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Who would join the Iran lobby? MPs and Lords, it turns out

1 July 2014

2:44 PM

1 July 2014

2:44 PM

Who on earth would argue for a regime which hangs homosexuals, stones rape victims and sponsors terrorism across three continents? Who would act as a spokesperson or advocate of such a dictatorship? Well one answer appears to be ‘certain British Parliamentarians.’ In particular Labour MP Jack Straw, Conservative MP Ben Wallace and former Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Lamont. It appears that Britain has developed an ‘Iran lobby’.

In a fascinating piece in today’s Wall Street Journal on Britain’s Iran lobby Sohrab Ahmari says:

‘Messrs. Straw, Wallace and Lamont have in recent months criticized the obstacles posed by American sanctions to U.K. banks that do business with Iran. “The impact of this unilateral, extraterritorial jurisdiction of the U.S. is especially discriminatory against U.K.-based financial institutions, because of their multinational nature,” Mr. Straw declared in a March Westminster debate.

‘I spoke separately with all three lawmakers on the phone last week. All three see engaging Tehran as good for British business and essential to stabilizing a Middle East tumbling toward chaos. Dissolved in this “realist” tincture is a measure of postcolonial guilt and anger toward Washington hawks who have shown “gratuitous hostility” toward Iran, as Mr. Straw put it to me.

‘All three sounded fairly clear-eyed about the realities of the Iranian regime. Nonetheless, their views on the conflict between the West and the Islamic Republic at times strikingly echoed Iranian talking points.’

Read the whole thing here.

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Show comments
  • Coleridge1

    Trying to find something positive about either the Iranian or Saudi regimes to justify having relations with either is like comparing the virtues of the SS with the SA.
    Both of these are medieval, savage tyrannies that hang Gays, stone women to death or sever their heads and hate Christians and Jews and persecute the Bahai.
    They should be treated like the vermin they are Boycottt Divest and Sanction them.

  • Simon_in_London

    Reminds me why I can’t stand neocons.

  • judyk113

    This story is not new. It also leaves out rentaquote Jeremy Corbyn, the ex British Ambassador Dalton and Peter Oborne, who can also be relied on to put out exactly the same Iranian talking points, including the loonier zionists-control-the-media/political parties conspiracy stuff. However, given that several of them are Privy Councillors and the august posts that the front men formerly held, as well as the care taken to include grandees from both Tories and Labour, it seems quite possible that this lobbying is done with the deliberate support of the British government.

  • http://twitter.com/WinstonCDN WinstonCDN

    UK’s Labour Party and to an extent the Tories are ignorant. The only way to fix our issues with Iran is to ‘regime change’ their govt for good.

  • swatnan

    Putting all the fatwah-aytollah nonsense aside, just who in thne ME is pwerful enough to take the Islamists apart? Iran had a 8 year war with Iraq, and nothing changed much apart from the ownership of a couple of goats. And has been mentioned Persians had a good history battling against the Medes and Hellenes and Romans the Vikings Celts and Angles. And Egyptians.

  • Harryagain

    Well hypocrisy is one of the qualifications you need to become a politician.
    Along with lies, greed, narcissism and an ability to dodge hard questions.
    Lets keep these moslems fighting. The only good one is a dead one.

  • Treebrain

    Douglas Murray, what has changed in the last few decades to help Iran emerge as a regional power?

    Oh, yes, the ‘West’ very obligingly removed Saddam Hussain from power, executed him and destroyed his minority Sunni-dominated regime!

    Now Iraq is ruled by the Shia majority, is closely aligned with fellow Shia-regime Iran, allows Iran to support and supply the Assad regime in Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon, all a direct consequence of the actions of Bush and Blair.

    Some people think that it is time to end the diplomatic and political isolation of Iran, and the P5+1 group are currently negotiating to do exactly that right now!

    Soon sanctions will be lifted, Iran will remain a nuclear power, albeit unique in their peaceful application of the technology and will rejoin the international community.

    Not too shabby for a country that nearly lost a war with Iraq a few decades ago?

    Ir does seem as though the current Iranian leadership has both tactical and strategic awareness, long-term vision and the ability to conduct very successful diplomatic and political initiatives.

    Iran has fared rather better in the last few decades that all its regional neighbours and there are no signs whatsoever of this success not continuing.

    Little wonder that MPs and Lords want to be part of this success, is it?

  • The Masked Marvel

    Backing to coddling madmen in the interests of “stability”. ZZZzzzzzzzzz.

  • Mrs Josephine Hyde-Hartley

    “Who on earth would argue for a regime which hangs homosexuals, stones rape victims and sponsors terrorism across three continents?”

    Arguments will simply waste time and time is of the essence. Rapproachment is the word , I think, if we want to get things moving in a reasonable way.

  • Leocrumb

    I’m so glad I live in Israel, despite whatever dangers we face at least our politicians are not leading us feet first into the abyss, like lambs to the slaughter. ‘gently, gently, there, there now don’t object, we don’t want to cause a fuss, keep walking, yes yes single file, keep up.’ Either there’s going to be an almightly backlash against this wilfull suicide, or Europe trully is buggered.

    • Andy

      Ssssssh ! You are not supposed to mention the ‘I’ word. You’ll have the Islamofascist crawling all over the place. And that would be too much.

  • Curnonsky

    “Realists” sounds better than “cowards”, I suppose.

