For four decades, Western governments chased the mirage of moderation within Iran’s ruling theocracy. Each time a mullah, adorned with a deceptive smile and bellowing chants of “global peace,” ascended to the presidency in Tehran, Western powers saw a golden opportunity to catalyze reform within the clerical regime while reaping the rewards of Iran’s abundant natural resources. This myopic pursuit drew sharp criticism from their own politicians, who recognized the fallacy of such wishful thinking.
The world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism has been a greedy and ungrateful business partner. In light of the appeasement policy, Tehran carried out dozens of terrorist attacks across Europe and continued funding militant groups in the Middle East, threatening Western interests and disregarding Western democracies’ countless condemnations of its rampant human rights violations.
The world community’s inaction has emboldened the regime in Tehran, and it has been actively participating in the war in Ukraine by supplying Russia with drones. But the international community still has the opportunity to hold Iran’s terrorist regime accountable for its malign activities.
Indeed, as the regime faces serious domestic challenges and is engulfed with an unprecedented wave of dissent that laid bare its weakness, Western powers can stop the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism from acquiring nuclear weapons without any military intervention. As such, they only need to adhere to their nations’ principles by supporting the Iranian people’s democratic aspirations.
As a first step, they can start by recognizing the Iranian people’s right to self-defense and proscribe the regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a terrorist organization. These steps were once again proposed during a cross-party conference in the European Parliament on May 24, which was attended by dozens of MEPs and Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
In his remarks, MEP Ivan Štefanec from Slovakia reminded European officials that “history teaches us when facing fascism, peace does not work and has a reverse effect” and “In Iran, we have a religious fascist regime that is against all the principles and values we have in Europe.”
He called out the Western governments’ appeasement policy and how “because of their economic interests, have refused to take a hard line with Iran, closing their eyes to many human rights violations.
“For decades, the Iranian Resistance, particularly Mrs. Rajavi, has underlined that Iran’s ruling theocracy cannot be reformed. The Iranian Resistance has paid the price of standing up against the ruling theocracy by sacrificing tens of thousands of its members and supporters. Being in direct contact with the NCRI for many years,” MEP Štefanec said, and added that “the Iranian Resistance has faced a very brutal theocracy, and many protests in these years were brutally repressed,” yet, “Mrs. Rajavi has been saying for years that this regime cannot be reformed. It does not get along with nice language.”
In his remarks, the Slovakian MEP emphasized that “As long as this regime exists, the suppression and exportation of terrorism will continue, as we know, unfortunately, nowadays, during this Russian criminal invasion of Ukraine as well.”
Since the beginning of what many consider Iran’s democratic revolution in September 2022, there have been many so-called “alternatives” and “opposition figures.” Instead of trying to promote the Iranian people’s real demand from the international community to recognize their right to self-defense, these “pseudo-alternatives” accuse people of committing violence and promote the so-called “non-violent” ways while bragging about their relationship with the IRGC or consider the terrorist entity as part of the solution.
Štefanec denied this rhetoric and said, “We can understand that it is not possible to sit in front of this religious dictatorship and let it be just blind and not resist. Looking at the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the French Declaration of Citizens’ Rights, and also in the Declaration of Independence of the United States and many democratic countries, we see that rebellion and resistance against the tyrannic regime are the rights and duty of citizens. So let us send greetings to the resistance units who have risen up against the Iranian regime by any means possible. They risk their lives to bring democracy and people’s rule to the people of Iran.”
Offering his solution to the current situation in Iran, MEP Štefanec said, “I do believe the best policy towards Iran and the most effective way to give a message to the mullahs to take us more seriously is to support the uprising of the people of Iran for a regime change. And that is why in this parliament, we have been supporting Madam Rajavi’s 10-point plan for a democratic and secular republic. In this way, the people of Iran would feel that they are not alone in their fight and that they are not alone. We are together with you.”
MEP @IvanStefanec: "Many Western governments, because of their economic interests, have refused to take a hard line with #Iran, closing their eyes to many #HumanRightsViolations. But history teaches us when facing fascism, peace does not work and has a reverse effect." pic.twitter.com/HXmTlXvP26
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) May 31, 2023