Hubert Védrine, the Foreign Minister of France (1997-2002), was among the distinguished speakers at the Free Iran World Summit 2023. Praising the progress made by the Iranian Resistance movement, Mr. Vedrine raised a set of questions he found most pressing for the National Council of Resistance of Iran to answer. He called on the NCRI to prepare itself for an imminent change in Iran’s political landscape and the challenges ahead.
Below follows the full and translated script from the former French Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine:
If I have accepted the invitation, it is for three reasons. First, a personal interest, longstanding and genuine, in Iran. Its history, its culture, the country where I have been several times, in a private capacity, once as a minister to meet President Khatami, to see if he had any room to maneuver or not. There was no room to maneuver.
The second reason is a genuine admiration for the courage of the Iranian people, especially women, not only women but especially women, especially since the assassination of Masha Amini. So, it is truly impressive. And it instills confidence. The analysis of the situation in this country, which has been very well explained by all the speakers, gives me the feeling, and this is my third reason, that everything becomes possible.
Everything becomes possible in Iran. And that is why I accepted the opportunity to come here and tell you, Madam, in relation to your enormous and fantastic movement, that you now have a very, very great responsibility. You are not just a courageous movement historically fighting a dictatorship and all that it represents.
You represent, perhaps not the entire future of Iran, but a significant part of Iran’s future. It is a new and enormous responsibility that becomes credible. And we are no longer merely denouncing all the horrors of the dictatorship.
So, I will allow myself to ask the question, I know it is very complicated, but I will not interfere in Iranian domestic politics, not now, not tomorrow. But it is evident that if opponents of the Iranian regime were united, they would be much more powerful. But I will not go further because I am aware of the problems hidden behind this remark. It is simply a remark about political efficacy.
Hubert Védrine, Foreign Minister of #France (1997-2002): You will be asked about the kind of democracy you ask for the future of #Iran. But what kind? You have already answered that.#FreeIran2023 #OurChoiceMaryamRajavi https://t.co/mtxvaftyvb
— Iran News Update (@IranNewsUpdate1) July 1, 2023
Secondly, much will be expected from you in terms of indications of how you conceive of change. You mentioned it earlier. But obviously, that will not be enough. And the more credible the change becomes, the more we will ask you, and perhaps others, but especially you, how you envision the future. Is it possible for there to be a change without tragedy, or with as little tragedy as possible?
These questions will come to you more and more. You will be increasingly asked how you imagine democracy in Iran tomorrow. Vice President Pence said earlier, and I agree, the Iranian people will not want another dictator. So, that leads us to democracy. But what kind of democracy? You have already provided some answers. You have made progress on this complicated terrain.
My prediction is that the questions will become more pressing. How do you conceive of change? How do you envision democracy afterward? How will you manage the transition? What will be the role of justice or politics in the aftermath? Will things be addressed through justice, a constituent assembly, or another process? I do not know what your response will be.
Obviously, it is not up to me, as a French minister passionate about Iran, to answer. It is not my role. But I know that these questions will come to you. And you will have a historical responsibility in your answers, which will weigh on the future. And soon, people will ask, what will the future of Iran be like in relation to others?
I mentioned internal, political, and historical questions concerning Iran. And then, people will say, what will you do next? Obviously, I will not dwell on the nuclear question. It has been mentioned. But the question of neighboring countries, the recent developments between Iran and Saudi Arabia, for example, under Chinese influence, which is an entirely new element in the region. I will not enumerate, but once it is believed that there is a real change on the horizon, we do not know when, but it becomes possible, what will be the future positioning of this new Iran, which we all desire, in relation to its neighbors and major global counterparts?
These are not questions that an ordinary opposition party engaged in the fight, simply the fight, resistance, resistance to repression, the fight against dictatorship, the call for democracy, usually asks. Yes, of course, it is a shock. But I sense that we will move to the next stage.
So, that is roughly what I wanted to say, simply. I mentioned earlier that I would be very brief. I am brief because I would like to be, let’s say, the spokesperson here, in anticipation of all those who will increasingly take an interest in your historic journey and your role in the future, and who will ask you these kinds of questions. And the answers can determine the process. More or less rapid, more or less credible, more or less controlled, to achieve the Iran of tomorrow that we hope to know very soon.