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Broad coalition opposes UK decision to re-establish ties with Iranian regime

NaameShaam_logoNaame Shaam was among a group of Iranian, Arab and Western activists and groups who published an open letter in the Guardian newspaper on 26 June 2014, criticising the British government’s decision to reestablish diplomatic ties with the Iranian regime. Below is the full text of the letter, along with the signatories.


Letters – Beware the game of shadows in Syria

The Guardian, Thursday 26 June 2014

As supporters of the Syrian people’s struggle for freedom and democracy, we are concerned by the British government’s decision to re-establish diplomatic relations with Iran in response to the crisis in Iraq.

There is a grave danger that the Iranian government will see this as a licence to extend its already substantial intervention in Syria in support of its client – the Assad regime – which could not have survived this long without Iranian support.

Thousands of troops from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the Basij militia are actively fighting in Syria on the regime’s side, as are Iran’s proxies, Hezbolah and the Iraqi Shia militias. To ally with Iran in order to combat ISIS is deeply ironic, since there is considerable evidence that the Syrian regime has been colluding with Isis: Assad’s air force bombs civilians, schools, markets and hospitals without mercy but declined to attack Isis’s massive headquarters in Raqqa until the Iraq crisis erupted.

The Syrian regime has been playing a game of shadows in which this covert collusion with the growth of Isis has been used to undermine the democratic opposition and strengthen its own claim to be a bulwark against “terrorism”. To accept Iran – and by implication Bashar al-Assad – as allies in the fight against Isis is to fall for this deception.



– Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner

Haytham Alhmawi, director of Rethink Rebuild Society

Reem Al-Assil, activist

– Adam Barnett, journalist

James Bloodworth, editor of Left Foot Forward

Mark Boothroyd, International Socialist Network

Sasha Crow, founder of Collateral Repair Project for Iraqi and Syrian Refugees

Naomi Foyle, writer and coordinator of British Writers in Support of Palestine

Christine Gilmore, Leeds Friends of Syria

Bronwen Griffiths, writer and activist

Juliette Harkin, associate tutor, University of East Anglia

Robin Yassin Kassab, author and co-editor of Critical Muslim

Tehmina Kazi, human rights activist

Maryam Namazie, Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation and Equal Rights Now – organisation against women’s discrimination in Iran

Fariborz Pooya, Worker-communist party of Iran UK

Mary Rizzo, activist, translator and blogger

Christopher Roche, Bath Solidarity

Naame Shaam, campaign group

– Brian Slocock, political scientist and blogger on Syria

David St Vincent, contributing writer and editor, National Geographic Books

Luke Staunton, Merseyside Syria Solidarity Movement – UK

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