Iran is the topic of a major international conference today, July 11, 2019, in Ashraf-3, Albania. Prominent speakers will be discussing policy options for the US, Europe and their allies in dealing with the Iranian crisis. They will also reflect on the role of the democratic Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (Mujahedin-e Khalq, PMOI or MEK) in the country’s future. The conference’s title is: “Policy on Iran & a Viable Alternative.” Ashraf-3 is home to thousands of MEK members in Albania. The NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee will be covering the event live as it unfolds. See below for updates.
Mayor Rudy Giuliani – Former Mayor of New Yor
Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield – Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State
General James Conway – Former Commandant of the U.S. Marines Corps
Ivan Sascha Sheehan – University of Baltimore
Ambassador Robert Joseph – Former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control
Hon. John Baird – Former Foreign Minister of Canada
Senator Robert Torricelli – Former United States Senator
Senator Robert Torricelli
17.20: Former United States Senator Robert Torricellitells Iran policy conference in Albania: “The young Iranians on the streets want change. There is an alternative to Iran’s regime. There is a viable opposition. They have a strong leadership. The democratic opposition is the MEK.”
Senator Robert Torricelli further highlighted the Iranian people’s right to live in a free and democratic Iran: “We have to keep reminding members of Congress and parliaments across Europe that if you believe in equality of people, why don’t you believe that the people of Iran have the right to an equal government?”
“There is an alternative. You can pull away from the mullahs and take a stand in support of those who want to topple the regime. Because there are Iranians who will rise with the MEK,” Senator Torricelli continued.
Ambassador Robert Joseph
17.25: Ambassador Robert Joseph, Former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control: “The 2015 nuclear agreement had many flaws. It did not touch on the regime’s ballistic missile production. It did not touch on Iran’s terrorist activities or address its other egregious activities including its crime against humanity in Syria. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced a 12-point platform to address the flaws in the JCPOA.”
“The only solution to the nuclear threat of Iran is regime change. That remains true today. But this is truly about the fate and future of Iranian people. This is about values, freedom, promoting democracy… The NCRI and MEK provide a viable alternative to this regime… The first and foremost victims of this regime are the people of Iran.”
Former Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird
17.35: Former Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird: “Our best weapon is the truth and our best supporters are the people of Iran.”
17.40: Senator Robert Torricelli: “There’s a fundamental belief that things will work out. The future is not as bad as the past. Even a despotic regime will reform itself over time. That’s a handicap for us. The Iranian regime is not going to reform. It’s not going to change.”
“The second handicap is, those who would accommodate the regime take the high ground because they’re speaking out against war. Here’s the problem: first of all, there is a war. There’s no one fighting back. Tens of thousands of Iranians were killed by their own government. There’s been a war waged on the Iranian people since 1979. Those who would argue for patience and time have no moral high ground.
“If you have a navy and you use it to attack civilian tankers and international airspace, you lose the right to have it. In my mind, Iran should lose its navy. The regime of Iran is at war with the world. The fact that the international community is not fighting back doesn’t make it less of a war.”
18.00: Ambassador Robert Joseph, former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control: “The right policy is whatever accelerates the end of this regime. The wrong policy is what prolongs the life of this regime. Appeasement has turned out to be not just a failure but also counter to American interests. We should start with maximum pressure, and the administration has been doing a good job. The sanctions are having a deep impact on the Iranian economy.
“If we show weakness, it’s provocative. When we show strength, the regime backs down. It’s
important that we always keep in mind that the show of strength is key to success.”
“Land invasion is not what’s necessary. Change has to come from within [Iran]. A more effective policy would include calling out the regime on its gross pic.twitter.com/3lxzfqy3vG
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 11, 2019
“Is there a potential for Canada, the U.S. and Europe to find common ground on how the regime is gaming the west and escaping accountability?” Amb. Bloomfield asked.
Former Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird: “After Iraq, President Obama and other European leaders were so desperate to make diplomacy work rather than military force. What we need is leadership. The weakness in 2009 in not standing up for the Iranian people will go down in history as a lost opportunity. We must do all we can to stand up for what’s right. We need leadership. That is what Madam Rajavi is trying to provide.””
Sen. Torricelli: “The people are realizing that this regime will not moderate. The regime’s behavior is also deteriorating all the time.”
19.00: “What can we do to show there’s a democratic alternative. How do we find that next gear in Washington?” Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield asks.
Mayor Rudy Giuliani: “In the past year, the regime has become more frightened and irrational. Striking the drone and what they’re doing with the tankers, maybe they want us to attack them and they hope that it would rally the people behind them. We’re so reluctant to take military action, and the world would also react badly, that the mullahs could push us along if they engaged diplomatically. But their poking their finger in our eye.”
“I think the mullahs are going to fall, with these protests going on, the crazy things they are doing. I think they are desperate. What they are doing sounds like a regime that is not thinking in clever ways.”
19.10: Mayor Rudy Giuliani: “I think pulling out of that agreement (2015 nuclear deal) was effective. If you look at the sanctions, the Treasury Department is very zealous in enforcing them. This has changed a lot. The President did what Obama did not do when he did not support the protesters. The fact that the protests continue is a very good sign even though the regime has tried to harm them. The biggest frustration is getting the European governments to do the right thing. Whatever their economic interests and fear, we should all be together in eliminating this regime. We have to keep up the pressure, try to put more sanctions. And the important point is, some of these revolutions have happened without an alternative. Here you do not have to let that happen. We must get Americans to understand that there is an alternative and let them see it.”