Struan Stevenson: Iran Regime Is Very Weak and Rotten, Teetering on the Edge of a Cliff
While reciting his interesting and valuable memories of a struggle alongside the Iranian Resistance in past years, Struan Stevenson President of the European Iraqi Freedom Association and former chair of Friends of a Free Iran Intergroup in European Parliament, attended several Meetings with the Iranian communities in Germany on the period of April 20 – 24, and through his ample speeches described and analysed the latest political situation in the region and Iran, the following are excerpts of his speeches.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Brothers and Sisters,
It is great being here in Germany to see you. As you probably know, I had a very good meeting in the Bundestag on 15th February this year and then went on to meet with a large group of our supporters in Berlin when I visited your very nice office, which is apparently also called the “White House! “
…Two weeks ago I addressed a meeting in the Norwegian Parliament in Oslo. I used the opportunity to tell them about the dangerous and destructive role of the Iranian regime in the Middle East and the systematic violation of human rights across the zone that characterizes their aggressive attempts to spread Islamic fundamentalism. I reminded the Norwegians that together with the NCRI, I held a press conference in the House of Commons in London at the beginning of March, to mark the release of a comprehensive report detailing the belligerent activities of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and calling for their listing as international terrorists.
Our report showed how the IRGC and the body responsible for extra-territorial operations - the Quds Force, are the main vehicles for Iran’s aggressive expansionism in the Middle East. The IRGC has for decades been carrying out terrorist attacks across the zone, including in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon.
Over the past six years the world has witnessed in horror how the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has massacred his own people, even using chemical weapons like Sarin gas, while enjoying unlimited financial and military support from Iran and air cover from the Russians. President Hassan Rouhani’s hysterical reaction to the US missile attack exposed just how frightened the theocratic regime has become. Rouhani’s threat to join Vladimir Putin in using force against Donald Trump if he dares to cross their ‘red lines’ again is a complete joke, when you consider that Iran has committed 70,000 frontline troops to the Syrian civil-war. The regime is careful to send Afghan refugees who have sought sanctuary in Iran, to die on the Syrian battlefields as cannon-fodder. Their widows are then offered full Iranian citizenship and a meagre pension by way of compensation.
Iran is pumping billions of dollars in weapons and military resources into Syria in its effort to prop up the blood-soaked regime of Bashar al-Assad. There is no doubt that Iran and Russia were well aware of the Sarin gas attack on defenceless men, women and children. The Pentagon knows that a Russian drone flew over Khan Sheikhoun shortly before a plane dropped the Sarin bomb. They know that both Iran and Russia have helped coordinate previous chlorine gas and barrel-bomb attacks by the Assad regime on the Syrian civilian population. Indeed Putin’s bellicose threats must also raise a wry smile, when wave after wave of Russian warplanes have bombed Syrian cities into dust for the past 18 months, killing thousands of innocent people. For Rouhani and Putin to claim that “aggressive” US actions against Syria are not permissible and violate international law, is risible.
The IRGC is behind most of the brutal Shi’ite militias rampaging through the predominantly Sunni provinces of Iraq, massacring families and levelling cities like Ramadi, Fallujah and now Mosul in the name of the war against Daesh (ISIS). The Iranian regime's violence and crimes in other countries in the region and in particular its suppression of Sunnis, carried out under the banner of Shi’ite Islam, is what provoked the original backlash that in turn spawned the birth of groups like Daesh who seek to establish an “Islamic Caliphate” while spreading their violence and brutality to the four corners of the globe. It is a great irony that Iran has exploited the campaign against Daesh as an opportunity to carry out their genocidal crusade against the Sunnis, at the same time fooling the West into regarding the theocratic regime as an ally, even coaxing the US into providing vital air support.
Iran cannot be part of the solution to the conflicts raging in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya. It is part of the problem. Iran exports terror. This is the real Iran under the theocratic and fascist rule of the mullahs, whose so-called ‘moderate’ president Rouhani the West believes it can do deals with. We should wake up! The ‘smiling’, Rouhani is in charge of a venally corrupt government, which has executed over 3000 people since he took office in 2013 and which is behind every conflict in the Middle East.
President Trump’s decision to attack the Syrian airbase has marked a clear turning point in relations with the Iranian regime. We trust that America will no longer be prepared to close its eyes to human rights violations and the accelerated sponsorship of terrorism that are the hallmarks of this evil regime. Wrenching Putin away from Assad will be the first necessary step in bringing the Syrian conflict to an end. America should then turn its attention to blacklisting the IRGC as an international terrorist organization. Such decisive steps, in the wake of President Trump’s willingness to launch a barrage of cruise missiles against the Syrian regime, will provide an adequate response to threats from the mullahs and their Russian allies and a warning to aggressors that the days of hand-wringing appeasement are over.
The West should remember that it was the PMOI network inside Iran, at huge risk to their own lives, who first informed the world, way back in August 2002, about the mullahs’ secret nuclear programme. Western intelligence agencies had simply failed to uncover this conspiracy. And yet, rather than rewarding the PMOI for this information, the US, UK and EU fought tooth and nail to keep them on their international blacklists, where they had been placed at the direct request of the mullahs, based on trumped-up and farcical charges dreamed up by Tehran. This was appeasement policy at its worst and it took us many years of difficult, complex and expensive court battles in Washington, London, Paris and Luxembourg to have the terror tags removed.
But now the boot is on the other foot and we must demand the blacklisting of the IRGC as a first and necessary step in curbing Iranian atrocities. I am pleased to note that there are positive signals emerging from Washington that the US government may be about to take this step. It is necessary that the EU should do likewise. Indeed they should not wait for a green light from Washington. We have more than enough evidence to justify taking this step ourselves, showing the Iranian regime that the days of appeasement are over and that now we mean business.
