of the British Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission of 30 November 2007, calling on the British Home Secretary to remove the PMOI from the list of proscribed organisations immediately.”

Similarly, on 23 January, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe also called on the UK government and EU Council of Ministers to implement the court orders.

Given that both Europe’s judicial and the legislative branches have declared unequivocally that the terror label on the PMOI is unlawful, the government’s determination to maintain the proscription is a mockery of the rule of law and disregard for public opinion. As such it also counters efforts to combat terrorism, in the hope of appeasing the religious fascism ruling Iran.

Finally, the UK should abandon its fruitless efforts to placate the mullahs and as a first step end its injustice towards the Iranian opposition. This would send a message to the brave people of Iran that the free world is on their side.

Baroness May Blood is a Labour member of the British House of Lords. Since 1994, she has been an Information Officer of Greater Shankill Partnership Co. Ltd. and is a founding member of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition. In 1998, she was awarded an honorary DUniv from the University of Ulster and was awarded a life peerage as Baroness Blood, of Blackwatertown in the County of Armagh in 1999. She also received an honorary DUniv from the Queen’s University of Belfast in 2000 and the Open University in 2001.

View Source Here [/spoiler] [spoiler title=”U.S. military contradicts State on Iran: Hundreds of weapons caches found in Iraq”]

Monday, February 18, 2008 Free Headline Alerts

BAGHDAD — Iranian-backed militias are apparently preparing for major strikes against the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, military officials said.

“In just the past week, Iraqi and coalition forces captured 212 weapons caches across Iraq, two of those inside Baghdad, [which have] growing links to Iranian-backed Special Groups,” U.S. military spokesman Rear Adm. Gregory Smith said.

Officials said that despite assertions by the State Department, Iran has maintained or increased support to the Special Groups. The organization was deemed a splinter of the Iranian-financed Mahdi Army, led by Shi’ite cleric Moqtada Sadr, Middle East Newsline reported.

“What we’re seeing is an increase in the use of weapons by Iranian-backed Special Groups,” Smith told a briefing on Sunday.

Smith said the number of weapons caches — which included rockets and improvised explosive devices — discovered in January 2008 was the highest in a year. He said the Special Groups, directed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, were hoarding weapons for strikes against the coalition.

“Many of these caches have been in Iraq for some time now,” Smith said. “And through, I guess, the vigilance of both our operations and that of the tips by local citizens, we’re uncovering more and more of these caches. What’s significant is that there are still attacks occurring daily by Iranian-backed Special Groups against coalition and Iraqi security forces.”

Officials said the Mahdi Army has maintained its ceasefire declared in August 2007, a move that has resulted in a significant drop in Shi’ite violence. At the same time, they said, Special Groups — supported, trained and financed by Teheran — have increased their attacks.

“Iraqis go to Iran, receive the training, and return back to Iraq and participate as both training other individuals in the conduct of those same skills, but also organizing to conduct operations,” Smith said. “The Special Groups’ activity has not decreased in recent months. They continue to be probably the most violent of the extremist groups that we’re seeing from Shia sects. But the intent of Iran in supporting the training and financing we believe continues.”

View Source Here [/spoiler]