Addressing an international conference on Tuesday, January 25, in Brussels, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, said, the three-decade-old policy of attempting to change the Iranian regime’s behaviour has failed.
She stressed, “The ruling regime is not only incapable of reform, but its inherent weakness has rendered it unable to accept any compromise.”
Speakers at the conference included, General James Jones, President Obama’s National Security Adviser until late 2010 and former commander of the Allies in Europe; Bill Richardson, former Energy Secretary and US ambassador to UN during President Clinton’s administration and Governor of New Mexico until 2011; Michael Mukasey, former US Attorney General until 2010; John Bolton, Deputy Secretary of State and US Ambassador to UN; and Ambassador Dell Dailey, Assistant Secretary of State in counterterrorism affairs during President Bush both terms, and also Alejo Vidal-Quadras, Vice President of the European Parliament; Jim Higgins, Quaestor of the European Parliament; and Senator Dirk Claes, Quaestor of Belgium Senate.
The following is the text of Mrs. Rajavi’s speech at the conference:
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is indeed a pleasure to be here.
This conference on the Iranian crisis is being held following yesterday morning’s execution of two political prisoners by the religious fascism ruling Iran, which has shocked and saddened Iranians all over the world.
Jafar Kazemi and Mohammad Ali Haj Aghaie were heroic prisoners of conscience, each of whom underwent torture and persecution while in captivity. In the past few days, they were taken to the gallows twice and asked to choose between execution and repentance. But, they remained faithful until their last breath to the ideal of the Iranian people’s freedom.
In order to pay homage to their steadfastness and to soothe the pain of the Iranian people, let us stand and applaud for one minute in honour of their life and their struggle.
Iran’s real history will never forget Jafar Kazemi and Mohammad Ali Haj Aghaie. Neither will it forget Ali Saremi, Iran’s most prominent political prisoner, and Hossein Khezri, the courageous son of the people of Iranian Kurdistan, both of whom were hanged a month ago.
Yesterday’s executions were a criminal act of vengeance against the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), because the mullahs are enraged over the PMOI’s role in the uprisings last year as well as the popularity which Ashraf enjoys among Iranians.
Yesterday, the friends of these heroes, including their family members in Camp Ashraf, held a memorial for them as did tens of thousands in Iran and across the world. Regrettably, the Iraqi police assaulted and opened fire on Ashraf residents to prevent the memorial in order to mollify the medieval regime in Iran. Those in Ashraf held the memorial nevertheless, but the pressures and persecution at the Camp continue unabated.
In truth, the mullahs are displaying their desperation in the face of the Iranian people’s resistance. They describe those executed as “Mohareb” (“waging war on God”) because they had visited Ashraf and, with utmost bravery, supported the Resistance movement. Nevertheless, let me repeat that if striving and struggling to achieve freedom and democracy is perceived as “Moharebeh,” then we and the entire Iranian nation are Moharebs and proud of it.
On the surface, it appears that due to the regime’s rule, the Iranian people have nothing but tears, blood and empty hands.
But let me tell my compatriots that in your thirst for freedom and in the perseverance of your children in the struggle to change this regime lay a tremendous power, which will ultimately establish liberty.
Today, the tide of change in North Africa and the Middle East and the yearning of the oppressed people for freedom again remind us of the reality that the days of the mullahs’ regime are numbered. You saw that in the uprisings last year, the Iranian people chanted a thousand times: “Down with the principle of velayat-e faqih [absolute clerical rule].” And they will no doubt make this a reality.
The mullahs lack all legitimacy, stability and popular support.
As the Iranian Resistance’s Leader Massoud Rajavi has said, “If Europe and the United States had not labelled the PMOI as terrorists, without a doubt there would have been no sign of the velayat-e faqih regime today.”
For this reason, today, I appear before you as a messenger from the Iranian people and Resistance. And our message is this: Recognize the right of the Iranian people to change the regime.
