With impeccable timing, Sir Lindsay has just emailed MPs to warn of the real threat posed by Iran to England. While the Lions are currently hammering Iran in Qatar, the Supreme Leader’s intelligence services have been booked by the Commons speaker, who warns parliamentarians that they should remain vigilant as Iran sanctions a number of their ranks. He also warns MPs to shore up mobile phone and email security:
You will be aware from the recent speech by the head of MI5, and press reporting over the weekend, that the Iranian state is becoming increasingly aggressive to those it sees as its enemies – including in the UK. This includes ambitions to pressure or even kidnap or kill British or UK-based individuals perceived as enemies of the regime, notably a number of journalists reporting on Iranian issues living in the UK. You may also be aware that the Iranian state has imposed sanctions on a number of people and organisations, including UK-based Persian language media, British intelligence and military figures. The police are speaking to some of those individuals, as well as others who have expressed criticism of the Iranian regime.
Iran has also sanctioned a number of Parliamentarians and the Security Department is in touch with them individually. We should stress that the police and intelligence agencies are not seeing any hostile Iranian activity specifically focused on Parliamentarians. However, this is a good opportunity to remind you all to remain vigilant to this and any other threat. Please report any concerns about your safety or suspicious approaches (online or in person) to your local Bridger SPOC and the Met’s Parliament Liaison and Investigations Team”
‘Remain vigilant against Iran’. If only this ref would heed that advice…
Liz Truss has spent the afternoon on her feet doing a deserved victory lap in the Commons following the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori. According to the Foreign Secretary she has been assured by the Iranian regime that the £393.8 million paid in parallel / sequential for her release “will only be available for humanitarian purposes”
"We have found a way to make the payment in full, in compliance with UK and international sanctions"— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) March 16, 2022
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss says £393.8m of debt to Iran has been paid "which will only be available for humanitarian purposes"https://t.co/MgqHKmju5m pic.twitter.com/mQQknoyCt9
Guido swears he’s heard that line before…
Two days ago, in a widely-missed clip, Jeremy Corbyn gave an interview in which he accused the government’s Borders Bill of being “brutal” and “unnecessary”. These accusations are no different to those levelled by his fellow left-wing MPs, however Corbyn managed to uniquely undermine his intervention – by making the comments to Iranian state-owned broadcaster Press TV…
It takes a special type of leftist to not spot the irony in telling an Iranian state news channel that your country’s government is being brutal. As one Tory source puts it:
“The Hon Member for Tehran’s view that France is so oppressive and poverty stricken that we must take in anyone fleeing Macron’s reign of terror is obviously absurd, but you couldn’t fit a cigarette paper between his views on this and Starmer’s.
They both want to take in unlimited numbers of asylum seekers, skip them to the front of the queue for work permits ahead of those trying to come here legally and then put them up in houses so they don’t have to suffer the ignominy of staying in four star hotels.
You’d think the ayatollahs would disapprove of him encouraging Iranians to flee to Britain”
In 2018 an irate Corbyn refused to say whether he regretted doing paid work by Press TV – looks like we now have our answer…
The UN’s Economic and Social Council has elected Iran to a 4-year term leading the Commission on the Status of Women (CSR), a group which describes itself as “the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women”, and claims it is “instrumental in promoting women’s rights”. An inspired choice then, given Iran jails its own citizens for speaking out on the subject, and domestic violence is yet to be criminalised.
Perhaps the most baffling thing about this is that, as human rights group UN Watch points out, at least four of the fifteen Western democracies on the Council would have voted for Iran. That’s a list that includes Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Latvia, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, the UK, and the US. Naturally, the ballots are kept secret…
The UN’s own Secretary-General even released a report last year investigating Iran’s record on human rights, writing:
“The overall situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran remains of serious concern, owing to persistent and gross human rights violations […]The application of the death penalty, including for child offenders, remains high […] OHCHR also received reports of torture and large-scale arbitrary detention, as well as persistent discrimination against women, girls and minorities.”
For a long time there has been talk of forming an alternative Union of Free Democracies from all corners of the world as a forum. The sooner the better…
The three European signatories to the Iranian nuclear deal have been more dovish towards Iran than the Americans. Iranian plans to openly expand its nuclear programme and restrict access of IAEA monitoring has finally pushed them to issue a joint statement this morning:
We, the governments of France, Germany and the United Kingdom have worked tirelessly to preserve the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA). It is a key achievement of multilateral diplomacy and the global non-proliferation architecture. We negotiated the JCPoA with the conviction that it would decisively contribute to building confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme, as well as to international peace and security. It remains the best, and currently the only, way to monitor and constrain Iran’s nuclear programme.
Iran’s recent announcement to the IAEA that it intends to install an additional three cascades of advanced centrifuges at the Fuel Enrichment Plant in Natanz is contrary to the JCPoA and deeply worrying.
Furthermore, we have taken note, with great concern, of the recent law passed by the Iranian Parliament, which – if implemented – would substantially expand Iran’s nuclear programme and limit IAEA monitoring access. The measures would be incompatible with the JCPoA and Iran’s wider nuclear commitments.
If Iran is serious about preserving a space for diplomacy, it must not implement these steps. Such a move would jeopardise our shared efforts to preserve the JCPoA and risks compromising the important opportunity for a return to diplomacy with the incoming US Administration. A return to the JCPoA would also be beneficial for Iran.
We will address Iran’s non-compliance within the framework of the JCPoA. We welcome the statements by President-elect Biden on the JCPoA and a diplomatic path to address wider concerns with Iran. This is in all our interests.
Trump has consistently said that Iran is in breach of the terms of the deal. Macron, Merkel and Johnson will be worried about rumours circulating in Washington that Trump might send the Iranians a parting gift via the United States Airforce…
Remarkable scenes in the Foreign Office Select Committee hearing yesterday afternoon when recently-sacked Labour MP Claudia Webbe suggested the UK is no worse than Iran. Asking the Foreign Secretary what he means by “Iran’s destabilising activities”, Raab pointed out the obvious:
“Supporting militia and terrorist groups around the world to either attack their host countries or Western interests, including the United Kingdom’s.”
To which Claudia jaw-droppingly responded,
“In that sense, I mean, would it be argued that the UK in a sense equally has difficulties? It’s bit like… I think there’s a quaint English term called calling the kettle black. I mean, would it not be argued that we’re a bit duplicitous in that?”
Raab suggested Corbynista Claudia should take a “real long, hard look in the mirror if you’re thinking that the United Kingdom is in any way replicating, mirroring or somehow engaged in the kind of behaviour that Iran is in terms of its support for terrorism”. Watch the incredible exchange in full above…