Thursday February 9, 2006. In a debate on Iran, several members of the House spoke about the immediate problems concerning Iran, and British policy toward that country. But the main thrust of the debate was to lobby for the de-proscription of the MKO from the UK’s list of terrorist entities.
In reviewing their arguments, those who spoke in favour of the MKO could readily be accused of reading by rote from the MKO’s own propaganda material.
As usual, the MKO’s supporters portrayed it as democratic, defenders of human rights, active inside Iran, non-terrorist and the only opposition group of any note. All of which are easily refutable with evidence already in the public domain.
It appears that the MKO’s supporters in the House of Lords are woefully ignorant as to the true nature of that organisation and in particular its leaders.
However this ignorance is not a unique phenomenon, it is also endemic among the neoconservatives’ of the US Government.
Fortunately some members are not ignorant of the Mojahedin. Lord Phillips of Sudbury was able to bring real knowledge to the debate when he said:
"I should remind those who want to bring back the PMOI, give it support and let it loose that it was harboured, supported and sustained by Saddam Hussein scarcely the most benign of patrons. The idea that we could do that and encourage regime change in a way that will really bring about that for which we devoutly hope a fully democratic Iran in which human rights are fully respected is pie in the sky and a dangerous illusion."
Toward the end of the three hour debate, the MKO’s supporters became desperate for any mention of the MKO. Unwilling to leave Maryam Rajavi empty handed, Lord Taverne interjected:
"My Lords, the time allocated for the noble Lord’s speech is running to an end. I hope that he will not ignore the point made by many speakers about the de-proscription of the PMOI."
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman) replied:
"My Lords, I have not the smallest intention of doing so. I shall turn to that point immediately.
"It is clear that there is a range of concerns, and I hope that that will not turn into uncritical enthusiasm for groups opposed to the Iranian regime, particularly those calling for the repeal of proscription currently in place. The MeK, or the PMOI, now tends to describe itself as a democratic party working for human rights, but there has been a history of involvement in terrorism. I have looked at the balance of the information available. In 2001 there were two armed attacks for which it accepted responsibility. It was accused of a further armed attack in June 2002, about which it has said nothing.
"Let me bring us right up to date. In an interview with the LA Times in February this year, Maryam Rajavi was asked whether the use of violence was a PMOI option now and answered,
"The tactics and methods have been imposed not by us, but by the mullahs".
"Some may say that that is ambiguous rather than direct, but noble Lords have provided interesting information about the new disposition of these groupsâ€”as they have described it. I am willing to look at this group in particular. Fundamentally, of course, the whole of the question would need to be put to the review commission, although there are regular reviews. That is in the hands of the group itself. If it has things to say about a non-violent trajectory, that must be the way in which it carries it forward."
Iran-Interlink, February 9, 2006