We have to stop the constant abuse of human rights in Iran. Quite apart from the daily torture and executions, many journalists and human rights activists are in jail. Women campaigners have been given long-term prison sentences. Ethnic and religious minorities like the Kurds, the Baha’is and the Christians are brutally persecuted. Such executions and repression just show how weak and unstable the mullahs are.
Rouhani’s government, under the ultimate control of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, condones torture and arbitrary imprisonment, discriminates against women and encourages public floggings, eye-gouging, amputations and hanging as a means of terrorizing its own population into docile submission.
Of course to this day one of the biggest targets for arrest, imprisonment, torture and execution in Iran is the PMOI. Supporters of the PMOI face a mandatory death sentence under the Iranian Constitution for ‘Waging War Against God!’ You all know about the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners mostly from the PMOI. The current Justice Minister of Rouhani’s government was one of the key executioners in Tehran during the 1988 massacre and now he says he is proud to have killed so many PMOI members.
I look forward to witnessing a new approach to Iran by the west. Federica Mogherini, the EU’s High representative for Foreign Affairs & Security should stop her business-as-usual approach to Tehran. She should be shouting in anger and condemnation at the human rights abuse and repression against women that takes place in that country on a daily basis.
One of the clearest ways to signal a new approach to the Iranian regime would be by inviting Mrs Rajavi to address a meeting in the Bundestag. Maryam Rajavi is a courageous and formidable leader of the main opposition movement. She is the outstanding symbol of anti-fundamentalism and her manifesto for freedom, justice, human rights, women’s rights, an end to torture and the death penalty and an end to the nuclear threat, is something that we should all unite around internationally. I strongly recommend that the West should be entering into dialogue with the political coalition that is the NCRI, rather than pussyfooting around with the mullahs in Tehran.
For decades, Iran has systematically jailed, tortured, and executed dissidents without due process of law and assassinated political opponents, even outside its state borders. But I am absolutely confident that if it were not for this resistance movement, the political situation in the region and in Iran would have been much worse and the Iranian regime would have been able to commit even more crimes around the world.
It is clear that the West’s policy of continuous engagement with the Iranian regime, while closing its eyes to human rights violations and the accelerated sponsorship of terrorism, is a policy that has failed. Indeed the Iranian regime’s strategy of aggressive expansionism has rapidly increased. It is equally clear that there can be no hope of reform within this theocratic dictatorship. The only solution for Iran and also for peace and stability in the region is regime change in Tehran.
Many of you attend the huge annual rally in Paris in July, when over 100,000 PMOI supporters are present to listen to Mrs Rajavi.
…In the years I have been working closely with PMOI and NCRI, I have found them to be a truly democratic force. They don’t want anything for themselves. What they want and what they fight for is liberty and justice for 80 million Iranian citizens. Of course the Iranian regime is really paranoid about this opposition movement. Whenever Mrs Rajavi is invited to any parliaments in the EU, the regime and its lobbies go crazy and try to block such visits. Due to my support for the NCRI, I was under constant pressure not just from the Iranian embassy in Brussels, but also from officials in the EU and even from my own government in the UK. On several occasions the British foreign office sent people from London to Brussels to try to convince me to stop supporting the NCRI.
This key Iranian opposition movement is of course under a constant bombardment of misinformation by the mullah’s regime.
…I wrote this book – ‘AUFOPFERUNG – about the Iranian opposition because I firmly believe that the only solution to the current crisis in the Middle East, the only way to counter the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism, is to support the main democratic Iranian opposition in its fight against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
I went to Albania in December and spent several days there and saw many of of our brothers and sisters, who are all in high spirits. I have promised them to continue to fight for a free, democratic Iran.
…I was delighted to hear that Mrs Rajavi went to Albania recently and held several big meetings there and also took part in the Iranian New Year – ‘Nowroz’ celebrations. I think this must have driven the mullahs crazy. I was also told that the event in Albania on 20 March was shown live on satellite TV and had a huge impact inside Iran.
It was also great news that on the 14th April Senator John McCain went to Albania to visit the resistance members and to meet Mrs Rajavi. This was a major political victory for the Iranian resistance, considering the great influence and the good name and credibility of Senator McCain in the USA amongst both Republicans and Democrats. Immediately the Iranian regime’s media wet mad and began a massive misinformation campaign. Again the regime’s reaction to our activities proves that the PMOI and NCRI are the main threat to their teetering grip on power.
…My dear brothers and sisters, do not forget that this is a very weak and rotten regime. It is teetering on the edge of a cliff. It is our job to give it a final push. As Mrs Rajavi has said We Can and We Must overthrow it. That is why I urge you not to miss this great opportunity to share in the commitment of overthrowing the mullahs and defeating Islamic fundamentalism, which is now one of the main threats to humanity. I urge you to be in that vanguard when we march victoriously into Tehran.
To conclude I wish to say that in all these years that I have been in politics, I have never seen any resistance movement, or indeed any political party, to be so committed to its principles and be prepared to make such self-sacrifices for the noble cause of freedom.
I am certain that the Iranian regime’s days are numbered. Freedom and justice for the people of Iran is coming and it will come soon. When it does so, I will be proud to remind my children and grandchildren that ‘I AM AN ASHRAFI.’
Thank you very much. Wielen dank.
Struan Stevenson, President of the European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA) was a Member of the European Parliament representing Scotland (1999-2014). He was President of the Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq (2009- 2014) and Chair of Friends of a Free Iran Intergroup (Caucus) from 2004-2014.