A group photo of opposition figures who addressed the Italian Senate on February 21, 2023

UK Should Close Iran’s Embassy Over Threats, Alinejad Says

Tuesday, 02/21/2023

Opposition figure Masih Alinejad says the UK should have closed the Iranian embassy instead of advising Iran International to relocate to the US over regime’s threats. 

Alinejad made the comment Tuesday as she spoke about the uprising in Iran at the Italian Senate along with Canada-based activist Hamed Esmaeilion. They are also set to attend a gathering against the Islamic Republic in the capital Rome the following day, accompanying several other activists. Activist Hiva Feizi, Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Mark Wallace, and Former Italian Senator Andrea Cangini were among the panel that addressed the Senate on Tuesday. 

Alinejad was referring to the announcement by Iran International TV about shifting studio operations to Washington DC because of threats the UK police said were coming from the Islamic Republic, which have solicited worldwide reactions.

“At its sharpest, this has involved police and MI5 working together to foil 15 plots since the start of 2022 to either kidnap or even kill British or UK-based individuals perceived as enemies of the regime,” said a senior official of UK counter terrorism police. 

Alinejad said after 15 plots, London should have taken more decisive action against the regime instead of advising Iran International to relocate. She also called on European countries not to be afraid of talking about “regime change” in Iran as the Iranians themselves are echoing this demand inside the country and abroad. 

Women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad during a session at the Italian Senate

She added that keeping silent against the atrocities of the Islamic Republic is tantamount to taking sides with the regime, calling on all countries not to view the human rights situation in Iran as a mere internal issue. Standing up for human rights is a global issue, she highlighted. Alinejad alluded to American saying that ‘what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,’ noting that “What happens in Iran, spreads throughout the world.” “The Islamic Republic is the ISIS with oil,” she concluded. 

Esmaeilion, in his turn, thanked the Italian lawmakers who have approved a draft resolution urging Tehran to immediately stop issuing death sentences to anti-government protestors and free all detainees. He also touched upon the shooting down of Flight PS752 by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard in 2020, in which he lost his daughter and wife, saying the circumstances of the tragic incident is still shrouded in mystery and the regime “sadistically harasses the families of the victims” to hide the realities. 

Esmaeilion reminded the Senators that the regime has killed over 500 protesters, including at least 70 children, and arrested about 20,000 as part of its crackdown on the current wave of protests which is driven by women across Iran. He urged that the world, in particular European countries, not to negotiate with the Islamic Republic, which he described as “congenitally unable to be committed to any agreement.” He also referred to the persecution of ethnic and religious minorities in the country and said the Islamic Republic is a menace to Iranians and all the people of the world alike. 

He also mentioned the regime’s support for the Syrian government in cracking down on dissent and military support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Elsewhere, he talked about the regime’s policy of hostage taking to use foreign nationals as bargaining chips. 

Referring to a recent opinion survey involving 158,000 people in Iran that showed more than 80 percent of people reject the regime and prefer a democratic government, he called on the European countries to “suffocate all the means that nourishes” the regime. 

Earlier on Tuesday, Iran's exiled prince Reza Pahlavi also held talks with French senators André Vallini and Jacqueline Eustache-Brinio. They called on Paris to contribute to all initiatives in support of protests to expedite the imminent fall of the dictatorship.

After a historic forum in Washington earlier this month by eight prominent dissident activists, they have been traveling to events around the world to make the voice of the Iranian opposition heard. Such events signal the emergence of a leadership council in the diaspora to campaign for international support in favor of Iran’s protest movement.

On Monday, an estimated crowd of about 20 to 30 thousand people held a rally in Brussels outside the European Council to call on EU countries to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. Thousands of Iranians from all over Europe held a massive rally in Strasbourg in January for the same purpose. 

Also on Monday, the EU sanctioned 32 Islamic Republic officials, including culture and education ministers, deputy IRGC commander, and several MPs. The move can be seen as a measure to justify the fact that the EU is not yet ready to designate the entirety of the IRGC.

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