To oppose the Iranian regime is not a political calculation anymore, but a simple humanitarian choice, says Bob Blackman MP

I am horrified by the situation currently ongoing in Iran, sparked by the brutal murder of a young girl by authorities whilst in police custody. Her crime was merely wearing her hijab in a manner which the IRGCdeemed ‘too loose’.


Mahsa Amini’s death has sparked a protest movement that remains strong, some 5 months later. It has ignited a voice of public anger and frustration with the Iranian diaspora taking to the streets all over the world to show their angst against the current regime, the IRGC.


In a reaction to such protests, the regime has arrested over 30,000 people, despite nearly all of them being peaceful protesters. Those arrested include men, women, students and children. This suppression of speech against the regime is undemocratic and frankly dangerous.


Those arrested are copiously tortured, beaten by police, refused medication, denied legal representation and have minimal access to food and water. Bail is nearly always refused, and on the few occasions it is offered, it demands huge ransoms of money that families are simply not able to meet. Since the protests began, more than 750 protesters have been killed by the regime, with over 70 of them being children.


On the 15th of November, reliable reports emerged that those in custody would now face potential execution. At the time, there were already in excess of 15,000 arrested. The IRGC announced that this mass murder would “serve as a good lesson in the shortest possible time”. An overwhelming majority of 220 Iranian MP’s have voted in favour of this.


On the 8th of December the first protester was officially executed.Moshen Shekari, at only 23 was executed on grounds of committing“enmity against God”. He faced trial in front of Iran’s revolutionary court and he was held guilty without any due process. An appeal was lodged but subsequently rejected. At the trial, he could not choose his own lawyer and visible harm had been inflicted on him with wounds covering his face. Since Moshen Shekari’s tragic death, his family have reported that the Iranian authorities continue to torture his family. They refuse to release the body and continually provide false information on where the body is. This account is echoed by other families who have had loved ones executed on similar grounds. Only 4 days later on 12 December, another 23 year-old protester Majidreza Rahnavard was brutally hanged in public. Sadly, these executions are not isolated incidents and more and more cases are becoming unearthed.


I would like to offer my sincere admiration to those men and women who continue to take to the streets. The bravery displayed in standing up for their democratic rights and fundamental beliefs is inspiring in the face of such adversity. As the regime becomes more desperate, I hope that this is a display of weakness and that the persistence of Iranian people is slowly crumbling this wicked regime.


The IRGC is not only threatening the Iranian people but also the international communities, including the UK. Journalists reporting on the protests have been repeatedly threatened and found hostile Iranian surveillance teams outside their homes and offices. I commend the British Counterterrorism Police for alerting journalists of potential attacks. One letter from the Police to a British journalist warned that Iranian journalists working from the UK had been lured back to countries near Iran and subsequently abducted by the Iranian government and sentenced to death. It also warned the Iranian government has been seen to “direct physical attacks against dissidents in Europe.” Surely, when the threats extend so significantly into the UK, it is time to proscribe this organisation that inflicts such terror on innocent people.


I was deeply concerned by reports of threats made to organisations in the UK which support the rights of protesters in Iran, including the recent petrol bomb on a NRCI affiliated base in outer London. Thankfully, due to being in the early hours of the morning, no one was inside but this situation could very easily have been far graver.


The mass murders by the IRGC are shocking but perhaps not surprising. In 1988, the current President of Iran, President Raisi, was responsible for the prosecution of 30,000 executions in Iran, 90% of whom were members and supporters of Iran’s main opposition movement PMOI. This indicates he will have no qualms with carrying through his threats and makes clear the intentions for the protesters imprisoned. The 1988 massacre holds many similarities with today’s uprising. It was rooted in a fundamental conflict between the people of Iran, demanding freedom, democracy, and economic and social development after the overthrow of the Shah.


The IRGC has created, funded, and armed a vast Middle Eastern network of terrorist groups, from Hezbollah in Lebanon to the Houthis in Yemen, all spreading war and violence across the region. Iran has supplied Hezbollah alone with some 150,000 missiles, regularly fired atinnocent Israeli civilians.


The IRGC and Hezbollah are at the forefront of Iran’s brutal campaign to keep the Syrian Assad regime in power. Since 2015, when Russia joined the fighting, the two regimes have partnered in despicable war crimes that have killed hundreds of thousands and left millions asrefugees of war. This growing alliance with Russia has been further strengthened with the current war in Ukraine. Since August, Iran has been supplying advanced drones to Russia for this terror war against Ukraine.


Iran is the country responsible for the second most executions each year, only behind China. They are responsible for the greatest tally of female executions in any country. It is high time we worked together to banish this unlawful regime to protect innocent protestors and champion free democratic rights across the world, something that is often so easily taken for granted. To oppose the Iranian regime is not a political calculation anymore, but a simple humanitarian choice.

Bob Blackman MP

Robert John Blackman is a British politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Harrow East since 2010. A member of the Conservative Party, he has served as the Joint Executive Secretary of the backbench 1922 Committee since 2012.