  • Daidragon

    Iran has to be brought into the international fold. They are a key ally in the fight against Sunni extremism.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      They are no ally. What’s so great about shia extremism anyway? ‘Key’ ally’ excuse me while I barf.

      • Daidragon

        ISIS won’t be stopped or driven out of Iraq and Syria without Iran’s help. They are by far the most important players in the region.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          You need to get this “stopped or driven out” obsession out of your mind. It’s not in your remit.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …although you socialist nutters are always looking for fresh remit, especially if it involves fresh wars.

          • Daidragon

            Socialists voted against the invasion of Iraq. It was the right wing that ruined that country. Neo cons and born agains in both the US and UK.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              …no, you socialist nutters love war, as ever. That’s why you’re shrieking about the need to go into Iraq even in this very discussion topic. You’re a warmongering socialist nutter, as all of you are.

            • Simon_in_London

              The Hard Left opposed the invasion of Iraq (rightly), and so did some soft Left (eg the BBC). But it was supported by the UK Labour Party, the US Democratic party, and the mostly soft-Left US media. If Tony Blair is ‘right wing’ then most of Britain is ‘far Right’.

      • Simon_in_London

        Shia extremism is not great. But it’s a lot less dangerous to us than the Sunni kind.
        That said, it’s not our business to be supporting either kind. Our concern is to defend ourselves from the Sunni extremism on our own streets. Neocon adventurism never helps, whether it is directed against Sunni, Shia, or secular Muslim regimes.

  • Procivic

    Mrs. Thatcher lobbied for Saudi Arabia and her son reaped huge financial benefits. Many others in the British establishment do the same by maintaining silence on human rights excesses in Saudi, other so-called monarchies

  • MirthaTidville

    The one thing you have all left out is that Iran has rather large deposits of oil, which might put this into perspective

  • http://batman-news.com The Commentator

    The sad fact is that when you are a small country with no military capability and massive unserviceable debts you simply can’t afford to pick and choose your friends. That is why UK ministers are so anxious to win the support of the murderous regime in the People’s Republic of China but are not at all keen on the democratically elected Hamas administration in Gaza. It is certainly curious that so many political worthies in Britain support the blood-soaked butchers in Tehran, particularly when their most avowed enemies are ISIS, a largely UK-based and staffed NGO.

    • jjjj

      Yeah, ‘democratically elected administration’. A bunch of thuggish Islamofascists who threw their opponents off buildings and who installed a regime of terror. mind you, compared to the other wretched groups of this cult, we should be grateful.

  • Turdson Minor

    Messrs Straw, Lamont and Wallace probably feel left behind in the race for lobby money from nasty regimes – following TB’s example.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Iran has been responsible for the deaths of many Brits in uniform and out thanks to their funding and training of shia militias in Basra. Not that those folk count for anything in the odious Straw’s calculations.

    And last time I looked, Iran didn’t seem at risk of ‘Arab Spring’ infection, so arguing that further engagement is essential seems to me like a giant pile of steaming hor$#ite.

    • Nicky

      What? How has Iran been responsible for the death of British soldiers? Are you out of your fucking mind?

      • Hexhamgeezer

        Tony Blair is indeed responsible for UK soldiers deaths. As is the Iranian regime. Iran is not supporting a coalition government, merely protecting it’s own and shia interests.

        btw – how did you get the ‘fckng’ past the censors?

        • Nicky

          Yes Iran is protecting its own interests. All countries in the world are, and it cant be any other way. The point is to see whose interests are more aligned with your interests. Thats what makes for an ally.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …and that’s why so many al Qaeda operatives sidle up to the mullahs… they make for an ally.

            • Daidragon

              Ignorance and stupidity from mr Gin as usual. Stick to ranting about Bulgarian window cleaners.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                …I think it’s you that is ignorant and stupid, troll.

                Get lost.

            • Nicky

              al-Qaeda hates Iran and hates al-Qaeda. Please read: http://www.reuters.com/article

              • the viceroy’s gin

                The mullahs help Al Qaeda, as we’ve long known.

                They’re fellow mass murderers, so that’s not surprising.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Oh, and it’s bad form to uptick your own comments, lass.

          • Hexhamgeezer

            No it doesn’t. A very temporary confluence does not an ally make. My enemies enemy is still an enemy.

            • Nicky

              And what threat does Iran pose to the UK? What disadvantages are there to being friends with Iran?

              • JackyTreehorn

                What threat did apartheid South Africa pose to the UK?
                Do you think that we should have been friends with it and ignored everything else?

                • Nicky

                  I have already answered you elsewhere. But I will say again: countries should get along despite of their differences and try and influence each other for the better by having open and constructive relations. Please look at the answer I gave you regarding gay rights.

                • Andy

                  How can you have relations with a country that was only too happy to trash the British Embassy – British territory – in Tehran ? That showed how little respect the Iranians had for the UK.

              • Simon_in_London

                Less Saudi bribe money?

      • Harryagain

        There are no good guys here.
        Let them get on with their fighting.

        Just make sure our energy sources do not depend on them.

    • Daidragon

      We had no place being in Basra. You can’t blame the locals for resisting a foreign occupation.

      • Hexhamgeezer

        Some ‘occupation’.

        • Daidragon

          What else would you call it? Weren’t exactly invited in and treated as liberators were we?

          • Inverted Meniscus

            Perhaps you should take that up with your fellow socialist nutters who put us their under a false premise in the first place. Oh, he’s busy as a Middle East peace envoy. You socialist nutters really do know all about job creation don’t you.

