Iran protests: West must crack down on despotic mullahs' propagandists – Struan Stevenson

As the nationwide uprising in Iran rages on into its fourth week, there are increasing signs that what began as a protest about the murder of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini by the so-called morality police for ‘mal-veiling’ has developed into a full-scale revolution.

Protests against the Iranian regime, like this one in Tehran on Saturday, have been held across the country in recent weeks (Picture: AFP via Getty Images)
Protests against the Iranian regime, like this one in Tehran on Saturday, have been held across the country in recent weeks (Picture: AFP via Getty Images)

Millions of courageous young people have taken to the streets, day after day and night after night, to demand the overthrow of the theocratic dictatorship, chanting “death to Khamenei”, “death to the dictator”, showing their hatred for Iran’s octogenarian Supreme Leader.

Whole parts of the country are on general strike. Roadblocks are being erected. The predictable reaction of the regime has been an onslaught of violence unleashed against the mainly young demonstrators, with an estimated 400 killed and more than 20,000 arrested.

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Video evidence has shown Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) gunmen shooting live ammunition into crowds of protesters. The wanton killings have inflamed the protesters who have lost their fear and can be seen repeatedly charging armed IRGC agents and their thuggish Basij militia colleagues. Every university and many of the secondary and even primary schools have joined the protests.

While mass demonstrations have taken place in cities around the world in solidarity with the Iranian insurrection and the brutal massacre of innocent men and women, there have been sporadic outbursts of vile invective aimed at the youthful protesters by flunkies of the Iranian regime in Britain and other western nations.

Last week, Seyed Hashem Moosavi, director of the Islamic Centre of England in London, and a trustee of the charity that controls it, said women who removed their hijabs were spreading “poison", adding: “We do not expect any good from the soldiers of Satan, but we are lovers of Allah.”

Moosavi describes himself as a personal representative of Iran’s Supreme Leader. He had previously gained notoriety by praising Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, who was killed at Baghdad Airport in 2020 by a US drone-strike.

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Soleimani, one of the most vicious criminals in Iran’s history, was listed as a terrorist by the US State Department. Moosavi called him a “martyr” and “a dedicated soldier of Islam”, who, he said, “died at the hands of the most wicked members of the human race”.

In 2019, it was revealed that Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Chief Constable Iain Livingstone had agreed to be guest speakers at the Ahlul Bayt Society’s ‘Peace and Unity Conference’ in Glasgow.

In my view, the society is a front for the mullahs’ fundamentalist propaganda and it is said that their headquarters in Glasgow has been used as an annex of the Iranian embassy in London.

The First Minister and Chief Constable had agreed to join Imam Dr Mohammad Ali Shomali as keynote speakers at the conference. At that time, Dr Shomali was the resident imam and director of the Islamic Centre of England. He has notoriously described homosexuality as “unlawful” and likened gay marriage to bestiality, suggesting that “a day will come when some will desire marriage with animals”.

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When Nicola Sturgeon and Iain Livingstone were informed by the media that many people were concerned that they had agreed to share a platform with Dr Shomali, they both quickly announced they had discovered diary clashes that would prevent their attendance.

Nevertheless, the First Minister had attended the same conference alongside Dr Shomali in 2017 and 2018 and the Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society has been given generous grants by the Scottish Government.

At a time when women in the West have achieved political, economic, personal and social equality, Iranian women are amongst the most repressed in the world, ruled by a regime dominated by elderly misogynists who espouse a warped version of Islam.

It’s little wonder that the current nationwide protests are often led by women. Female teachers, medical staff, students, factory workers and pensioners have taken to the streets to demand an end to the theocratic regime and an end to tyranny.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, bequeathed a legacy of repression and corruption that has been steadfastly maintained ever since. For the past 43 years, the mullahs’ revolutionary creed of radicalised Shia Islam in reality boils down to a policy of hatred. A hatred of the West and in particular America, a hatred of Sunnis, a visceral hatred of Saudi Arabia and Israel, and a hatred of all religious minorities.

To achieve their objective of spreading revolution to create a fundamentalist Shia caliphate, the clerical regime has vigorously backed Bashar al-Assad’s bloody civil war in Syria; it has trained, financed and commanded the brutal Shia militias in Iraq; it has sponsored the Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon and the Houthi rebels in Yemen; it has bankrolled and inspired the export of proxy-wars and terror throughout the Middle East and the wider world.

Founded on hatred, this theocratic fascist dictatorship has wrecked the Iranian economy, plundered the people’s wealth, ruined the environment and turned this once great nation into an international pariah.

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Those flunkies who are lickspittle apologists for the mullahs and spread their toxic message worldwide should be expelled. The Islamic Centre of England and its offshoots throughout the UK should be closed and Khamenei’s apologists banished. The Iranian regime’s embassies, which have been used as bomb-factories and terrorist cells in the West, should be closed and their diplomatic staff declared personae non gratae.

As the EU, US and UN focus their attention on the war in Ukraine, they must realise that the fight for freedom in Iran is identical. The Iranian regime is one of the leading supporters of Vladimir Putin in his attack on Ukraine and Iranian drones are being deployed by Russia to attack innocent civilians.

The West must unite behind the Iranian and Ukrainian people and isolate the mullahs’ toxic regime once and for all.

Struan Stevenson, a former Member of the European Parliament for Scotland, is the coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change

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