The policy of appeasement, which guided the West’s approach towards Iran in the past three decades, has failed in every test while having its theoretical foundations eroded.
It has now become crystal clear that:
- Stability and calm in Iraq, Lebanon or Afghanistan are to the detriment of the Iranian regime, which is why it will never support it;
- A firm stance towards the regime will not rally the Iranian people around it;
- And the regime has found it in its pragmatic interests to maintain its confrontational posture.
As a result,
- It neither accepts incentive packages, nor cares for engagement, and nor does it agree to unconditional negotiations.
- On the eve of the Second World War, the Nazi regime’s foreign minister was asked: Do you want the border region of Poland, Danzig or the Danzig corridor?
- He replied, ‘none, we want war.’
- Today, what the mullahs want is the bomb, dominating Iraq and enchaining the Iranian people.
Why? Because they realize they are on their last leg.
Indeed, the era of illusions about the mullahs’ regime has come to an end.
Crafting a correct policy toward the Iranian regime is no longer a search in the dark. The lessons of history in the past 30 years have pointed to important realities about which observers from all political stripes share common ground.
First, the three-decade-old policy of attempting to change the Iranian regime’s behaviour has failed.
Second, the ruling regime is not only incapable of reform, but its inherent weakness has rendered it unable to accept any compromise.
Third, this regime has emerged as the most immediate threat to global peace and security.
Fourth, this fundamentalist regime, as the most active state sponsor of terrorism, must not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons.
Fifth, the regime’s meddling in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Afghanistan must end.
Sixth, silence and indifference vis-à-vis the violations of human rights in Iran must end. Firm and global sanctions especially oil sanctions must be imposed on this regime.
Seventh, the Iranian people have demonstrated that they want change in Iran and that they are worthy of freedom and prosperity as well as democracy. And they must achieve these goals.
We call on the world community to adopt a new policy based on these common grounds.
Religious dictatorship in Iran must end. This can be achieved neither through war nor appeasement. The solution, rather, is the Third Option, namely democratic change by the Iranian people and the Resistance.
After outlining these common grounds, I would like to address an issue about which there are different and even contradictory views. It involves the debate whether or not one should negotiate with the mullahs’ regime.
Upon a serious examination of this matter, we would come to realize that the dispute is not really over negotiations per se, but about our understanding and assessment of the regime’s fundamental nature.
No one should reject negotiations outright as a means of resolving international disputes. Nevertheless, during seven years of talks involving the EU Troika and P5+1 countries, the mullahs never accepted the conditions for negotiations. Consider the complete failure of the Istanbul talks. Even there, the mullahs revealed their brazen ambition for acquiring the bomb and the domination of Iraq.
Obviously, such behaviour is not the product of a miscalculation or naïveté. It comes about because we are dealing with a medieval regime. It is because suppression, terrorism and warmongering are vital to the regime’s existence. Its defence mechanism consists of a confrontational approach.
So, when during negotiations, you ask the regime’s representatives to abandon human rights abuses, terrorism or nuclear weapons, you are in effect asking them to destroy the pillars which keep them upright.
Basing our views on the experiences obtained in three decades of an all-out struggle against this regime, we have always told western countries that if you can force the regime to retreat, even a step or two, over its nuclear weapons program, export of terrorism or human rights, through negotiations, please go ahead and make a deal. If, however, you make concessions to the regime at the expense of the Iranian people and Resistance, you are in fact sacrificing not only the Iranian people but also peace in the region and in the world and you will register the worst political failure under your name.
We offer another option: Stand with the Iranian people.
The West’s policy towards Iran in the past 30 years has systematically led to one mistake after another. However, we have not come here to admonish the past. We have come to build the future. So, let’s consider what triggered these mistakes.
After a comprehensive analysis, we realize that two fundamental errors were the source of these miscalculations.
First, buying into the mullahs’ pretentions that their repressive ways are a sign of power and popularity.