            • Daidragon

              George W Bush is a socialist nutter? I never knew that. More Tories voted for the Iraq war than Labour MP’s. Call Me Dave has since attacked Libya and tried to attack Syria as well. He’s the best asset the Islamists have ever had in number 10. Since Thatcher let them set up in London at least.

              • Inverted Meniscus

                You socialist nutters really have no conception of honesty do you. I knew it would only be a matter of time until the blame fell on Margaret Thatcher.

                • Daidragon

                  Do you remember the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan? That’s when we started supporting Islamism and Al Qaida. It wasn’t called Londonistan for nothing. The Thatcher government allowed Jihadi’s to turn our capital city into a base of operations. Fact.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …and now you socialist nutters want to sidle up to the mullahs.

                  Maybe Galloway can help you out again. He likes islamofascists, doesn’t he?

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Yeah and I bet she is responsible for Gordon Brown’s £168 billion structural deficit and his destruction of private sector pension provision, Blair’s war in Iraq, the tripartite banking regulation fiasco, Gold sold after pre-warning the markets, cash for honours, the Ecclestone affair etc etc that is what you socialist nutters do. You blame everybody else for your endless and unremitting stream of screw ups.

                • Daidragon

                  Deflect! Deflect!

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Agreed. That is what socialist nutters like you do laddie.

                • Simon_in_London

                  They didn’t invade, unless America ‘invaded’ Vietnam. The regime invited them in to help out, in both cases.

    • Treebrain

      “…And last time I looked, Iran didn’t seem at risk of ‘Arab Spring’ infection…”

      No surprise there, as Iranians are not Arabs, are they?

      • Hexhamgeezer

        Aye – but ‘Mu$l!m Renaissance’ doesn’t have quite the same ring…

    • Simon_in_London

      “Iran has been responsible for the deaths of many Brits in uniform and out thanks to their funding and training of shia militias in Basra.”

      We invaded and occupied their country. If France invaded and occupied Britain to liberate us from David Cameron and his Weapons of Mass Destruction, it would hardly be surprising if Brits fought back – even non-Tory supporting Brits. Nor would it be surprising if the USA sent arms to support the British rebels.

  • David B

    The shows the total mess that the Middle East has become

  • Martin Adamson

    Peter Oborne, sometimes of this parish, is another Iran enthusiast. Seldom misses an opportunity to defend them.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Agreed, what possesses an otherwise sensible person like Oborne defies belief.

      • Curnonsky

        An antipathy to another nation, also religiously-oriented, also located in the general vicinity of the Middle East?

    • Treebrain

      “Seldom misses an opportunity to defend them.”

      As opposed to demonise them?

  • Fasdunkle

    Iran and Saudi Arabia are both abhorrent theocracies yet we sanction one while cosying up to the other – and frankly I have far more confidence in the people (as opposed to the government) of iran than I do of the people of saudi arabia.

    • Shazza

      Agree. Saudi Arabia has always been a savage land whereas Iran/Persian has a history of once being a cultured and civilised country inasmuch as is possible within islamic restrictions.

      • Andy

        Come back the Shah. All is forgiven.

        • Shazza

          He did try to drag them into the modern world but the attraction of the 7th century proved to be too strong to resist.
          The same is happening in Turkey.

          • Nicky

            . The shah was a cruel dictator and a puppet of western countries. The current regime has done much more fore the Iranian people than the shah ever did in improving health and education in Iran; http://iranprimer.usip.org/blog/2013/apr/01/un-stats-life-longer-and-healthier-iran

            Also, what do you mean by “drag them into the modern world”? I already told you that Iran is the fastest growing country in terms of science, and I placed a wikipedia link about this for you to look at. Is your issue with issue with the Islamic dress code, and you would like Iranian women to be sexier for you? I’m sorry, but this is not what modernity means.

          • Andy

            I vividly recall the day the Shah left Iran. I knew a lot of Iranians at the time and I said to them that they would live to regret that day. I was right. Many of them have never been able to return to Iran and quite a few of them had relatives executed in very short order. As I remarked at the time ‘Be careful what you wish for’.

      • Treebrain

        Iran/Persia was cultured and civilised both before the arrival of Islam and after.

        • Shazza

          There is very little in islam that is civilised.

          • Nicky

            As an atheist, I think there is little in any religion that is civilised. Religion, by nature, stands against reason and is purely illogical.

  • JB_1966

    Jack Straw is a loathsome creature who has spent his entire adult life undermining this country for money; he doesn’t care a jot about “rights” unless it gets him a few votes locally. Lord Lamont? Money trumps all for him. Ben Wallace? Never heard of him; hope never to do so again.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Love the comment about Ben Wallace. Endorsed. He sounds a nasty little slimeball though.

    • DazEng

      If you liked him (Jack Straw), you’d love his Dad.
      Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

  • zanzamander

    Who on earth would argue for a regime which hangs homosexuals, stones
    rape victims and sponsors terrorism across three continents?

    For a minute there I thought you were talking about Saudi Arabia or Pakistan or even Somalia maybe.

    But you’re 100% correct, inexplicably there doesn’t seem to be any shortage of influential people wanting to lend their voice in support of these regimes.

  • Shazza

    Are they mad? I am starting to believe that our ‘leaders’ really, really do want the West to become islamic.
    Why?

