It's happened. Jeremy Corbyn has finally broken his silence on Iran. To be fair, he was rather forced into doing so when Andrew Marr raised the topic live on air this morning. Marr put to the Labour leader – who says ‘to stay neutral in times of injustice is to side with the oppressor’ – that he had gone rather quiet on Iran after over 20 people died and more gone missing following clashes between protesters and security forces.
Corbyn started of by saying Marr had been reading the Daily Mail too often. “I did some programmes for Press TV” he said. “I ceased to do any programmes when they treated the Green Movement the way that they did.”
This is flatly untrue. Corbyn continued to take money from Iran’s regime through his appearances on Press TV until 2012 - well after the reformist Green movement was ruthlessly put down in 2009 and hundreds of pro-democracy campaigners were killed and thousands imprisoned or driven into exile.
Corbyn was paid as much as £20,000 for his five appearances on Press TV between 2009 and 2012, according to his register of interests, on the House of Commons database. He then claimed that he said all human rights abuses should be called out:
I also, at all of those occasions, made my voice very clear about human rights abuses, because I want to lead a government that puts human rights at the centre of its foreign policy - no matter how uncomfortable it is with any government around the world.
Where is the recorded example of this? He did tell Press TV that he “profoundly disagreed with the death penalty,” but that was when he was referring to the death of Osama bin Laden, not anyone executed in Iran.
He was even paid to appear on Press TV six months after the channel had its license revoked and was banned from broadcasting in the UK for its part in airing the forced confession of Newsweek’s Iran correspondent, Maziar Bahari.
Funny how the memory can slip – but Mr S is more than happy to be of assistance to the Labour leader.