Struan Stevenson is a Conservative Member of the European Parliament for Scotland. He is President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq and is also Chairman of the Friends of a Free Iran intergroup in the Parliament.
Last week in Brussels, I attended an extraordinary conference on the policy on Iran. Several high-ranking former US officials from administrations past and present, including former US ambassadors to the UN John Bolton and Bill Richardson, national security advisor James Jones, former attorney general Michael Mukasey and senior members of the European Parliament discussed options to counter the threats of Iran. The conference called for a firm stance against the regime, more protection of Iranian dissidents in Camp Ashraf as well as lending support for the opposition.
The week before, we had a debate at the European Parliament on the situation in Iran, where I compared the Iranian regime to Nazi Germany. The mullahs have hanged close to 100 people so far this year. Ten were hanged in a single day two weeks ago after being brutally flogged. Anyone who tries to speak out, such as human rights activist and lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, is targeted.
The mullahs have now taken to arresting, torturing and hanging the parents of refugees in Camp Ashraf, Iraq, home to 3,400 members of the main opposition Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK). Simply visiting your son or daughter is enough to guarantee a death sentence when you return to Iran, as we saw with the horrific judicial murder of Ali Saremi in late December and two other activists on January 25. The mullahs are desperately trying to cling to power by using fear and brutality as their only viable control mechanism over an increasingly traumatised and volatile population.
In a pathetic attempt to appear dismissive, the criminal regime in Tehran describes the principal opposition PMOI as a ‘terrorist grouplet’ as if they are an insignificant nuisance. Yet this so-called ‘grouplet’ features on top of every agenda at every meeting between the mullahs and their neighbours in Iraq, or at every meeting with representatives from the EU and the US.