At a debate in the House of Commons regarding Iran’s influence in the Middle East on March 22, Dr Matthew Offord MP said that the country is the number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world. He highlighted that the Islamic Republic controls, backs, funds and trains Islamist terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas with the aim of destroying Israel.

However, pointing out the stark difference between the rulers and the people of the country, he said: “I place on record that the people of Iran are a fine collective, with a remarkable history in the region. However, the modern-day Iran, ruled by the mullahs, is a theocratic regime, based on the principle of rule of law by Islamic jurists.”

He said that since the election of President Hassan Rouhani in 2013, international relations with Iran have got better, but the domestic abuses of human rights which are ongoing have not been addressed. It is also continuing to export terrorism and work on its nuclear program.

Offord said that Iran’s involvement in the Syrian civil war is damaging on many fronts. Its interference is so deep that the Iranian regime sees the country as its 35th province.

He highlighted that there has been a high number of civilian deaths in Syria and since the opposition grew stronger in the country, Iran increased the number of military officers it sent to fight them. He said: “The senior commander of the Rasoulallah division of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hossein Hamadani, was dispatched to Syria. That man was responsible for operations in the Iran-Iraq war, as well as for suppressing the 2009 uprising in Iran. He decided that the forces sent by Iran to Syria were primarily to be at command level, as evidenced by the capture of 48 IRGC commanders two months later. That meant that infantry were needed, and the creation of Daesh occurred as a result.”

He said that the number of troops Iran sent to Syria far exceeded the number of Syrian troops.

Speaking about the Iran nuclear deal, Offord said that it was a “missed opportunity” that the U.S. and the other world leaders failed to bring up the Iranian regime’s terrorist activities and human rights abuses. He said that this is something that is important to him and many others Members of Parliament who are very disappointed at this failing.

Another failure of the Iran nuclear deal, he said, was that a large amount of resources were unfrozen for the country. Instead of using these newfound resources to improve the conditions of the people of Iran who suffer in extreme poverty, or to improve the failing infrastructure, the Iranian regime has used it to fund terror in the Middle East.

“Tehran has budgeted about $100 billion for the conflict (in Syria), under cover from Khamenei’s office. That money has been spent on the purchase of military weaponry and on Syria’s own military expenses—$1 billion is spent solely on the salaries of the forces affiliated with the IRGC, including military forces, militias and Shi’ite networks.”

Offord spoke about Iran’s increasing influence in Yemen and mentioned that it has a “complex network of weapon-smuggling routes throughout the region”, highlighting that this itself is a breach of four Security Council resolutions – 1737, 1747, 1803 and 1835.

“The U.S. navy disclosed in April 2016 that it had confiscated an Iranian weapons cache headed to the Houthis in Yemen from a small fishing craft in the Arabian sea, seizing 1,500 Kalashnikov rifles, 200 rocket-propelled grenade launchers and 21 .50-caliber machine guns. That was the fourth such seizure by the U.S. navy in the region since September 2015. U.S. officials have said that they are looking into whether components of missiles used in attempted strikes by the Houthis against a U.S. warship and a United Arab Emirates vessel might have benefited from Iranian parts or originated in Iran. General Joseph Votel, the commander of the U.S. military command centre, said he suspected an Iranian role in arming the Houthis, and noted that Iran was one of the possible suppliers of the type of shore-based missile technology seen in Yemen.”

On the subject of international silence regarding Iran’s aggression and terrorism, Offord said that governments are very reluctant to enter into more conflict in the Middle East which is effectively letting the Iranian regime get away with its activities.

He also said that President Obama’s failure to take decisive action at the time of the nuclear deal has caused the Iranian regime to become more bold in its actions. He said that the United Kingdom needs to act now to curb the regime’s activities. “Now (…) is the time for us to renew our alliances and our interests with the U.S. and others in the Middle East to curtail that serpent.”

Source: / ncr-iran /