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Special Report – Conference in Auvers-sur-Oise, France: Hold Iran’s Regime Accountable for Genocide, Terrorism & Nuclear Defiance

On Monday, January 17, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) hosted a conference in Auvers-sur-Oise, north of Paris, entitled, “Holding the Mullahs’ Regime Accountable for Genocide, Terrorism, and Nuclear Defiance.” Several prominent European former Officials spoke and shared their views on European Iran policy. The keynote speaker was NCRI’s Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect.

Maryam Rajavi, The  President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI):

Why do the ruling mullahs respond to the West’s restraint by inciting wars? Why have they expedited their efforts to acquire a nuclear bomb? What provokes their belligerence?

Why does Khamenei pursue policies that ostensibly seem to be to be harmful to the regime?

The answer to all these questions is that the clerical regime is in a state of being overthrown. Yes, Khamenei takes less risks to avoid the great danger of overthrow.

The regime is brazenly refusing to invest in improving the Iranian people’s livelihood, welfare, health, education, employment and housing. This situation further intensifies public discontent. Khamenei, however, prefers to reinforce his police-military machine because the regime is in the state of being overthrown.

As a result, we see that from water, bread, and utilities, to housing and wages, yes, everything fuels public discontent.

There is an openly hostile relation between the ruling regime and our people. The existence of an organized and widespread resistance against the regime attests to this truth.

The mullahs’ approach to society, the economy, vital resources, the environment, the youth, women, and Iran’s ethnic groups are far worse and more alien than an occupying power.

In today’s Iran, the regime treats our people with repression, bloodshed and slaughter. The people have responded with rebellion and uprising.

The regime being in the state of overthrow can be best seen in successive uprisings by various sectors of Iranian society. The continuation of these uprisings indicates the vast buildup of unresolved political, social, and economic problems and our society’s urgent desire for fundamental change.

The continuation of these uprisings also speaks to the regime’s inability to tackle society’s difficulties, and, consequently, it has no solution to contain the uprisings, but through crackdown. Through obtaining nuclear weapons, the regime is seeking to find a way out of these crises.

Of course, the bomb is not for confronting the uprisings but to blackmail Western governments. It is vital for the clerical regime to elicit more concessions from the West. That is why the mullahs have given priority to obtaining nuclear weapons as opposed to other options. For this reason, they have practically accepted the collapse of the JCPOA.

If you ask the mullahs whether they want the lifting of sanctions or a bomb, their answer so far is both. In the absence of a firm policy, they undercut the effectiveness of sanctions and drag out the talks to buy time for the bomb.

This situation has put the world, especially Western governments, to the test.

Western governments have long paid the price of appeasing the religious fascism from the pockets of the Iranian people.

But now, beyond the interests of the people of Iran and the Middle East, the security and vital interests of Western countries and societies are at stake.

Do Western governments want religious fascism and the central banker of terrorism to arm itself with nuclear weapons?

The Iranian people and their aspirations have been ignored for years, whereas today, the Iranian people are the most serious player who determines Iran’s future.

We say, there is a need for a correct and responsible policy, which is to exert decisiveness against the regime and stand with the Iranian people.

In step with the expansion of the protest movement, our Resistance has been able to establish an organized network of Resistance Units in provinces throughout the country. Through daily activities against repression, this network sets the ground for subsequent uprisings.

The Resistance Units’ activities show the way and advance the people’s uprisings and the protest movement forward towards the regime’s overthrow.

With its deep roots and substantial support in society, the Iranian Resistance relies on the movement of rebellious and combatant youths in most of the provinces, to prepare for a moment that would bring the regime’s overthrow.

All indications are moving towards this moment and the regime cannot escape it. In addition to the selflessness of its women and men, and the organization and cohesion of its ranks, the Iranian Resistance represents a free, prosperous, and democratic future for Iran.

Today, many have realized that the fight against extremism under the banner of Islam, more than anything else, requires the Muslims themselves to play their role.

As a result, the existence of an alternative is of crucial importance. But such an alternative is not just a theoretical solution.

Rather, it must rely on a movement that has risen up against the fountainhead of fundamentalism, paid the price of its struggle, and enjoys the capacity to bring about change in society.

With these attributes, especially enjoying sufficient popular support, and the competence to bring about democratic change in Iran, the Iranian Resistance has been able to defeat fundamentalism inside Iran, intellectually and ideologically, and expose it on the regional level.

First, the regime’s nuclear projects are entirely against the national interests of the Iranian people. Negotiating with a regime that does not adhere to any rule or law only gives it time.

The international community must reinstate the six UN Security Council resolutions on the Iranian regime’s nuclear projects.