Second, to ignore the realistic solution to the Iranian problem, namely the Iranian people and Resistance. Undoubtedly, ignoring the Resistance has strengthened the illusion that the mullahs’ regime cannot be changed.
For years, Western countries justified placating the mullahs by suggesting that there is no other alternative but this regime.
For years, both the United States and Europe justified their inaction vis-à-vis the regime by saying that they did not want to interfere in Iran’s internal affairs. Yet, through the terrorist label, they shackled the most important alternative in Iran and effectively interfered in Iran’s affairs albeit in favour of the ruling regime.
For years, the West justified this label by asserting that it sought to moderate or contain the mullahs. This major concession to the mullahs, like feeding a crocodile, has made them even greedier and more extremist. What is more, the outcome of pursuing a strategy of strengthening the moderates in the regime was Ahmadinejad.
By looking at the source of the dispute, we come to realize that the notions of buying into the regime’s prowess and excluding the Resistance inside Iran has in essence been concocted by the regime itself.
If this movement lacks support and is irrelevant, then:
- Why have the mullahs made its terrorist designation the number one priority in their international diplomacy?
- Why have they been endlessly crying out since a year ago that the People’s Mojahedin played a decisive role in the uprisings?
- Why are they so afraid of an unarmed and besieged Ashraf and relentlessly conspire against it?
- Why have they signed a bilateral agreement with the Iraqi government to suppress Ashraf?
- And why do they prosecute as Mohareb anyone who has visited Ashraf?
Here, too, the mullahs are not reacting blindly or irrationally. In their words and deeds, the mullahs have identified Ashraf as a symbol of Resistance. And this is the reality.
Ashraf embodies a correct strategy and policy: Persevering to change the regime in its totality instead of rapprochement with the ruling dictatorship.
The mullahs fear the Resistance because it has offered a political and cultural alternative with deep roots in Iranian society. This alternative has a 45-year history of struggle for freedom. It is the flag bearer of 120,000 brave women and men who have given their lives to the cause of freedom during the past three decades.
This alternative has at the core of its platform the establishment of a republic based on the separation of church and state, gender equality, political pluralism and defending the rights of ethnic and religious minorities.
Owing to the fact that its main component, the PMOI, adheres to a democratic and tolerant Islam, this alternative is an effective antithesis to a regime which has created a terrorist dictatorship under the banner of Islam. The PMOI has challenged the mullahs’ evil ideology by espousing an Islam characterized by its adherence to freedom and political and religious tolerance.
Fortunately, today, policy makers and parliamentarians from a wide array of political tendencies across the world have risen up in support of this solution. This broad and non-partisan call has found the correct policy in removing the unjust terror label from the PMOI.
Also, many in the world, consistent with the judgment of Spain’s national court, have underscored the legal status of the residents of Ashraf as protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
I take this opportunity to urge the US Secretary of State to end this misguided legacy.
Undoubtedly, if law and justice are taken to be the yardsticks, this designation cannot be upheld. Indeed, as the Iranian Resistance’s Leader Massoud Rajavi has said, “Where there is even a trace of law and an iota of freedom and conscience, let there be no doubt that we will triumph.”
Accordingly, I call on Western governments, particularly the United States, to recognize the rights of the Iranian people to resist against the religious fascism ruling Iran. America’s credibility is at stake.
We want the same rights for the Iranian people which have been enshrined in America’s Declaration of Independence since almost 235 years ago: The right to “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness,” and “whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government...”
We have never asked and will never ask the United States or any other country to send their young men and women to a war with the mullahs. We do, however, ask them to remove the obstacles they have placed on the path of change in Iran.
Delisting the PMOI, upholding the US obligations to protect Ashraf, taking urgent action to end the inhuman siege of the camp and abolishing the illegal committee to suppress Ashraf constitute the imperative steps to this end.
I call on all governments across the world to recognize the Iranian people’s Resistance for regime change. And I urge the world community to rush to the aid of Ashraf.
Thank you very much.