    • JB_1966

      They don’t understand the world they live in at all. They understand how to manipulate the levers of power, privilege and patronage within their own safe little bubble and that is it. When the inevitable happens and they are turned on by Islam they will truly not have seen it coming, nor understand its nature. The fall of the West will mirror the events of 1453, with our officials still babbling about their own peculations even as the walls come down.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Good points but I genuinely believe that people like Straw, Miliband etc genuinely believe that they will be immune to whatever mayhem may ensue from their deranged actions. Their attitude is ‘well if Britain goes to the dogs I can always live out my days in the sheltered cloisters of US Academia’ etched etc. They care nothing, absolutely nothing for the consequences faced by the rest of us because they will be safely ensconced on another continent or whatever arguing into their dotage that they were right and the electorate was racist, wrong or preferably both.

        • JB_1966

          There may be nowhere to hide for them.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            We can but hope.

        • Shazza

          I sometimes think that these deranged politicians sincerely believe that islam will morph into the same vanilla flavoured religion as has happened to Christianity. It won’t.

          In their suicidal quest to foster multiculturalism aka apartheid, they believed that as we tolerate other cultures, this would be reciprocated. It won’t.

          We now have draconian laws relating to freedom of speech, privacy etc. in an effort to stifle any rational voice raising a query regarding the demise of our civilisation in an effort to force us all accept each other and live happily ever after. Moslems refuse to obey these laws and are allowed total freedom of expression without any sanction. We are not.

          It is going to end in tears. Ours.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            Too true. Not what my grandfathers ran up beaches in Normandy to preserve.

            • Kitty MLB

              You can be sure that if we were at war today
              some here would not show us the loyalty of
              your grandfathers generation.

          • Nicky

            How is any of this related to this issue? You said “I sometimes think that these deranged politicians sincerely believe that islam will morph into the same vanilla flavoured religion as has happened to Christianity. It won’t.” How is this relevant? And by the way, let me tell you a little something about Iran. Iran is an influential and geopolitically important country with a bright future. Did you know that Iran has the highest rate of scientific progress in the world? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_and_technology_in_Iran
            Taking Iran seriously as a world power is not a choice, it is an imperative.

            • Shazza

              Why does it relate to this issue? All things islamic are now relating to our daily lives or have you not noticed? Why cosy up to Iran? The Saudis practically own half of this country, we allow them to spread their poisonous version of their religion throughout our establishments by their funding of learning institutions, etc. – they are supposedly our allies in this region. Now we start to cosy up to their enemy No. 1, Iran and you think this won’t affect us? Osama bin Laden was a Saudi, remember?

              What about the hypocrisy? Remember how Putin was vilified when he supported Iran and Syria against the ‘rebels’ in Syria? Now we are on the same side?

              I say – let them get on with it. Whatever we do will be wrong. Whatever side we choose will be wrong. Even if we do help, the victor will turn on us eventually. That is the nature of their religion – it’s goal is world domination.

              My reference to Christianity was to highlight the fact that our naive politicians think that islam will have it’s reformation. It won’t. Look how excited the politicians got over the laughable ‘Arab Spring’ when wiser heads were warning that it was all going to end in tears.

              • Nicky

                You are drawing a false analogy between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is the home of Islamic extremism, Salafism and Wahhabism, but Iran is not. Iran and Saudi could not be more different. For one thing, they are mortal enemies. You really dont know enough about Iran.

                Iran has the most pro-western ( specifically pro-American) people in all of the middle east. There are polls on this which you can check out. If the west is going to be friends with any country in the middle east it ought to be Iran.

                • Andy

                  Iran is run by a bunch of turbaned Fascists. We should have nothing to do with scum like that.

                • Nicky

                  Actually you sound kind of fascist yourself. You decided that you should judge an entire nation to be “scum” based on the attire of their leader. Also, in international relations you dont decide whom to be friends with based on their human rights record. You base that decision on your own interests. Iran is an influential, geopolitically and economically important country, who is also offering help in fighting international terrorism. These are grounds for being friends with Iran. Do you also propose that the UK should sever relations with China too? Because they have a terrible human rights record.

                • Andy

                  So you in the pay of the Turban Fascists ??
                  Are you an Iranian ?
                  Why are you so busy defending these people ?

                • Nicky

                  I am a politics student. But thats besides the point. I defend whoever I think needs to be defended. This whole page is full of ignorant comments about the middle east. So much prejudice and such little information. For example you, instead of making an actual argument based on facts an evidence, use epithets like “Turban Fascists” which goes to show that you base your opinions solely on baseless prejudice.

                • Andy

                  Ah I see. A know nothing politics student (aka a lefty idiot). You have been to Iran ? You know Iranians ??
                  And for your information I had lots of Iranian friends in the days of the late Shah. Many of them were murdered by these Turban Fascists. The ignorant comments come from you who thinks he knows everything and knows nothing.

                • Nicky

                  Have I ever been to Iran? Only every summer. You call me an idiot, but you have not cited one piece of information in your posts, neither have you made any logic arguments in favour of your opinion.

                • Andy

                  Ah an Iranian stooge.

                • Nicky

                  Whatever. There is no reasoning with you.

                • Andy

                  When Iran stops persecuting Christians and murdering homosexuals, stoning women then there might be progress. Until those days dawn we don’t want anything to do with them. Oh and they can respect the principles of diplomacy by stopping trashing the British Embassy.

