MEP Emma Nicholson on the Mojahedin

March 2003

Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, MEP is Vice Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence Policy. She has been a Member of Parliament in the UK and Europe since 1987, and is President of AMAR International Charitable Foundation (Assisting Marsh Arabs and Refugees). Her views on the Mojahedin have been reported by the Iranian news agency IRNA in recent days. These reports are reproduced below:

MEP Nicholson : MKO poses threat to West

Brussels, March 10, IRNA -- The vice-chairman of the foreign relations committee in the European Parliament, Emma Nicholson, said that there is ''incontrovertible proof that the Iraqi regime is financing, directing, arming and training members of the MKO'' (known in Iran as Munafiqin or Hypocrites).

''The MKO presents a serious and growing terrorist threat to the West so much so that the US government froze MKO funds and assets in 1994. The EU did the same two years ago,'' said the British Member of the European Parliament in a letter published in the Brussels-based weekly newspaper 'European Voice'.

Baroness Nicholson wrote the letter in reply to a letter by Danish MEP Ulla Sandbaek in support of the MKO published in the same paper last week.

''I was astonished to read in last week's letters page that Ulla Sandbaek had chosen to ascribe the motives of ''free elections, political pluralism and a secular system of government'' to the international terrorist organization, the Mujahdein Khalq Organisation (MKO),'' wrote Nicholson.

''The MKO has only one thing in common with a modern, progressive movement: the ability to carry out expensive communications campaigns in the West. It is a shame that Sandbaek didn't take a more independent line of inquiry,'' said Nicholson.

Hard evidence, she wrote, show that MKO played a significant part in the chemical massacre against the people of Halabja in 1988, was involved in the suppression of Kuwait in 1990-91 and has been involved in attacks against Kurdish settlements as recently as 1998.

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MEP Nicholson refutes allegations against Shojai

Brussels, March 8, IRNA -- Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Emma Nicholson has rejected claims by a fellow MEP that Zahra Shojai, Iran's presidential advisor on women issues, is a supporter of stoning as a form of capital punishment.

"Her reputation has been unfairly smeared. She (Shojai) does not support the stoning of women and has said that none have been authorized in Iran in two years," the British Liberal Democrat MEP told the European Voice, a weekly paper published in Brussels.

Nicholson said that "one month ago the head of the judiciary (in Iran) issued a ruling forbidding stoning sentences that is binding on the entire Iranian judiciary."

Her comments came after MEP Nelly Maes from the Green Party in Belgium refused to take part in a women's conference in the European Parliament on Wednesday in which Shojai was a key speaker.

"The European Parliament must not host those who advocate medieval punishments such as stoning," Maes said in a press release.

Meanwhile, Iranian Ambassador to Brussels Abolghasem Delfi sent a protest letter to Maes saying her position was based on false information supplied by the MKO terrorist group.

Delfi expressed his astonishment that the MEP refused to attend the conference because of "an unbelievable position based on a series of false information provided by the MKO terrorist group, which has already been placed in the EU list of terrorist organizations."

The ambassador's letter clarified that Shojai has repeatedly expressed her views on the ruling on stoning and that she has said that according to a decree issued by the Iranian judiciary the execution of this ruling has long been stopped in Iran.

The three-day conference entitled "Dialogue between Civilizations: Women's Empowerment" was organized by the charity organization AMAR and the British Council. The London-based AMAR (Assisting Marsh Arabs and Refugees) was founded by Baroness Nicholson in 1991 in the aftermath of the Iraq-Kuwait war.

Dr Zahra Shojai led a six-member women's delegation that included Tehran MP Jamileh Kadivar to the conference.

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