By Staff Writer, Iran Probe
Sunday, 14 February 2016
More than 200 cross-Party MPs and Peers called on the UK government to adopt a firm policy towards Iran and make any improvement in bilateral relations conditioned on an end to human rights abuses and regional meddling.
The announcement was unveiled at a meeting on Friday attended by a delegation of eight MPs and one member of the House of Lords with Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, in France.
Prior to the meeting, the Scottish daily, the National, reported on February 12, that an Scottish National Party MPs will raise concerns about human rights issues in Iran, as the country prepares for an election later this month that has attracted worldwide interest.
Tommy Sheppard and Martyn Day will join a cross party parliamentary delegation to Paris, where they will meet senior members of the Iranian opposition in exile, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). A crackdown on dissidents in Iran ahead of the poll is likely to be high on the agenda, along with the effects of lifting sanctions and human rights issues.
Day told The National: “This is the secular, democratic coalition of resistance that’s virtually in exile from Iran, so what they want to do is publicize the human rights situation, and I have a lot of sympathy with that.
“Amnesty International had a report out recently which highlighted the plight of 160 juveniles on death row. Any execution is wrong, but that of juveniles is particularly galling, so that’s the angle I find most abhorrent about the current regime’s human rights position.
“I think the UK Government should be putting more pressure on the Iranian government. They’ve already taken the line that they’re against the death penalty, which I agree with, but they should be arguing that a bit more vocally.”
Day added that the lifting of sanctions against Iran may not have been the West’s best move.
“I’m not sure if I would have lifted the sanctions,” he said. “It’s a difficult balancing act – relaxing the sanctions and having a dialogue, or taking the hard line on human rights.
“I would have taken the latter approach, but if we are talking we have to make sure there is a proper dialogue and that there is progress.
“I’m going over there to show my support for the NCRI and I’d like to see the UK Government putting more pressure on Iranian regime over their human rights position.”