Uniting for Freedom, Democracy & Equality

Lord Henry Bellingham’s Remarks to the Free Iran World Summit 2021–July 12, 2021

Lord Henry Bellingham, Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (2010-2012), addressed at the 2nd Day of The Free Iran World Summit on July 12, 2021.

Your Excellency, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, it’s a huge honor to be able to contribute to this conference today. And I’d like to congratulate you, Your Excellency, on what you’ve done for the Iranian people. You have been an inspiration to Iranian people in Iran, the Iranian people in exile, and indeed, to all freedom loving peoples throughout the whole world. And I really must reinforce the point that you have a huge amount of support within the United Kingdom, within our parliament.

I was a member of parliament for over 30 years. I was first elected in 1983, a whole generation ago, in fact, shortly after Bashar was deposed. And I’ve been following the troubles of your country as an MP. I’m now a member of the upper house as a member of the House of Lords. And I plan to carry on giving you my absolute full support.

And this conference is so important because it’s over 42 years, you’ve been standing firm– standing firm, for your beliefs for your principles, standing firm, for the people, because you believe in people having a right to vote, and the right to have their say, and what can be more important than adherence to the rule of law, and the reintroduction of democracy.

Because whatever we might think about governments, some governments we may love, other governments we may detest, if they’re legitimately elected, then it’s the people who only have themselves to blame. And the government has to be accountable. And the tragedy of your country is that since the deposing of the Shah, you’ve had hopes of freedom at different times, you had false hopes, false dawns.

But what we’ve seen most recently is hugely depressing. And I really do despair of the recent election of Ebrahim Raisi, say, election, it’s actually not an election, it was a sham election, it’s the installation of someone who’s got the most appalling human rights record. And I just say to you, and your supporters, your friends, that you’ve got a very large number of people in our parliament in the UK, in different Parliament’s across Europe, in America, and the whole of the free world. You’ve got people who are absolutely right behind you, Your Excellency. We want you to succeed. We want your movement to succeed.

We want democracy. We actually want your people to have a say in how the country is run. And we want Iran to be restored to the family of nations. Yes, Iran, of course, is a member of the UN. Iran has different relations with nearly all countries, and we have those relations, we are carrying on that contract, that full contact with the Iranian government, because we actually feel we should not desert the Iranian people. But please don’t in any way interpret that as support for the regime, which includes all the free loving, democracy loving parliamentarians in our parliament in this country. We despise that because we know that the government has no legitimacy.

So my message to you is very simple. After all, these years of fighting for democracy, for freedom, please, please persevere, don’t give up. You got support in so many places. And I think that in our lifetime, we will see a change of government in your country, we will see a government coming to power that actually has the support and the endorsement of a people, so your country really can then join the whole family of free nations under, hopefully, presidency or premiership in the future. So, we wish you well. Our heart goes out to you and your team and your supporters, and I’m absolutely convinced that you will prevail in the end. Thank you.