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“Iran’s Democratic Revolution”; ISJ Conference at European Parliament 

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On Wednesday, the International Committee in Search of Justice (ISJ) held a conference introducing its latest book, “Iran’s Democratic Revolution.” The event was attended by several renowned politicians who expressed their support for the Iranian people’s uprising and Resistance, underlining that it is high time for Western powers to stand on the right side of history and cut all ties with the clerical regime.  

They also referred and endorsed the leading role of the Iranian opposition, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), its parent coalition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and the NCRI’s president-elect, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, in guiding the Iranian society and mobilizing the world community for a free Iran.  

The first speaker of this conference was one of the co-chairs of ISJ, the former European Parliament’s Vice President, Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras. In His opening remarks, he said: “We see how thousands and thousands of Iranians all over the country, in more than 200 cities and belonging to all social sectors, are protesting in the streets, are demanding regime change.” 

“This uprising is different from previous ones because it’s not based on concrete demands on salaries, life conditions, problems with health services or transport, or the environment. No, it’s a political protest that demands regime change. People are saying, ‘Death to the dictator.’ We want democracy; we want to be free.’ The women want a republic, a democracy where they can exercise their rights,” he added.  

He also underlined that the ISJ’s recent book, “is an analysis of this protest from different perspectives from different angles. For instance, their regime tactics, the role of the international community, the features of an alternative, how it should be an alternative to the present dictatorship, and the political implications. So, it’s a little book, but we are very happy with the result because it’s a comprehensive description and analysis of this uprising.”  

Former U.S. Senator Robert Torricelli was among the speakers of Wednesday’s event. Senator Torricelli, who contributed to this book, compared the situation in Iran with the one prior to Shah’s downfall in 1979. “When I was a young lawyer, just out of law school, I worked in the Carter White House, and I was there on the day the Shah came to visit President Carter, where he gave his infamous remarks that Iran was an island of stability one year before the Shah fell. And it’s somewhat like living through it again.”  

“The revolution now taking place on the streets of Iran is so eerily similar to the revolution against the Shah. It is national. It is not localized. It is across all economic and social strata. It is not seeking a reform of the regime; it is seeking an end to the regime in those very important ways,” he added.  

“This revolution is very similar to the successful efforts to overtake the Shah and, unfortunately, also similar is the international community. Whether it is for economic reasons or political reasons, particularly in Europe and the United States, there has been a desire to go the extra mile. Whatever could be done to resurrect a relationship with the mullahs, to restore normal [relations] with the regime, they’ve attempted to do.”  

Senator Torricelli also criticized Western countries’ appeasement policy toward the regime, particularly the U.S. turning a blind eye to the regime’s malign activities.

“In the case of the United States, overlooking overwhelming evidence from the deaths of our Marines in Lebanon 30 years ago to the attack on the Khobar, to terrorist activities across Europe and the violation of nuclear accords and the massive human rights violations and deaths inside Iran. The ability of the United States government to cast a blind eye to the regime in the false hope that there would be some internal reform has been tragic and historic. Not unlike the Shah. I think that the comparison stands, but at the moment, the weight of it all is just too much.”  

The former U.S. Senator from New Jersey also highlighted that, unlike some talking points, there is a revolution in the making in Iran, and it needs to be supported instead of seeking negotiations with the moribund regime.

“First, people who thought that this revolt in the streets of Iran would pass quickly have been proven wrong. This is real, and it is permanent. And second, I think any hopes that the nuclear accord would be resurrected given time if we were just patient and put up with more bad behavior.” 

“I think slowly the Biden administration is changing its policy and what I think broke its back was the arming of the Russians with drones in Ukraine. It’s just finally too much bad behavior. It’s just incredible that it took quite so long to get here.”  

Senator Torricelli also stressed the need to support the Iranian people’s organized Resistance, namely the MEK and the NCRI. “The international community needs to coalesce behind the diaspora community of Iran and the opposition, understanding that somewhere in this opposition is part of, if not the leadership of, a new Iranian government. And of course, like many Americans, in fact, an enormous amount of our Congress, we’re urging the administration to embrace the MEK even more closely, go beyond consultation to actually helping them bring this coalition together.”  

“Understanding the unique role of Mrs. Rajavi and that there really is no other opposition group with the resources, the history, the focus, the willingness to sacrifice, and the ability to actually help form a government. Many of us in the international community have understood that it’s time for the state department and, of course, foreign ministries of Europe to accept the same. But I believe that is going to happen. Particularly as evidence comes out that while there is much about the protests in Iran that are spontaneous, there’s also much which has been organized,” he said, highlighting the MEK’s role and Mrs. Maryam Rajavi’s leadership in the struggle against the regime.  

