Baztab: currently, your country suffers from terrorism but we were informed in recent days that the terrorist Mojahedin-e khalq organization (MKO) is conducting activities in Britain. British Foreign Secretary, Mr. Straw, has repeatedly condemned the MKO but the House of Lords has accepted to discuss the issue of Camp Ashraf. What’s your opinion about this kind of contradictory behavior?
Richard Dalton: There’s no contradiction in this regard. They can have no operations in Britain. Iranian and British security officials are cooperating on this so that they prevent the MKO from any kind of terrorist activities. Any meeting on the issue in the House of Lords, if held, has been on the part of independent representatives and according to their personal interests since legislation is open for them to act freely on all issues. Parliament has jurisdiction over how to act on legislation.
Baztab: Documents indicate that Mr. Straw had proposed a plan to the House of Commons in which the MKO was considered a terrorist group. Now, when they’re acting freely, what do you mean by "operation"? When Mr. Soleimanpour was on trial two years ago, we saw them outside the court and even the magistrate didn’t release Soleimanpour on $750,000 bail due to fear for his life. He said that people outside the court may want to kill him and that releasing him endangers his life. Isn’t this kind of act by MKO an "operation"?
Richard Dalton: this is your idea. You call it an "operation" but I disagree with it. National Council of Resistance, which is called by Iran, us and other European countries a terrorist organization, can’t have a system for conduction terrorist operations; so, according to British laws, they can only act as a "pressure group" or "lobbyist".
About Camp Ashraf, I should say that before the fall of Saddam Hussein, MKO was a military group with military equipments; they helped Saddam but after the war, they were disarmed. Now, they’re under surveillance in a Camp, without performing any operations. Many of MKO members have returned to Iran by the assistance of the US, UN and Iran. Of course, our efforts are concentrated on the return of many more MKO members. We treat them in Britain and Iraq in a same way, so that they can not have any military operations. Policy is clear.
Baztab: Mr. Ambassador, is it right for us to support groups like "Al-Qaeda" and others here in Iran since London has become the headquarters for Iranian opposition?
Richard Dalton: As I mentioned earlier, we have restricted the MKO and we have called them terrorist and there’s no terrorist activity against Iran and other countries from British soil.