UK Lawmakers Call for Suspension Of Diplomatic Ties With Iran To Stop ‘State Terror’
Four members of the British Parliament's House of Common and a member of the House of Lords have called on UK and EU Foreign Ministers to "suspend diplomatic relations with Iran and official bilateral Ministerial visits to or from the country until the regime ends its state terrorism."
The four MPs have signed a statement on February 19, calling on the British Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary Dominic Raab to join hands with his EU counterparts to prioritize efforts to end the Islamic Republic of Iran's “state terrorism”.
They also called on EU and UK to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization and "to hold to account Iranian leaders including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for activities that endanger Europe's security and European civilians.”
Reminding the British Foreign Secretary that the Criminal Court of Antwerp in Belgium has sentenced an Iranian diplomat, Assadolah Assadi, to 20 years in prison on charges of terrorism and terrorist murder, as well as sentencing three of his accomplices to 15 to 18 years in jail, the MPs warned that "Iran’s decision to act as a pariah state and to use its diplomats to threaten the security of Europe and the life of its citizens must be met with maximum pressure and not maximum diplomacy by the EU and UK."
The MPs said that Raab should not take part in an online economic forum with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in March. They said such a participation would be "highly irresponsible" while Iran sponsors terror in Europe.
The statement referred to the Belgian court's ruling that said, “The court found that the four defendants are part of a larger terrorist group within a specific Iranian intelligence service. This appears by the sums of money paid to the defendants, the way information was gathered, the meetings in Iran, the use of diplomatic status, and the making and testing of the explosive device in Iran itself.”
The four were involved in a planned bomb attack against the Free Iran gathering organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in Paris in June 2018 where hundreds of council members as well as tens of political figures from various countries including the United States were meeting.
The signatories to the statement, Bob Blackman MP, Rt. Hon David Jones MP, Steve McCabe MP, and Prof. Lord Alton of Liverpool said that based on media reports, "the diplomat, Assadolah Assadi, was in reality an intelligence officer disguised as a diplomat stationed at the Iranian Embassy in Vienna, adding that Assadi also ran a larger Iranian network of agents across Europe and acted on orders from the highest authorities in Iran.
The statement that was followed by a separate statement by the House of Lord member Lord Alton, added that "The decision by the EU to sponsor the Europe-Iran Business Forum between 1 and 3 March 2021 and to invite Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to speak at this online event rewards Iran’s state terrorism instead of holding its chief diplomat to account for the terrorist acts committed by his diplomat."
The signatories demanded the cancellation of the event as "it will only embolden Iran and risks inviting more terrorist acts on European soil in the future."
They added: "The International Committee of Parliamentarians for a Democratic Iran calls on the EU Foreign Ministers to agree at their meeting in Brussels on 22 February 2021 to suspend diplomatic relations with Iran and official bilateral Ministerial visits to or from the country until the regime ends its state terrorism."
They have also called for "more robust and strong measures" such as expelling Iranian diplomats and closing Iranian Embassies if Iran continues to misuse diplomatic missions for terrorism.
Meanwhile, Lord Alton wrote in his statement after reminding of Zarif and Khamenei's responsibility for acts of terror in Europe that "The British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF) regrets the Government’s silence on this serious threat to British citizens and Europe’s overall security," adding that Iran's behavior and conduct is "totally unacceptable and deserves a firm and immediate response in order to discourage any such future attacks."
Lord Alton further advised the Foreign Secretary that "The UK and its diplomats must refrain from participating in such dangerous diplomatic events and reject any attempt by the EU to glance over or excuse the direct involvement of Iranian state in act of terrorism," stressing that "A Global Britain must have the courage to take the lead in Europe to address the serious threats of Iran’s state terrorism. "