“The one thing that I’ve ever seen the Mullahs say that I agree with is that the MEK has played a central role in organizing these protest units across the country to take advantage of the spontaneous uprising against the regime,” he concluded.  

“The religious dictatorship in Iran has, for over 100 days, sought to incarcerate and murder those who challenge the regime in the name of democracy and freedom. But across the entire country of Iran, there’s also great hope that the days of repression are coming to an end, that the days of their corrupt leaders are numbered, and that a democratic and secular Iran will emerge, ending the decades-long struggle to overthrow the oppressors,” said Ambassador Robert Joseph, former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security and Special Envoy for Nonproliferation. 

“There is a realization that the regime will never be the same, that its days are numbered, and that its fate is sealed. It may not happen today or tomorrow, but it will happen. The great people of Iran have had enough, and their sacrifices will not be in vain.”  

In his speech, Ambassador Joseph called out the appeasement policy while underlining that “It’s now imperative that the west understand the historical implications of the unfolding Iranian revolution, a revolution that cuts across all sectors of society. It’s imperative that the west abandoned policies of appeasement that were built on fantasies and illusions about the nature of the regime.”  

He also stressed the need to support the Iranian people’s organized Resistance movement. He also referred to the efforts made by the MEK and NCRI to mobilize the international community against the regime by exposing the mullahs’ malign activities. 

“It is imperative that the west support the Iranian people in their time of struggle. It is imperative that the west recognize the important role played by the NCRI and MEK in their historical fight for freedom and justice and their role in setting the foundation for a democratic Iran, a secular, nonnuclear Iran that respects the rights of all of its peoples with the equality of the sexes and without regard to religion or ethnicity. It’s imperative that the west recognize the essential role played by Maryam Rajavi, her leadership, and her vision.”  

Pointing to the regime’s demonization campaign against the MEK and NCRI, as well as Mrs. Rajavi, Ambassador Joseph underlined that these efforts are because Mrs. Rajavi “represents the greatest danger to their very survival.”  

“We must recognize the true nature of the regime’s propaganda. We must reject it and refute it. The truth will prevail over the lies of the regime.”

“The light of a democratic Iran will replace the sinister darkness of the past 40 years. So let me congratulate the authors who contributed to the anthology Iran’s Democratic Revolution,” he added.  

“Together, the chapters provide a unique set of insights into the long, hard struggle for a free Iran. They also provide a deep understanding of the movement that is changing Iran from dictatorship to democracy. As I say in my endorsement of the book, the articles send a powerful message to policymakers and governments across the globe that a new era has begun in Iran and that the voice of the Iranian people must be heard. Let me also congratulate the authors and the supporters of the recent European Parliament resolution on the EU response to the arrests and executions in Iran. It is both convincing and direct and should, in my view, be required reading for all policymakers throughout Europe and in my own country,” he said, referring to the ISJ book and the recent European Parliament’s resolution condemning the regime. 

“The resolution vividly describes the sheer brutality of the regime’s response to the calls for freedom in the streets of almost every city across Iran. Its condemnations capture the true nature of the religious dictatorship, its repression, its cynicism, its corruption, its disregard for the basic human rights and dignity of the Iranian people, the very evilness that is at the core of the regime.”  

“The many demands put forth in the resolution would go a long way to address the injustices that the Iranian people are suffering every day. Ending the executions and imprisonment of those whose only crime is the quest for freedom should be a demand voiced by every civilized government. So should the demand to end arbitrary arrests of foreign nationals and the call to allow for an international impartial and effective investigation into the regime’s human rights abuses,” he added.  

“But we all know that the regime will reject such demands. The regime cannot change, it cannot concede, it cannot reform, as doing so would only hasten its end. This is the classic paradox of tyranny and why such regimes cannot survive. What is critical is to support the Iranian people by taking meaningful actions that can be seen by the victims of the regime’s repression. These include actions contained in the resolution, such as the call on member states to add the IRGC and its subsidiary forces, the Bajis and the Quds Force to the EU terrorist list,” Ambassador Joseph added, pointing to the need for Western government to adopt a firm policy regarding the regime. 

