Joseph Joubert said: “Imagination is the eye of the soul”. It therefore comes as no surprise that with terrorists lending their imagination to Lord Corbett of Castle Vale, a member of the House of Lords from Gordon Brown’s ruling Labor Party, his soul is blinded. Lord Corbett would have us believe that millions of Iranians are eagerly waiting for the “freedoms offered by Iran’s parliament-in-exile, the National Council of Resistance of Iran.” Perhaps it is the inaccuracy of the number that troubles this writer. , the only terrorists in Iraq, the MEK, were given ‘special persons status’; hardly a noteworthy credential for ‘self-acclaimed parliamentarians in exile’ who wants to offer freedom, unless the sort offered by the Bush-Blair coalition – complete destruction of Iran. One must wonder what has prompted a distinguished British Lord to rise up in the defense of terrorists, and more importantly, to accept the highly visible position of chairman of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom? To believe in a ‘good Samaritan’ state is fool-hardy. Empirical evidence supports the fact that Britain’s foreign policy has been in direct conflict with that of Iran’s national interest. Given that the MEK’s history has been fully explored and recorded by the Human Rights Watch organization and the United States State Department, one has to examine Lord Corbett’s risky undertaking in associating his distinguished title with this group. Ronal Reagan once said: “Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first”. He was remarkably astute in his observation. In 1995, it became painfully clear to Lord Nolan that 30% of all MPs were being paid for consultancies (advice and lobbying) related to their parliamentary role. At the time of this revelation, the majority of Conservative backbenchers were ‘spoken for’ by one commercial lobby or another. An influential lobby group called ‘Decision Makers’ had Dame Angela Rumbold, Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party as one of its directors. She resigned when Mohammed Al-Fayed, father of Princess Diana’s fiancé, Dodi Fayed, made allegations against senior party figures[iii]. Another ‘lobbying company’ was set up by lan Greer who began in politics working for Cabinet Minister Peter Walker. He remained a Conservative agent for thirteen years after which he has enjoyed close links with senior Conservative politicians. In 1969 he began lobbying as a business. Among Ian Greer Associates (IGA) was Prime Minister Bhutto. Could it be that the MEK is using a lobby group to influence the likes of Lord Corbett? This group is not without influence. Indeed, they have many friends in the United States Congress. They are cunning and skillful in the art of deception. They have also had the world believe that the minority religious in Iran are being persecuted setting Iran in the ‘Orientalist’ perspective of the Muslim ‘otherness’ denoting barbarism. This will give the neocons who believe in a combination of force, ideas, and morality the ammunition to attack Iran. However, nothing is further from the truth. The minorities themselves have spoken to this fact: “Christians and Zoroastrians leave because of unemployment, the bad economy, but these problems affect all Iranians,” said Yonathan Betkolia, an Assyrian Christian leader and member of Iran’s parliament who holds the United States responsible for his community’s decline. “They give all those green cards to our people. Their only goal is to propagate the idea that Iran is mistreating its minorities.” Who is providing this group with such logistical support? Heilbrunn, a former neoconservative who is now senior editor at the Nixon Center’s journal, “The National Interest”, asserts that neoconservatism “is in a decisive respect a Jewish phenomenon,” even if many adherents — albeit a minority — are not Jewish. Moreover, neoconservatives, both Jew and gentile, are bound by a “shared commitment to the largest, most important Jewish cause: the survival of Israel.” Let us hope, for the sake of the British people, and others, that the good Lord Corbett of Castle Vale will not be so easily misguided by unsavory groups in the future. Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is an Iranian-American who was educated in Iran, England and France. She is a member of World Association of International Studies – Stanford. Her research focus is US Foreign Policy towards Iran and Iran’s nuclear program, and the role of lobby groups in influencing US foreign policy. She is a peace activist, essayist and public speaker.
Middle East Online, Opinion, March 4, 2008 http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/opinion/?id=24624