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American scholar: West's strategic mistake is ignoring MEK, the center of Iranian opposition

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The West has made the 'strategic mistake' of side-lining the Iranian Resistance and instead engaging with the Iranian regime in a fruitless bid to halt their production of a nuclear bomb, a leading Middle Eastern expert has told a conference in Paris.

Dr Walid Phares, professor and commentator on global terrorism and Middle Eastern affairs, also accused the international community of abandoning Iranian dissidents affiliated with the People's Mojaheidn Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) stranded in Camp Liberty in Iraq, which he branded a 'jail'.

He told delegates: "In Iran we see a regime that is oppressive that is supportive of terrorism around the region, we see a regime that is supporting another oppressive regime in Damascus, we see that the regime of Iran is not stopping from building its nuclear weapons and its missiles.

"So they ask question why is this happening? but the West and the United States, my own country, now have to ask themselves what have we done?

"We have committed two strategic mistakes over the past few years. We have failed the Arab Spring.

"In Iran, we have done everything but we have ignored the Iranian people and the executions, tortures and in June 2009 when 1.5 million Iranians rose to freedom and were shaking off the foundation of the mullah regime, we abandoned them as well.

"The strategic mistake was to ignore the center of the Iranian opposition, the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), instead we have engaged with the Khomeini's regime, instead we have been transferring billions of dollars of cash to the Iranian regime hoping that it will stop the nuclear bomb, and they are not."

He added: "We have abandoned the noble cause of a free Iran. We did not leave Iraq with a vibrant exiled Iranian community ready to struggle to regain Iran.

"But the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) have shown the world that they can bring Muslim moderates together with Shiite, with Sunni, with Christians, with Jews."

He told the Paris gathering: "You are the other Iran that everybody is waiting for. You are showing, if liberty comes to Iran, every other country every other civil society would have more hope." " I see that the ayatollahs leaving Iran and a lady who would be the president of Iran."