                • Nicky

                  I am no apologist for the Iranian regime, but lets be accurate with the facts there. How does Iran persecute Christians? You’ve got all the middle eastern countries mixed up in your head. There is LOTS wrong with the current Iranian regime, but persecuting Christians is not one of them. Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians are very well integrated into the Iranian society and have guaranteed protections and representation under the current constitution.

                • Andy

                  For someone who claims not to be an ‘apologist for the Iranian regime’ you are doing a good job at doing just that. Across the Muslim world Christians are being persecuted – even in supposedly secular Turkey. Iran is no different. And you obviously have no respect for Christians or you would not have used ‘Jesus Christ’ as an expletive as you do below. And as is noted by others you have nothing to say about the Iranian habit or hanging homosexuals or stoning women. The Iranian regime is no different to any other Muslim regime – tyrannical and repressive; basically evil.
                  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/15/opinion/irans-oppressed-christians.html?_r=0

                • Nicky

                  I looked at articles about Iran and its Christians. There were instances where people were punished for drinking communion wine. But the thing is that Iran is an oppressive state, and it punishes everyone for drinking alcohol. Alcohol has historically been an integral part of Iranian society ( for example the renowned Shiraz wine comes from a city in Iran called Shiraz.) And yet Iranians are forbidden from drinking wine. So I dont think this counts as persecution of Christians specifically. All Iranians are oppressed.

                  Not being an apologist for the Iranian regime does not mean making up lies about it. The situation in Iran is bad, but not as bad as you are lead to believe. Thats all I want to say. If not being an apologist means making up lies, then why not say Iran was responsible for the holocaust while you are at it?

                • Andy

                  Yes, we all know Iran is an ‘oppressive state’ and it is so good of you to acknowledge this fact at long last. It hangs homosexuals (you have nothing to say about that) and stones women (you have nothing to say about that either), so who is making up any lies about that vile regime ? The Shah was, by comparison, far more liberal and enlightened, but that was long before your time of course.

                  Iran would rather like another holocaust. And as one recalls that idiot Ahmadinejad was noted for denying there was a holocaust and he wanted to destroy Israel. That’s why these mad mullahs want a bomb.

                • Nicky

                  Ahmadinejad was an idiot, and he is no longer in office.The Iranian people were fed up with him and elected someone very different. Holding the IranIan nation accountable for Ahmadinejad’s stupidity forever is very stupid.

                • Andy

                  Sorry but the scumbag Khomeini was never elected by anyone. And it may have escaped your notice but that idiot Ahmadnutter has only just left office. Pity he didn’t get an appointment with a crane. We all note that you still have nothing to say re Homosexuals and women.
                  Qui tacet consentire videtur, ubi loqui debuit ac potuit.

                • Nicky

                  I am not committed to defending everything the Iranian regime does. All I am trying to do is to be accurate about the facts. Its unfortunate the way Iran treats its gays and I hope that it will soon get better. But regarding the women, I am a woman and I have been to Iran and never encountered any sexism. Never heard of any member of the Iranian side of my family complaining about sexism or whatever. I am sure that you are talking about stoning when you complain about Iran’s treatment of women, but stoning was banned in 2002. Here is a quote from the wikipedia article on stoning in Iran:

                  ” The Iranian judiciary officially placed a moratorium on stoning in 2002.[29] In 2005, judiciary spokesman Jamal Karimirad stated, “in the Islamic republic, we do not see such punishments being carried out”, further adding that if stoning sentences were passed by lower courts, they were overruled by higher courts and “no such verdicts have been carried out.”

                • Andy

                  ‘Its unfortunate the way Iran treats its gays and I hope that it will soon get better’. So it is ‘unfortunate’ that Gays are hanged from cranes merely because of their sexuality ? ‘Unfortunate’ ?? That the extent of your concern ???? Your weasel words betray the bankruptcy of your views and one must assume you agree with their actions.

                  As to stoning women they merely hang them now, and not by the British method but either by crane or short drop. A slow death, not an instantaneous one. We are not talking about ‘sexism’ but oppression. I have no time for these turbaned fascists. The Shah was many things, but he was far better than them.

                • Nicky

                  Its surprising that you can take issue with a comment as innocent as “Iran’s treatment of gays is unfortunate”. As in we are unfortunate to have a government that treats gays this way. Anyways Im done with this conversation.

                • Andy

                  There is no ‘conversation’. All I see is someone who is busy defending the Turban Fascists. If it is such a wonderful regime, and considering you have two Iranian Grandparents, why don’t you go and live there ?? You obviously have no love for Britain.

                • Nicky

                  One does not have to be a conservative in order to love Britain.

                • Andy

                  Lefties like you always hate Britain.

                • Nicky

                  One of the other commenters pressed me on gay rights again and I gave him what I think was a good response. So I wonder what you would say about it:

                  Uruguay was one of the earliest countries to decriminalise homosexuality in 1934. Britain on the other hand was jailing and chemically castrating homosexuals till 1967. So you can see that Britain was 33 years behind Uruguay in decriminalising homosexuality, which is a very long time, and in that respect Britain was more backwards and less socially liberal than Uruguay.
                  But Uruguay did not sever its relations with Britain over this, neither should it have. Countries should get along despite of their differences and try and influence each other for the better. Isolating Iran more and more does not bring any benefits to Iranian homosexuals, or any other section of the Iranian society that is oppressed.

