IT is a sad reflection on SNP foreign policy that Alex Salmond’s recent grandstanding visit to Tehran “(Salmond’s SNP visit to Iran condemned as an ‘ego trip’", The Herald, December 23 placed commercial interests ahead of human rights. According to the state-controlled Iranian media, our former First Minister denounced the West’s 25 years of sanctions against Iran, claiming that Western policy on Iran had been "fundamentally wrong".’ He then went on to hail the recent nuclear deal with Iran as “the single most positive development in international relations over the last year".

Making such statements in Tehran provides the fundamentalist mullah-regime with a propaganda victory. It proves how far out of his depth Alex Salmond has become in his role as SNP spokesman on foreign affairs at Westminster. While he was seeking to establish new markets for Scottish goods “based on the sound Scottish principle of enlightened self-interest”, political prisoners are still being tortured and executed in Iran’s medieval prisons. Public executions, amputations and floggings are almost daily events.

Iran is a deeply corrupt country. Its fascist leadership thrives on oppression. Iran has many ethnic and religious minorities. Until the arrival of Ayatollah Khomenei in 1979, these communities had been living peacefully and fraternally together for centuries. But these minorities are victims of constant persecution. They face arbitrary detention, torture, unfair trials and extrajudicial executions, as well as the destruction of their cemeteries and holy places. More than 2,000 people have been hanged under the so-called “moderate” leadership of President Rouhani. Women are treated as an inferior species and regularly abused and repressed by the misogynist mullahs. Many young women have been blinded and disfigured in acid attacks condoned by the State simply for the offence of not wearing their veil properly. Apparently Mr Salmond is oblivious to these crimes.

Mr Salmond’s visit to Tehran was a windfall for a regime whose biggest export is terror; a regime which funds Hizbollah in Lebanon, Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the Houthi rebels in Yemen and the brutal Shi’ite militias in Iraq. It was a windfall for the mullahs’ nuclear programme, which far from being suspended, will now be accelerated and it is a windfall for Iran’s expanding ballistic missile programme, which has intercontinental missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads and striking targets in Israel, Saudi Arabia or even Europe, some of which they recently tested in naked defiance of the nuclear pact.

If the SNP really wants to be seen as a serious player at Westminster it should keep Alex Salmond and his burgeoning ego on a tight leash.

Struan Stevenson,

President, European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA),