A debate in the House of Lords on recent comments made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Israel was raised by Labour peer, Lord Corbett, a renowned supporter of the Mujahiden-e Khalq terrorist group, who urged the UK government to treat the outlawed group as a "friend."
But Foreign Office minister Lord Triesman rejected the call, saying that the MKO was proscribed under the country’s Terrorism Act 2000 and that the government had "no plans to carry out such a review."
"Its claims to be a democratic party, fighting for a better Iran, are hard to square with its history of violence and authoritarian acts," he said.
A similar call made by Conservative MP Brian Binley, a self-confessed paid supporter of the MKO’s alias group, the National Council of Resistance, was also rejected by Foreign Secretary Jack Straw in the House of Commons.
Triesman told parliament the MKO has "a long history of involvement in terrorism in Iran and elsewhere and is, by its own admission, responsible for violent attacks that have resulted in many deaths." He admitted that relations with Iran was "difficult" that there was no "quick or easy resolution," but emphasized that "all means" must be deployed to keep lines of communications open.
"When one looks at the range of options before us, it is a matter of building carefully with those who are our friends in Iran, who are part of the future of Iran, and not finding ourselves in an escalating position where the steps that we take generate more conflict, rather than making an attempt to resolve matters by peaceful and diplomatic means," Triesman told his fellow peers
Quotes from Hansard