It should bring the regime’s uranium enrichment to complete halt and shut down the regime’s nuclear sites. Unconditional inspections are indispensable to prevent the regime’s access to an atomic bomb.

Second, the brutal and systematic violation of human rights in Iran must be placed on the agenda of the UN Security Council.

The regime’s leaders must be brought to justice for four decades of crimes against humanity and genocide, especially the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988, and the killing of at least 1,500 protesters in 2019.

I urge all governments and parliaments, especially in Europe, to recognize the 1988 massacre as a crime against humanity and genocide.

Third, the international community must recognize the Iranian people’s struggle to overthrow the regime and establish democracy and national sovereignty in their country. This is the Iranian people’s inalienable right.

Excerpts of some of the speeches delivered at the conference in Over-sur-Oise

Guy Verhofstadt, Member of the European Parliament and The Prime Minister of Belgium from 1999 to 2008:

We must discuss the systematic impunity of the regime of Iran. It’s our common duty to denounce violations of democracy and human rights. It is our duty to stand up for democracy and fundamental freedoms.

The regime’s answer to the people’s demands is to strike them instead of solving their problems. The impunity crisis in Iran reached a peak in June when Raisi was appointed as the regime’s president. He is one of the main perpetrators of the 1988 mass murder of more than 30,000 political prisoners. Instead of being tried for crimes against humanity, he is occupying the post of presidency. This shows that impunity is rampant in Iran.

The architects and perpetrators of genocides must always be brought to justice. Crimes against humanity can never go unpunished. We are shocked by the genocide that took place in Iran in 1988. The men and women died only because they strived for a free and democratic Iran. And until the perpetrators are brought to justice it’s our duty to pursue this issue. The international community turned a blind eye to this crime against humanity, and this passivity continues to this day. We also remain blind to the grieving families of the victims and many Iranians who are living in exile.

Only when justice is done will these families find their peace. It is high time now for the United Nations to launch an official inquiry. Not launching this inquiry sets a dangerous precedent not only for the authoritarian regime of Iran but all other authoritarian regimes. Failing to investigate the 1988 massacre gives the regime a green light to continue its crimes against the Iranian people.

Instead of being a silent witness of the deteriorating state of Iran, we must put our concerns for human rights violations at the forefront. A firm policy should also concern the nuclear deal with Iran. Talks with Iran should not be a smokescreen to not tackle human rights conditions in Iran. Any agreement should include a chapter on human rights and the rule of law in Iran.

John Bercow, Speaker of the UK House of Commons 2009-2019:

I’m here to acknowledge the suffering of the people of Iran and to be a voice for freedom. My fundamental belief is that human beings aspire to be free. Individuals, communities, states, regions, countries, want to be autonomous. A key slogan of yours is “down with the oppressor, be it the shah or the supreme leader.”

I back your call for a secular and democratic republic and support Mrs. Rajavi’s ten-point plan for a free Iran.

A crucial part of a democracy is not tolerance, but respect for everybody.

The 1988 massacre must be investigated. We must get to the bottom of it. Ebrahim Raisi must be prosecuted for crimes against humanity. He is a disgrace.

The nuclear issue is being focused on to a certain degree. Democracies must recognize that there is a key difference between dealing with other democracies and dealing with other countries whose regimes are non-democracies. All the evidence so far shows that the conciliatory approach has yielded no results. This is the point to send the regime a clear message that if they don’t suspend their nuclear program, the UN sanctions will be reapplied.

On human rights, the litany of examples is plenty. On the 1988 massacre, we are talking about mass crimes against humanity. The failure of international bodies to act has had a devastating impact on the families of the victims.

We know of the cases of state terror. They continue to repeat.

Protests continue in Iran on a magnificent scale. Protests by workers, teachers, educators, farmers, high-school students, physicians, creditors, ranchers, nurses, businesspeople, chicken farmers, truck drivers, and others. A common characteristic of these protests is clashes between protesters and security forces, the presence of women, and the indifference of security forces for the people’s rights.

The regime is spending vast sums of money on weapons of mass destruction that they do not need and should not be allowed to obtain.

No to the shah, no to religious dictatorship, no to theocracy, yes to democracy.

Fredrik Reinfeldt—Former Prime Minister of Sweden:

It’s very popular nowadays for rulers to say they were elected. Democracy means freedom of speech, media, the right to assemble and campaign, to stand as a candidate. If you don’t follow these rules, you are not a democracy. Raisi is not in support of the Iranian people. He was chosen among a few men to keep control.

The situation in Iran is especially worrying. There is a very dangerous combination. It brings together authoritarianism and religious dictatorship. In the name of Islam, they are saying it is right to hate each other and to kill people. They want to create a world in which we can never live together. How can they make reference to a God who wants us to kill each other and hate? They think they can rule in the name of God and use that power to harm people.

