By Potkin Azarmehr
A Times of London exposé last week revealed that a high-ranking Islamic Republic official responsible for the mandatory hijab laws and the hated ‘Morality Police’ in Iran is also the director of a British company that provides immigration advice to the U.K. government.
The report has shocked even the most hardened observers of Iran.
Inside Iran, the news has gone viral, and further convinced many Iranians that the British are behind the mullahs.
For years, many ordinary Iranians have been saying: “Lift up a mullah’s beard, and you’ll see the words ‘Made in England’ written underneath it.” This deep-rooted Iranian cynicism about the British connection with the mullahs is not new. Yet it becomes harder to dismiss with each new piece of evidence that the Iranian regime has carte blanche to go about its activities unhindered in the U.K.
Topping the list of examples of the government of Britain turning a blind eye to Iran’s activities are the five Islamic Centres of England.
The heads of these Islamic Centres are directly appointed by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the so-called Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic. Each time a new head is appointed, they read out Khamenei’s letter of appointment at their inauguration ceremony.
These are not ordinary places of worship engaged in spiritual matters. They are political offices aiming to promote Khomeini’s ideology of political Islam and the export of the Islamic Revolution as enshrined in the regime’s constitution.
The current head of the Islamic Centre of England in the London area of Maida Vale is Seyyed Hashem Mousavi. He is also one of the trustees of a UK registered charity (see image):
The US Treasury has designated Ali Khamenei and all of his direct appointees as “responsible for advancing the regime’s domestic and foreign oppression” and imposed sanctions against them.
These sanctions were applied “to block funds from flowing to a shadow network of Ali Khamenei’s military and foreign affairs advisors who have for decades oppressed the Iranian people, exported terrorism, and advanced destabilizing policies around the world.”
The UK Charities Commission — which aims to “register and regulate charities in England and Wales to ensure that the public can support charities with confidence” in compliance with rules and regulations — would surely have enough justification to shut down a charity connected with Iran’s despotic leader. It seems like a straightforward open-and-shut case.
The UK Charity Commission’s reply to complaints, however, is as follows: “We have an ongoing regulatory compliance case into the Islamic Centre of England to monitor the charity’s compliance with an Official Warning previously issued to the Charity.”
This is a reference to the charity investigating the Islamic Centre for hosting a vigil in memory of Qasem Soleimani, Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force, who was killed in Iraq by the US in January 2020.
It has now been almost three years since the so-called investigation started. The Charities Commission has still not made a decision, nor has it provided any updates.
Even more bizarrely, the Islamic Centre of England received more than 100,000 pounds in British taxpayers’ money under the coronavirus furlough scheme. What could possibly justify paying the employees of a hostile state that chants “Death to England” UK taxpayers’ money? Despite repeated letters by many constituents to their MPs, the question has never been raised in the British parliament for the government to provide any answers.
If the above is not enough to make you pull your hair out — why the UK government is allowing Khamenei’s financial network and political influence to grow in Britain — the Times of London exposé that the UK government has permitted a Khamenei crony to act as its adviser on immigration is simply mind-blowing.
Last week, the UK government declared that it was imposing sanctions on Iran’s ‘Morality Police.’ The fact is, however, that the Iranian ‘Morality Police’ has neither a bank account nor economic activities in the UK, and that this is a meaningless sanction delivered at best to make public opinion feel good.
The Times investigation, on the other hand, has shown that Seyyed Saeid Reza Ameli, an architect of Iran’s mandatory hijab laws and the ‘Morality Police’ — who was also responsible for shutting down the internet during the nationwide anti-regime protests two years ago — does have business activities, companies, a registered charity and at least one property in the affluent Muswell Hill area of London. The question is, why is he not facing sanctions?
Seyyed Said Reza Ameli is currently the chair of Iran’s Cyberspace Policy Research Center, and Secretary and member of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, and the Supreme Council of Cyberspace. He is directly appointed by Ali Khamenei.
The Times investigation shows that he is one of the directors of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, a limited company registered in the UK that has an associated charity, the Islamic Human Rights Commission Trust. And the UK government uses the legal wing of this charity as its approved advisor on immigration!
According to the Times of London, the legal arm of this Islamic-Republic-affiliated charity has “helped nearly 200 people with irregular immigration status to obtain residency in the UK and to have lifted restrictions for 30 others so they can access benefits.”
You can bet your bottom dollar (or pound) that those 200 were not regime opponents of the Islamic Republic, but rather its supporters and agents.
Amnesty International reported last week that “at least 23 children were killed with impunity during the brutal crackdown on youthful protests” in Iran. The outdated, antiquated, worn-out, and anachronistic rule of the Ayatollahs is killing schoolchildren in Iran in order to survive a few days longer.
It is time for the UK authorities to explain why they are allowing the Ayatollah’s regime to continue its activities in Britain unhindered. Is it sheer incompetence? Is it a case that no one wants to be seen tackling for fear of retaliation? Or are the British, as many ordinary people in Iran believe, in bed with the Ayatollahs?
The Islamic Centre of England in Maida Vale adorned with the picture of Ali Khamenei