                • jjjj

                  Every summer for three months? Are you part of their lobby too? Yes, the people are moderate. Not the leadership or the Revolutionary Guards.

                • Nicky

                  Two of my grandparents are Iranian. Jesus Christ. I cannot believe that this conversation has come to this.

                • Andy

                  Do not be blasphemous. Why are you insulting Christians ?
                  So you are part Iranian. But never lived in Iran in the days of the Shah.

                • Nicky

                  Insulting Christians? Are kidding or are you totally insane?

                • Shazza

                  Moderate moslem – oxymoron.

                • Nicky

                  I am an atheist, you moron.

                • Shazza

                  So am I Nicky but I’m afraid that if you believe ad hominem attacks serve your cause, you are sorely mistaken. I shall not insult your intelligence; however, a little bit more life experience will stand you in good stead.

                • Nicky

                  What ad hominem attack? You called me a muslim and I said that I am an atheist.

                • Shazza

                  Ad hominem attack means you play the man and not the ball, in other words you make the argument personal. You called me a ‘moron’ – that is a personal attack.

                  Whether you are an atheist/moslem/whatever has no bearing on the discussion – we are discussing whether it is a good idea for the West to cosy up to Iran or not.

                • Nicky

                  I know it has no bearing. But you said “moderate muslim, and oxymoron”, and I thought that was in reference to me. So I wanted to set the record straight.

                • Shazza

                  It was not directed at you. I was making the point as Erdogan pointed out – he said ‘there is no such thing as moderate islam, only islam.’

                  No hard feelings.

                • jjjj

                  Shazza, I do not agree. On the other hand mind you, I was too sweeping in my exoneration of the Iranian public.

                • Shazza

                  I am merely going by what Erdogan said, to paraphrase – ‘There is no such thing as moderate islam, only islam.

                  Also, no deviation from the core teaching is allowed – hence no reformation is possible. One of Lee Rigby’s killers was incensed when the judge implied that he had betrayed his religion – he had merely carried out the exhortations of his instruction manual- in his mind, he was a good moslem.

                  It is the same principle as being a little bit pregnant. You cannot be a little bit moslem.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  You are a student well that explains your childish naïveté. You are excused.

                • Shazza

                  Iranian people wanted those islamic leaders. They wanted an islamic state. Were you around when their glorious revolution took place?
                  The Shah. by no means perfect, tried to drag them into the modern world but they preferred to stay in the 7th century.

                • Nicky

                  The Iranian people chose Khomeini only because he was the only one offering an ideology of national independence and self-determination. Also, what do you mean by “they preferred to stay in the 7th century?”. I assume you are referring to the backwardness of Iran. But in what sense is it backwards if it has the fastest scientific progress in all of the middle east, if 70% for STEM students are female etc. And I could go on counting all the reasons why Iran is quite progressive for a long time.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Is hanging gays progressive? Or does your enthusiasm for Iran enable you to turn a blind eye to that? You have dodged it so far.

                • Shazza

                  Let’s talk about Iran’s treatment of women.

                  You have heard about the islamic practice of ‘thighing’ haven’t you? It was specifically recommended by the late not lamented Ayatollah Khomeini who returned to Iran after the demise of the Shah. It involves female babies/children and perhaps you should Google what it entails.
                  Killjoy Khomeini also declared that there is no humour in islam. Great culture. Add to that the hangings, floggings, stonings, treatment of women as chattel, etc. and there really is very little different from Saudi’s treatment of it’s women.

                  We have a saying in English – ‘People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’.

                  Islam has not changed since the 7th century and that’s what I meant by it’s adherents preferring to stay in that Dark Age century.

                  When it comes to scientific achievements, come back and let me know when Iran manages to be awarded Nobel prizes for scientific/medical breakthroughs. If you want to know who excels in that field, Google Israeli/Jewish Nobel prizewinners for science/medicine.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  “Do you also propose that the UK should sever relations with China too? Because they have a terrible human rights record.”

                  Actually, yes. But our “leaders” always put commerce above ethics and in the “post-democratic” age they seem to rather admire the top down authoritarian nature of the Chinese regime and would probably like to emulate it. The cynicism of modern Western governments, spouting about equality and fairness on the one hand whilst enthusiastically doing business with the world’s dodgiest regimes on the other, is probably best exampled by Gaddafi.

                  In 2011 Iran contributed more asylum seekers to the UK than any other country, 2477. What do you think they were seeking asylum from? Iran is also involved in sponsoring or facilitating terrorism, as recently as 2012. Doing deals with them will be like doing deals with the Taliban during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. No good will come of it.

                • Nicky

                  The kind of terrorism a citizen of the UK cares about is international terrorism i.e. al-Qaeda and affiliated groups. As you know Iran is the fieriest enemy of al-Qaeda and its affiliates.

                  Also if sponsoring terrorism is grounds for terminating relations with a country the UK should also terminate relations with the US. The US itself is and has been a funder of al-Qaeda affiliated groups such as Jundullah:http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2010/12/16/iran-suicide-bombing-is-the-us-still-funding-jundallah.html. But of course such little facts get very little coverage.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  The ‘fieriest’ (sic) enemy? Well that’s strange because in January 2009 the US Treasury Department placed sanctions on four al-Qaeda operatives based in Iran. They were Mustafa Hamid, Muhammad Rab’a al-Sayid al-Bahtiyti, Ali Saleh Husain, and Sa’ad bin Laden, one of Osama bin Laden’s sons.

