Agance France Presse – AUVERS-SUR-OISE, France – The leader of the main exiled Iranian opposition group urged the United States and Europe on Tuesday to support her organisation as a way out of the impasse over the Islamic government’s nuclear ambitions.
Speaking a day after the five permanent UN Security Council members agreed to refer Iran to the Council over its disputed nuclear programme, Maryam Rajavi, head of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said the international community’s policy of conciliation had failed and that the mullahs were on the verge of getting the bomb.
"The mullahs have pushed the region to the precipice," said Rajavi in a briefing to journalists at the NCRI’s northern Paris headquarters.
"The world community is faced with a choice: compromise with the mullahs, leading to inevitable war, or show firmness and gain peace," said Rajavi, urging western leaders to promote "democratic change by the Iranian people and the resistance."
Rajavi called upon the outside powers to immediately submit Iran’s nuclear file to the Security Council; impose an embargo on oil purchases and technology transfers; and investigate the regime’s "atrocities … and terrorist crimes" in an international tribunal.
She also urged the US and the EU to remove the NCRI’s military arm — the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI) — from terrorist blacklists and "extend support to the NCRI as the Iranian people’s legitimate resistance."
The US has both the PMOI and the NCRI on its list of terrorist organisations and the EU placed the PMOI on its list in 2002.
"The terrorist label against the PMOI cannot be justified for political or moral reasons," said Belgian senator Patrick van Krunkelsven, one of four European parliamentarians who attended the briefing.
"It was applied to appease the regime in Iran … We must give the Iranian opposition more chances."
Active in the years before the 1979 Iranian revolution, the PMOI was later suppressed and set up headquarters in Iraq where it was protected by Saddam Hussein and carried out cross-border raids into Iran.
The NCRI has been accused of being a leftist-Marxist cult, but members insist it is a democratic organisation.
The NCRI’s headquarters at Auvers-sur-Oise were raided by French police in 2003, and scores of activists including Rajavi were taken into detention. All were subsequently released amid accusations from the NCRI that it was a politically-motivated operation to curry support in Tehran.
The latest crisis over Iran’s nuclear programme erupted in early January when the Islamic authorities removed seals placed by the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) on uranium enrichment equipment at a plant in the central Iranian town of Natanz.
Meeting on Thursday, the IAEA’s board is expected to approve Iran’s referral to the Security Council — but not until March, in accordance with the agreement reached by the Permament Five plus Germany meeting in London.