Is Jeremy Corbyn telling the truth about his work for Press TV, the propaganda arm of the Iranian regime?
Business Insider, among others, has challenged him to substantiate this claim:
“I presented other programmes in which I was able to raise a number of human rights issues, not just in Iran but other countries as well – and the money I was paid, which wasn’t an enormous amount actually, went on my constituency office.”
On whether he accepts criticism for appearing on Press TV, he added:
“Obviously, they are free to make the criticism they wish.”
“I used the opportunities to address the issues of the Western relationship with the whole region, address the issues of Iraq, and also address issues of human rights – even in a very difficult atmosphere when you’re dealing with countries and governments that clearly don’t have the same human rights agenda that I do or we do around this table.”
John Rentoul is looking forward to seeing the evidence too.
Keep in mind, by the way, that Mr Corbyn is quite particular about platform niceties. When the platform features the wrong type, that is. Here he is on Nick Griffin being grilled on BBC Question Time:
No one should be sharing a platform with an avowed racist and an avowed fascist.
Yet evidently Press TV, a hateful platform if ever there was one, was just fine.
A Khomeinist Rally
Now one thing in Iranian matters is certain – the regime is keen on Mr Corbyn.
So much so that the Islamic Centre of England, a regime outpost in London, invited him to speak at a seminar “to commemorate the auspicious anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran” in 2014. Mr Corbyn’s topic was nothing less than “The Case for Iran”.
A Fine Corbyn Roster
Note that one of Mr Corbyn’s fellow speakers at the seminar was professional “Zionist” spotter Lord Ahmed. In this context, recall that he knows just who to blame for Press TV’s travails in this country.
Another speaker was Press TV veteran Roshan Salih. He is a regime fan, as you will see in this article where he says “it is a fundamentally decent government run by a fundamentally decent man”. It was of course busy shooting and torturing peaceful protesters in Iran at the time.
An interesting angle – in that article, Mr Salih says:
But the most oft-repeated canard about Press TV is that we are Holocaust deniers. Just last week the TUC made it clear that it is no longer willing to co-operate with us because of an article questioning aspects of the Holocaust that appeared on our website. Several MPs and other prominent people have taken the same view.
This was in 2009. At that time the channel was indeed already known as a grotesque hate platform, including the promotion of Holocaust denial, which was widely criticised. This was the year that Mr Corbyn started working for Press TV. He continued up to 2012.
Sayyed Hassan al-Sadr was another speaker. He is a representative of Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of the rabble that killed scores of British troops in Iraq.
In sum, perfect company for Mr Corbyn.
“Making the Case”
On to Mr Corbyn’s words at the rally. In this tape, he is introduced as a “very dear friend”. Corbyn quickly reciprocates, calling the Islamic Centre of England “a wonderful centre” and saying “it is a “great honour” to be there.
Corbyn soon hits his usual apologist stride. At two minutes in, he hails “the inclusivity, the tolerance and the acceptance of other faiths, other traditions, and other ethnic groupings within Iran”. Iranian Jewish and Ahwazi Arab exiles, among others, should simply shut up, presumably. In this instance Corbyn is referring to an earlier speech by the Centre’s director which was an ode to Khomeini.
Corbyn is also echoing words in a post on his own website. They have since been airbrushed from internet history, like so much of that part of his record, but not before they were noted.
The Jewish community has always been present in Tehran; the Zoroastrians have always been there, as have people of many other faiths. There is much to be very proud of in the history of Iran and in the tolerance of ordinary people in Iran towards those of different faiths.
Turning back to the speech, at five minutes in Mr Corbyn’s favourite “it’s our fault” dirge begins. “The problems of today stem from the history of relations and the history of European relations with all the countries in the region”, he sighs.
On he drones in this tape. Just before two minutes in, he laments the “demonisation” of Iran, without offering any examples.
From three minutes in he turns to nuclear issues, noting that he is against nuclear power but immediately adding that he “recognises” that countries do have rights to develop nuclear power and hey, Iran has signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. Cue another incurable tic – Israel is the real problem.
He moves on to praising Iran for being helpful in the Syrian conflict. No, really.
Human rights in Iran finally come up next. There is nothing to worry about, really:
I also recognise that Iran is a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which I also attend, and Iran, like every other country, must undergo its universal periodic review. Every country has to undergo it. And I raised these questions with the foreign minister during our visit [to Iran] and the assurance was given that the full response will be given at the UN Human Rights Council in June, as is required.
That’s it. That’s all he has to say.
As if he is worried that even these lines may have offended the Khomeinist audience, he follows up immediately with this:
The message I got from my visit was that Iran is a country that is strong, a country with the most amazing history.
He comes to a close with a salute:
I respect Iran’s history. I respect what brought about the revolution in 1979.
Praising the IHRC
The self-styled Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) is another Khomeinist outfit in London. It organises the annual Israel hatred festival of Al Quds Day, which Corbyn himself has attended. Hezbollah banners and placards of Khomeini are de rigueur on Quds marches. The IHRC also champions terrorists, including Abu Hamza. For good measure, it spits on terrorists’ victims.
So, what’s not to like? With the Islamic Centre of England as a backdrop, Mr Corbyn sings the IHRC’s praises.
I like the way it works, I like the sense of values surrounding it, and I’ve found them extremely helpful in bringing cases to my attention of individual abuses of human rights that they’re concerned about. But also general issues concerning the rights of people in the Middle East. The situation in Iraq and Afghanistan. And I’ve found them generally extremely helpful, extremely positive, and help to challenge the notion that human rights is somehow or other something based on Romano-Christian law and based on Europe rather than the rest of the world.
I like the concept that Islamic Human Rights Commission represents all that’s best in Islam concerning the rights of individuals to free expression, to peaceful assembly, and the rights of individuals within a society.
A scene from Al Quds Day
A Shameful Episode
To conclude, see this shameful and revealing tape. It records a pro-regime demonstration outside the US Embassy in London in 2012.
Some Iranians call for freedom for their country with a banner. Stopper thugs led by Chris Nineham tear it down. Jeremy Corbyn and Lindsey German harangue the Iranians for freedom from the platform. The Hezbollah banners are left untouched, of course. There were also shouts of “Long live Hezbollah! Long live Ahmadinejad!” from the crowd.
Mr Corbyn is so deluded that he probably believes, quite sincerely, that engaging in apologetics for a brutal Khomeinist regime is a good way to stand up for human rights.
Most of us will instead see his behaviour for what it is – a travesty and a betrayal of the oppressed.
[IMAGE REMOVED – see explanation below]
Explanation of removed image
We have had to, with regret, take down a photograph showing Jeremy Corbyn posing in front of the flag of terrorist organisation Hezbollah. The blogger, Samuel Hardy, has asserted his copyright in response to a request from Mr Corbyn’s office to remove the photo both from his own blog and elsewhere because they were “quite worried about it”. As someone sympathetic to Mr Corbyn and his causes, Mr Hardy has decided to comply – hence his demand that we remove his photograph. While we are confident that there is a strong “fair use” and “public interest” defence to the use of his photo, it is often tiring and futile to fight the censorious chilling effect those wishing to keep information out of the public domain have had on the actions of various service providers. Many simply do not wish to get involved in such disputes. In this instance, Mr Hardy provided one of our service providers and ourselves with two news articles outlying his position. In the interests of transparency we have reproduced screen grabs of a portion of these articles for the purpose of information about this dispute. You may also view the articles in their entirety at The Independent and the Huffington Post. There is also, for balance, an article worth reading on the Israelicool website entitled: “Proof That Photographer Samuel Hardy Lied To Press To Cover Up For Corbyn”.