We also have the nuclear ambitions. The people want freedom and food. They don’t want nuclear weapons. It’s the idea of a few. And they need nuclear heads to stay secure. Otherwise, they can come under pressure and lose the influence they love. That’s why they want the bomb, they think that if they have a nuclear warhead, they can push the international community away. Therefore, it is very important that we pursue Iran’s uranium enrichment program.

You want the world to see and react to what’s going on in Iran. Why isn’t it doing so? When you’re only concerned with your own countries, it creates the right atmosphere for dictators. It’s extremely important to get a world order that works.

We need Europe to join together and stand up for values and push back against authoritarian rules, including the mullahs in Iran. They are a threat to the world by misusing Islam, by seeking nuclear weapons, and by destabilizing the region.

 

Franco Frattini— Foreign minister of Italy (in 2002–2004 and 2008–2011) and once European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security (2004–2008):

The people who have been fighting for a free and democratic Iran are true believers and good Muslims. Those who kill or tolerate to kill in the name of God are committing serious blasphemies. Those who want full respect and equality between men, women, and people of different religions, they are the real believers.

What should we do with this tyranny, this terrible regime abusing basic, non-negotiable rights, this regime that kills thousands and thousands? Some people say there are differences between reformists and conservatives. This is not true.

I was part of negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program in 2003, during the so-called reformist Khatami government. Those people were no different from those who are in office today. They wanted to get guarantees to have a free hand to commit abuses against their people. They are the same. They have one preoccupation: to follow the orders of the supreme leader. We have to dismiss the optimism of some who think there is a better leadership. There is no better leadership.

Another argument is that we must lift sanctions because the sanctions are affecting innocent people. This is absolutely not true. As a matter of fact, the more money they have the more money the regime will spend on its nuclear program and not on improving the quality of life in Iran. I support the idea of a stricter policy toward the regime regarding sanctions. No complacency. We have to know every dollar spent for improving and strengthening the nuclear and military apparatus against the people, increasing the nuclear capacity to intimidate and dominate not only the people of Iran but also the region against the countries of the Middle East and contributing greatly to destabilizing the Middle East.

We have to be very firm, especially after the recent common declaration by the five countries having veto power in the UN Security Council, warning Iran about its extremely dangerous proliferation.

I also want to say that we run the risk of isolation by thinking only about our countries. This is a terrible mistake. Think about terrorism and destabilization. If we don’t care about such real problems, sooner or later they will come to our home. It is demonstrated by the terrorist attacks committed by people sent by the Iranian regime to kill innocent people in Europe. If we ignore what they are doing, they will soon come to kill in our neighborhoods. Therefore, it is important to stay firm with an increasing capacity. This is not only a moral duty, but it corresponds also to our practical interests. If we ignore them, they will organize to kill in our countries. It’s a protection of universal rights and a protection of the Iranian communities living abroad in our countries.

These massive violations correspond no doubt to crimes against humanity. These crimes have to be punished without time limits. This justifies our common action today. We are not talking about events of thirty years ago. We are talking about the duty of punishing crimes that cannot disappear. They must be punished regardless of the time. Otherwise, it will be too easy for a bloody dictatorship to cover its crimes. How to do it? Political goodwill. I don’t see a real goodwill to pursue and go against this kind of action that permanently will remain. We also need to put pressure through the European Council to raise awareness on the terrible situation in Iran.

The people of Iran must not feel alone. If a group of countries come together and launch a message that this regime must go, that it cannot use its power to kill its people, if the people of Iran feel supported by the international community, you and your friends in Iran will feel reassured that they have a good group of countries that are ready to raise their voice and take concrete action.

We must work to create an international jurisdiction to strengthen the role of the International Criminal Court. We have to try to overcome the legal obstacles to create a universal binding jurisdiction on non-negotiable rights. If we don’t find a concrete way to fight and stop and isolate this bloody regime, it will take a longer time than we would like.

Paria Kohandel:

People of my generation are taking to the streets despite the threats of being arrested and tortured and executed and despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Ali Fatemi:

I escaped Iran during the 2009 protests. Many of my friends were executed. Under the mullahs’ rule, Iran has been defined by executions, which continue to this day. One of those responsible for the 1988 massacre is Ebrahim Raisi, who is now the so-called president of Iran. He is illiterate. He has been in the judiciary system for many decades.

At the same time, there is a worldwide movement under the leadership of Madame Rajavi, with people’s support inside Iran, and across the globe. On behalf of Iranian youth inside Iran and abroad, I thank you for supporting the Iranian Resistance and ask you to condemn this regime and support this movement.