By Staff Writer
The fourth panel at today’s FreeIran Gathering in Paris, hosted by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), shone a light on the ongoing Iranian uprising and the Iran Opposition.
Iran Opposition – NCRI, MEK
We will begin by talking about the Iran Opposition, which is made up of several different groups. The most important of these groups is the NCRI, which is a coalition of democratic Iran Opposition groups, and the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), the largest group in the NCRI.
Moderator Mitchell Reiss, Ambassador, former Director of U.S. State Department Policy Planning and Special Envoy to the Northern Ireland Peace Process, opened the panel by going over some of the MEK’s recent history, including their successful relocation to Albania after constant attacks by the Iranian Regime whilst the MEK were in Camp Liberty, Iraq.
He then explained to the crowd that the MEK, as part of a US plan to appease the mullahs in Iran, was wrongfully placed on the terrorist watch list in the US and Europe. Although delisted in 2012, he explained that the stigma still follows the MEK to this day.
This appeasement is abhorrent, but it’s still going on with Europe trying to save the nuclear deal.
Struan Stevenson, Coordinator for Change in Iran and former President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq, said that Europe should not allow themselves to be blackmailed by the Regime and advised them to follow the US’s lead on the “absurd” nuclear deal, which didn’t have safeguards and allowed the mullahs to fund the Syrian war and other malign activities.
He said: “I have a message for all the companies who have forgotten the words “human rights”; for every dollar that you make in Iran, you will lose $1000 in the US.”
Sid Ahmed Ghozali, former Prime Minister of Algeria, advised that “We should not be appeasing the Iranian regime as it has never stopped the Regime’s warfare against the Middle East or its own people.” He argued that this complacency towards “a regime that has slaughtered hundreds of thousands of its own people, is dangerous to the entire world.”
He noted that the Regime slaughtered over 30,000 MEK members in 1988 and the mullahs responsible have still not been brought to justice.
He said: “The MEK is not just Iran opposition, like in other countries, it is the Iran Resistance. They are the spiritual sons of the MEK members who put down the shah. They have paid the price of 120,000 members.”
Both the MEK and the NCRI are headed by Maryam Rajavi, who leads the fight for a democratic and free Iran, based on 10 principles, including gender equality and universal suffrage. The panellists paid tribute to Maryam Rajavi’s hard work.
Reiss said: “Ten years ago, Maryam Rajavi was largely unknown in the U.S., Europe and the world. Today, she is widely respected as the determined and principal inspiration behind leading the democratic opposition movement. I, for one, cannot wait for her to visit the United States and outline her vision for a new Iran that ends the corruption, creates jobs for Iran’s young people, respects the rights of all its people, and wants to play a constructive role in building a new Middle East.”
Stevenson explained that the mullahs fear Maryam Rajavi and the MEK, because they fear freedom and democracy.
Many of the panellists assessed that she should be invited for a State visit to the US and advocated that the international should respect Maryam Rajavi’s effort and endeavour to work with her to bring about a Free Iran.
Reiss said: “With a new President in the Whitehouse and a new policy towards Iran, the democratic Opposition now has an opportunity to reintroduce itself to the United States… Many in America will rally to your cause, I am confident. If you can persuade them of your democratic credentials, your desire for a better future for all the people of Iran, an Iran that should be guided by the ten principles articulated by Madam Rajavi. “
Stevenson said that Maryam Rajavi should be invited to the UK and the US and advised the international community that they should be preparing for the end of the Regime by supporting Maryam Rajavi and the Iran opposition.
– Panel Discussion: Protests in and the Role of the Opposition https://t.co/2wn0UG4NHt
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) June 29, 2018
Since December, we have seen a major uprising in Iran, with hundreds of thousands of people risking their lives for Regime Change. But, as usual, the Regime sent in the IRGC, who arrested over 8,000, tortured 14 to death in prison and dressed it up as drug overdoses.
Stevenson said: “The people who are taking to the streets have had enough. They see that Iran is stealing their money to finance proxy militants and Assad. They are calling for regime change. The street vendors, who were the backbone of the regime, are now protesting. The interesting thing is that the leaders in Iran are now pointing the blame at the MEK, a group that they once called inconsequentially.”
When the last major wave of protests broke out in Iran in 2009, the US largely ignored it. That’s why Reiss is so pleased with Donald Trump’s new policy on Iran; one that is not based on appeasement, but on supporting the Iranian people.
He said that Trump ’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s 12-step plan for a new deal with Iran was a welcome change.
Reiss said: “This is remarkable progress in a very short period of time. The momentum has clearly started to shift. It is clearly on the side of those who want a democratic, representative Iran that could take its rightful place among the great cultures and countries of the world.”
He then praised Maryam Rajavi, the NCRI, the MEK, and the rest of the Iran opposition for helping to bring the mullahs’ cruelty to light and advocate for a Free Iran.
Reiss said: “We all want the people of Iran to enjoy the benefits of égalité, fraternité, liberté, and today, we are closer to that goal than ever before to realizing it.”
But, Michael Mukasey, former U.S. Attorney General, explained that these current protests were very different from what we’d seen before.
He said: “So as far as the uprisings in Iran there is a material difference between what we saw before and what we see now. These are widespread, they are not confined to Tehran, and they didn’t start in Tehran. They are widespread throughout the country and that is an enormously hopeful sign.”
Ghozali explained that this was not about foreign interventionism.
He said: “The solution is not appeasement or war, but regime change by Iran’s people and the Iran opposition [NCRI / MEK]. If tomorrow the Regime collapses, the people will bring about something more positive.”
Also on the panel were John Baird, former Foreign Minister of Canada, Louis Freeh, former Director of the FBI, and Yves Bonnet, former Governor and Head of France’s Internal Security Service (D.S.T.).