Among MPs to contribute in the debate were CFI Officer Dr Matthew Offord MP, whole led the debate, Mike Freer MP, Oliver Dowden MP, and Roger Gale MP.
In response to Iran’s soaring execution rate under President Rouhani, Dr Mathew Offord, MP for Hendon voiced his opposition to what he described as “state sanctioned murder”.
Dr Offord quoted the Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa programme who said: “Iran’s staggering execution toll…paints a sinister picture of the machinery of the state carrying out premeditated, judicially-sanctioned killings on a mass scale”.
The MP for Hendon went on to underline how “neither Rouhani nor his Government have ever publicly condemned and distanced themselves from executions and the use of public hanging. On the contrary, Rouhani has explicitly supported the use of the death penalty”.
Speaking about the youth in Iran, Dr Offord added that “the survival of the ruling theocracy puts Iran’s President and leaders in diametric opposition to the interests of millions of Iranians and, in particular, the two thirds of the population who are under 30, trying to overcome repression and dreaming of a free and open society”.
Finally he urged the UN to be informed on Iran’s human rights abuses so that Iranian leaders could be prosecuted by the international community.
The condemnation of Iran’s actions was echoed by Mike Freer, MP for Finchley and Golders Green, who asserted that with regard to the Iranian nuclear deal “our Government acted in good faith, but the Iranian Government did not”.
In agreement, Roger Gale, MP for North Thanet spoke about how “the Western world had been made to look very stupid”.
Oliver Dowden, MP for Hertsmere raised the cases of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Kamal Foroughi to Tobias Ellwood Minister for the Middle East.
Mrs Naghari-Ratcliffe, a charity worker with dual British-Iranian was arrested by Iranian authorities and was imprisoned without charge. Mr Foroughi who is 76 and also holds dual citizenship, has been imprisoned for allegedly “spying”.
In response, Minister for the Middle East, Mr Ellwood, reiterated that with regards to human rights, “Iran continues to be of grave concern” and condemned the record high level of executions. He also expressed regret at the fact that in many areas “things have gone backwards”.
Mr Ellwood said: “Freedom of religion and belief, freedom of expression, women’s rights and the justice system all need improvement. As has been said, the number of executions—almost 1,000 in the past 18 months alone—is at a record high, despite President Rouhani’s pledge in 2013 to improve the rights and freedoms of Iranian citizens. Unfortunately, progress has been slow, and in some areas things have gone backwards, as has been articulated in this debate. The UK has consistently pressed Iran to improve its human rights record”.
He added: “Hon. Members rightly asked what we are doing about the issue. We have designated more than 80 Iranians responsible for human rights violations under EU sanctions and helped establish the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, who was mentioned by several hon. Members. We have lobbied at the UN for the adoption of human rights resolutions on Iran. We regularly raise human rights in our dialogue with the country, with Foreign Minister Zarif and President Rouhani. I assure hon. Members that they will also be a focus of our discussions with Iran when we reconvene at the UN General Assembly”.