                  In July 2011 the US Treasury Department reported that Iran has been allowing al-Qaeda to channel money and operatives throughout the country.

                  In October 2012, the US Treasury Department designated Adel Radi Saqr al-Wahabi al-Harbi, a deputy to the al Qaeda facilitator Muhsin al-Fadhli, who is based in Iran, and placed him under sanctions. Al-Harbi was accused of helping terrorists to travel from Iran to Afghanistan or Iraq for al-Qaeda, as well as seeking money to support terrorism. They reported that the al-Qaeda network used by al-Harbi operates according to an agreement with the Iranian government, under which al-Qaeda can operate and travel freely throughout Iran and use the country as a key transit point.

                  According to Seth G. Jones and Peter Bergen, the 2003 Riyadh compound bombings were planned by al Qaeda operatives in Iran, with apparent Iranian complicity.

                • Nicky

                  You are saying that there were some al-Qaeda operatives in Iran. Yes, there are al-Qaeda operatives based in Iran, and they fight AGAINST the Iranian states, not for it. There al-Qaeda operatives based in the UK and the US too. Iran has long been struggling to fight against al-Qaeda inside of its borders. An al-Qeada affiliated group called jundullah is one of the prime enemies of the Iranian states. Iran offered the US to help in the fight against la-Qaeda in the Iraq and Afghanistan.

                  Here is a reuters article about the relationship between al-Qaeda and Iran: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/03/us-usa-binladen-documents-iran-idUSBRE8421EG20120503

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  There is evidence that some of the 9/11 hijackers passed through Iran, without having their passports stamped.

                  That is to say, the mullahs clandenstinely facilitated and helped the 9/11 murderers. That isn’t accidental, and a matter of locational happenstance. It’s intentional, conspiratorial and murderous.

                • Nicky

                  This is a reuters article about Irans relations with al-Qaeda and its based on leaked intelligence information. It is contrary to your opinion. http://www.reuters.com/article

                  Could you link to the source that you got your information from?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  You’re referencing “leacked intelligence information”, and you’re imagining that requires refutation?

                  You are a confused young man.

                • Daidragon

                  What are your sources? Enough of the evasion. Put up or shut up clown.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …oh go away, troll.

                • Daidragon

                  Incapable of backing up as usual. Put up or shut up clown.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …seriously, you should just go away, troll.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Actually Viceroy he is a socialist nutter and a Troll.

                • Nicky

                  Im not a young man. Im a young woman. What a typical conservative, just presuming that any outspoken person on the web is a man. You are really avoiding the question. You made a claim and you are not citing any sources to support your claim.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  You are not citing any “sources” to support your claim, lass. You are providing hearsay. Sorry that you don’t know the difference, nor understand how hypocritical you are with these statements.

                  You are a confused young girl.

                • JackyTreehorn

                  Well young woman have you ever thought about defending the rights of homosexuals to live without fear of being hung in the town square by a crane for the crime of being sexually different? Are you avoiding the question in the hope that it will go away and you can carry on with your naive silly ideas?
                  What a typical loony left halfwit.

                • Nicky

                  Uruguay was one of the earliest countries to decriminalise homosexuality in 1934. Britain on the other hand was jailing and chemically castrating homosexuals till 1967. So you can see that Britain was 33 years behind Uruguay in decriminalising homosexuality, which is a very long time, and in that respect Britain was more backwards and less socially liberal than Uruguay.
                  But Uruguay did not sever its relations with Britain over this, neither should it have. Countries should get along despite of their differences and try and influence each other for the better. Isolating Iran more and more does not bring any benefits to Iranian homosexuals, or any other section of the Iranian society that is oppressed.

                • Andy

                  What a load of f*cking crap. Britain, for all her faults, did not hang homosexuals in town squares from cranes. Doing so in 2014 is to you merely ‘unfortunate’ – no. It is a fucking disgrace and a fucking outrage. These Turbaned Fascists are just scum and should be treated as such. This is 2014.

                  When are you going to grow up and see just how evil this regime you so clearly support actually is ?? And if you hate Britain so much, as seems to be quite clear you do, why don’t you actually renounce your British citizenship and go and live in Iran and become an Iranian which, with two Iranian grandparents, you are probably entitled to do.

                • Nicky

                  I absolutely love Britain and have no reason to renounce my citizenship. I dont have to hate Iran to love Britain. The point of the example about Uruguay and Britain was to say that two countries which are quite dissimilar in terms of their social liberalism can and should get along despite of their differences. Isolating Iran will only serve to strengthen the regime’s anti-western rhetoric and alienate its generally pro-western population from the west. It will help no one.

                • Andy

                  You still don’t get it do you ?? You are so busy defending the Turban Fascists you have lost our sense of morality. The regime you are so busy sticking up for is pure evil. It murders on a whim. It is profoundly anti-Semitic and anti-Christian. We should keep this evil bunch of thugs at arms length. If the Iranian people want better relations with the United Kingdom then they can overthrow these Turban Fascists and that would be a good start.

                • Shazza

                  So you don’t think hanging gay people from cranes is not extreme? So you don’t think that wanting nuclear weapons for the sole purpose of destroying Israel is not extreme?

                  The only countries in the ME that we should be friends with are Israel and Jordan.

