LFI chair writes to Foreign Secretary demanding action on Iran

Steve McCabe, chair of Labour Friends of Israel, has today written to the foreign secretary, urging the UK government to expel Iran’s Chargé d’Affaires in London and downgrade diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic, proscribe Tehran’s ideological army, and widen sanctions on the regime’s executioners and propagandists.

In his letter to James Cleverly, McCabe condemns Tehran’s “brutal and violent effort to suppress the legitimate protests” which began in September and in which nearly 500 people – including 68 children – have died at the hands of the security forces.

He also condemns the barbaric execution of two protesters – Majidreza Rahnavard and Mohsen Shekariin – in recent days and warns that “many more” protesters are now in danger.

“As usual, the regime is deploying torture and hasty trials to judicially murder those who oppose it and intimidate other protesters,” he suggests.

McCabe welcomes the steps already taken by Britain, the US and European Union against the regime, but urges tougher action.

“It is clear that these measures are having little to no impact on the regime,” he writes. “We must now take urgent action – targeted at all those engaged in the perpetration of violence against the Iranian people – in order to both deter and punish the regime and to show our solidarity with the protesters.”

McCabe outlines five immediate steps the government should take:

  • Recall the UK ambassador to Iran and expel the Iranian Chargé d’Affaires  and Deputy Head of Mission, Seyed Mehdi Hosseini Matin, to Britain. This should be an initial step towards expelling all but essential Iranian diplomatic staff in London.
  • Proscribe the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – which plays a central role in crushing dissent at home, as well as pursuing the regime’s nefarious regional activities – with immediate effect.
  • Widen the list of those sanctioned under the Magnitsky Act sanctions regime action against all those who are directly or indirectly involved in the suppression of the protests and execution of protesters. This should commence with the following categories:
    • All members of the Iranian parliament who called in early November for the country’s judiciary to issue death sentences for those protesters who had been arrested;
    • All members of the judiciary who issue death sentences against protesters or refuse their appeals;
    • All prison governors and members of the security forces involved in the execution of protesters;
    • All senior executives, editors and journalists at media companies whose TV channels broadcast confessions by protesters;
    • All senior executives, editors and journalists who endorse the suppression of the protests and execution of protesters.
  • Draw up a list of regime oligarchs and freeze any financial assets they have in the UK. They and their families should also be refused entry to the UK. 
  • Crackdown on the activities of the network of state “soft power” organisations operating in the Middle East, Europe and the UK.

“Alongside other parliamentarians, I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter urgently with you and hear more about the steps you intend to take to show our steadfast opposition to the regime’s efforts to prevent the Iranian people’s protests for the human rights they have long been denied,” McCabe writes in conclusion.