“This would strike another blow at a major instrument of repression in Iran and aggression throughout the region. Similarly, the call to expand the EU sanctions list to all individuals and entities responsible for human rights violations, as well as their family members, including the supreme leader, the president, and the prosecutor general, is another important step to show solidarity with the people of Iran and to hold accountable those guilty of crimes against humanity. Let me end by saying that this is a new day for Iran, one that we have all been waiting for and working for, in many cases, with great personal sacrifice. We must urge our countries to act in a way that will reflect their best principles and highest values. Their actions will be judged by history, as will ours,” he concluded.  

“It’s a very difficult moment. It’s a very tragic moment in many things, but it’s also a very hopeful moment. Because it is true that the regime has come to an end. They have no possibility of evolution. They have no space in time for developing anymore in any way, in any direction. That is a reality which is very palpable and which is what gives this hope,” said MEP Hermann Tertsch who spoke next.  

After referring to the Iranian regime’s decades of crime, he said: “I think we have to multiply pressures. We have to be very aware that this hurt or this agonizing monster of a regime has many ways of prolonging this, in postponing its death. And among them is corruption”  

“Among them are the connections with sources and with forces that are not only being helped by this regime or people who are supported by this regime, people who are corrupted by this regime, and people who have a global system of repression, corruption, dictatorship, terror, as many other regimes have which are connected, intimately connected with the regime in Iran and which want to help this regime to survive. Because they need this regime as one of their specific and very special allies in this evil empire and this evil alliance that we have in the world,” he added.  

Yet, he underlined that “We have to be very sober in this situation. We have to know the regime is not going to fall by itself, the regime is incapable of doing anything positive. But it is very capable of prolonging suffering for the Iranian people for a long time. So we have to be very aware of who is helping this regime and how this regime, the life of this regime can be shortened.”  

MEP Tertsch stressed that the Iranians have “the capability of creating terror in the whole Middle East. We have seen they have kidnapped half of Iraq, if not all of Iraq has been kidnapped by the regime of the mullahs. We have Syria and we have South America. And many people are here in this parliament. They don’t like that you speak about South America and the presence of Iran and Hezbollah in South America and the terror network and drug dealing network and laundry network of Iran in South America and they don’t like it.”  

Regrating the EU’s High Representative, Josep Borrell’s stand on the regime’s human rights abuses he said: “We know there were thousand five hundred students killed in Iran in 2019 and that was in November or December. Beginning of February, Mr. Borrell was in Tehran smiling to the butchers of these 1500 students and that life should go on.” He asserted that Borrell and the EU turned a blind eye to the regime’s crimes to achieve the nuclear agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). “And then we had the JCPOA. And that was the most important thing was we had to come to an agreement with Tehran because behind the agreement with Tehran, with a regime, with this criminal regime, who just had killed so many young students, some Iranian students killed in the streets of different cities. Soon after this, weeks after this, we were speaking about we had to come to an agreement because if we come to an agreement, we would have many industries very happy in Europe that could have prospects of investments and of production in Iran after some sanctions are lifted.”  

“Now they are too ashamed to speak about lifting sanctions. Now they are speaking about imposing sanctions, but they’re imposing very little sanctions”  

MEP Tertsch also expressed criticism that the regime’s “Revolutionary Guards is not on the list of terrorists.”

“No country has taken the step yet. And someone has to be the first one so that others follow and they have to do it. And nobody has done it in this meeting [EU Foreign Ministers Council] some days ago. And I have some news that there are some boasting mullahs from the regime saying that they have assurances from Mr. Borrell that there will be no such inclusion in the terror list of the Revolutionary Guards. If this is true, Mr. Borrell should resign today,” he said adding that Borrell “is bound to the resolutions of the European Parliament and he is sabotaging the resolutions.”  

“So we have all to know the enemy, the regime, the dictatorship in Iran is dying. But we have really to push it and to be very aware that we have to fight and to fight without hesitation and without any kind of tiredness to get it really disappear off the earth,” the MEP from Spain said in his remarks, adding that if “We let things go as they are, there are so many interests that we can have this agonizing, incapable, in total incapacity and a regime that can’t deliver and can’t offer anything to their people but repression and terror and nothing else. We can have this regime for years and years and years going on.”  

“So we have to react. We have to be aware. The Iranian people have to be ready to fight this criminal regime to the very end. And democrats all over the world have to denounce and really accuse the culprits and the accomplices of this regime. If they are here in the Commission if they are here in the European Parliament if they are all over the places where they are, and they are in many places. So, as I say, awareness, consciousness, the fight is not over. And we will win this fight, but the fight is long not over yet,” MEP Hermann Tertsch concluded.