                  As I said in my post let the Shias and the Sunnis sort it out between themselves. They have been at it for 1400 years now – we don’t need to be caught in the crossfire.

                • Nicky

                  You seriously think that Iran wants nuclear weapons to destroy Israel? Iran would be wiped out wholesale by the US if it did that. Why would Iran be so, so irrational. The Iranian state has never shown any signs of being irrational? Look at the thirty-something year history of this regime. When have they ever shown any signs of self-destructive behaviour? This regime has been involved in only one war, the Iran-Iraq war. Even then it was invaded by Iraq and did not initiate the hostilities. There is absolutely no reason to think that this regime is irrational and suicidal. ALL of its behaviour fits the pattern of geopolitical power maximising, rather than irrational extremism. If you want irrational extremism look for it in al-Qaeda and its home in Saudi Arabia.

                  If you want to know why Iran wants nuclear capabilities look at its geopolitical situation. Iran is a Persian country which is surrounded by hostile Arab states. Iran was invaded by Iraq during an unprovoked war, was subjected to chemical weapons and lost thousands of its citizens. Iran wants nuclear capabilities to defend against very hostile neighbours.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  That’s right, it rationally exports terrorism all over the World and who could possibly describe that as “self destructive behaviour”. Issuing Death sentences to people who write, I admit, verbose, tedious and self-important books, is further evidence of rational behaviour No doubt.

                • Nicky

                  I think you dont know the meaning of irrational. When has Iran ever engaged in self-destructive behaviour? Iran has only become more and more geopolitically powerful over the years. It is a power maximising nation, not a suicidal self-destructive nation.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Yes, and it’s “power maximizing” includes a great deal of murder.

                • Nicky

                  I think you are forgetting why I started to talk about rationality and power-maximisation. That was in response to someone else saying that Iran intends to nuke Israel. In response to this I said that the Iran is not suicidal. If it nuked Israel it would be wiped our in a second by the US. There is no sense in thinking that a regime that has only ever shown signs of selfish and power-maximising behaviour would be so utterly self-destructive.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …spare me that empty gibberish, lass.

                  Your power maximizing mullah buddies want to maximize the number of murders they perpetrate. That is all.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  The mullahs received overtures to end the war with Iraq long before the late 80’s. They ignored them, because like all fascists, they used war and “the other” to consolidate their power .

                  They will do so again. All fascists do.

                • Nicky

                  But they did not even start that war. How could you possibly blame it on them? Of course they continued to fight after receiving overtures to end, because they had been subject to an unprovoked invasion and they wanted to teach Iraq a lesson and so they retaliated. If France invaded the UK, bombed cities and killed thousands of citizens through the use of chemical weapons, would Britain not retaliate?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  The mullahs were involved in multiple border skirmishes with Iraq previous to full scale war, so your statements are false. They were aggressive and so was Iraq. Their murderous hands were far from clean.

                  The mullahs continued on with the war long after peace was available to them, because they prefer to kill. They had an offer for peace and they ignored it, because they prefer war.

                  The mullahs are murderers. All fascists are that. They use war for internal political purposes. It’s the fascist way, like Hitler.

                • Curnonsky

                  And that explains why they are so fond of chanting “Death to Britain” and “Death to America” – you know, they way friends do.

                • Nicky

                  There are SOME Iranians who dislike the US. But its like 2% of all Iranians. Those are the ones who chant “death to America”. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/05/opinion/those-friendly-iranians.html
                  Please read this and stop making uninformed comments.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Let us know when the mullahs stop murdering and preaching hate, lad.

                • Nicky

                  Murdering whom? Could you please provide details of who is being murdered?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No, lassie, no need to educate the terminally uneducable.

                  As instructed, you should look up the execution rolls of your mullah buddies. They’re extensive.

                • Nicky

                  You are full of presumptions which you hold based on no evidence at all.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …it’s amusing that you don’t recognize yourself as the black pot, lass.

                • Nicky

                  You are making a claim, not me. So the burden of proof is on you, not me. I merely asked you to prove your claim.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  You’ve made volumes of claims on this discussion, lass, all of them unproven and contradicting settled history.

                  You’re a black pot, and you’re too blind to understand it. It is amusing, as I say.

                • Curnonsky

                  Odd, isn’t it, that the 2% seem to dominate the government and include the Supreme Leader himself? Still, I’m sure you know their minds better than they do.

                • Daidragon

                  How many voted for our Head of State?

                • Curnonsky

                  Do you refer to Juncker or von Rompuy?

                • Nicky

                  What are you on about? Are you saying that all these articles are lying? Do you need me to send you some more evidence? How much evidence should I provide before you change your mind?? Say how much more evidence you ned and I will provide.

          • FrenchNewsonlin

            “Draconian laws relating to freedom of speech, privacy etc.”
            Draconian indeed and many of them transposed across the EU, an interesting recent example being here in France. Algerian fans have rioted across French towns after each Algerian team victory in the World Cup, burning cars, causing considerable material damage and in one event a French flag was set on fire. No-one was arrested for this latter defilement.
            However today a video surfaced on the Internet allegedly showing a French supporter celebrating the French victory by burning an Algerian flag. Police have been instructed to find and arrest him and lay a charge of “incitement to racial hatred” an offence carrying a one year jail term.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      It is because they believe they will personally never have to live with the consequences. They don’t give a fig for us because when the time comes they will find a sinecure teaching politics in a mid-western university or some such and safe from the consequences of their own madness.

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