Iran General NewsPanel Discussion: Protests in Iran and the Role of...

Panel Discussion: Protests in Iran and the Role of the MEK Opposition

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Protests in Iran and the Role of the MEK Opposition

Iran Focus

London, 29 Jun – In a panel discussion on Friday, June 29, the last before the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s Free Iran rally in Paris, several more political figures spoke about the Iranian opposition’s and MEK’s role and the protests that have been sweeping across Iran since the end of last year.

Mitchell Reiss, Ambassador and former Director of U.S. State Department Policy, opened the panel discussion with great positivity, pointing out that momentum is starting to shift towards to Iranian Resistance and the Mojahedin organization (PMOI) or MEK. He thanked Mrs. Maryam Rajavi and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) for keeping faith in the cause and for bringing the realities of life in Iran to our attention.

Reiss said that the Resistance has a fantastic opportunity to introduce itself to the new administration in the United States but warned that it would be a one-time chance. The Resistance and the MEK must convince the Trump administration of its desire for democracy. However, he also pointed out that the opposition will be faced with more scrutiny than ever before. The existence of lobbies that claim the opposition is a cult or terrorist organisation is a major challenge and it will do everything to discredit the MEK and NCRI. He advised the NCRI to be prepared for its words being distorted but added that there are many people on the Resistance’s side.

Michael Mukasey, a former U.S. Attorney General, reiterated that it is a very hopeful time for the NCRI, MEK and for the people of Iran. However, like Reiss, he said that there are dangers lurking at every corner and the opposition must be careful.

Mukasey said that is absolutely essential for the United States and the West to provide the people of Iran with the means of communication so that they can continue with the uprising that is sweeping across the country. He said that is something that we can do to keep the tide going.

Louis Freeh, former Director of the FBI, thanked all the young men and women that are coming to the front in the battle for liberty in Iran. He said that the PMOI / MEK has been the catalyst in this historic moment that is about to bring change to Iran.

He also spoke about what has not changed in Iran, namely the IRGC and its spread of terror. The positive of this is that the leadership of the regime has deteriorated.

With regards to the progress that is being made, Freeh said that foreign companies are now pulling out of business deals with Iran, even going against what their governments are advising. One example is the oil giant Total.
Finally, he said that he wants to see Mrs. Rajavi in Washington where the conditions have never been better.

John Baird, the former Foreign Minister of Canada, said that it is very important for the international community to come together in unity against the regime. He said that being united with the people of Iran will make a huge difference in the fight for freedom and democracy. Baird said the brave and courageous people that are taking to the streets in this fight must be supported. This unity will bring great hope to the people of Iran in a time of darkness. He said that Iran has great people that are being held back by the mullahs.

Yves Bonnet, former Governor and head of France’s Internal Security Service (D.S.T.),

praised United States President Donald Trump for taking real action against Iran and for not ignoring the threat like many of his predecessors who preferred to appease Iran.

Bonnet said that President Trump is quite right to ask the Europeans to distance themselves from Iran. Trump administration officials have previously asked how any country can possibly want to be associated with a corrupt regime that is suppressing its own people.

The French, according to Bonnet, are finding it very difficult to recognise that it was wrong with regards to the nuclear deal. He said that the French, unlike the Americans, are unable to admit their mistakes in the deal negotiations and will not openly speak about the shortcomings of the JCPOA in the way that the United States does.

Struan Stevenson, coordinator for Change in Iran and former President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq, pointed out that the protests in Iran have been notably widespread.

He spoke about the IRGC and its involvement and organisation of human rights abuses in Iran, comparing the organisation to the Gestapo. The crimes of the authorities were also highlighted by the speaker who gave the example of the young protesters that were thrown in jail and then killed by brute force. The authorities then go on to claim that they committed suicide.

Stevenson said that the claims that the Iranian regime is moderate is ridiculous. President Hassan Rouhani, if he was a moderate, would not be president of the country. He said that Rouhani, like the others, is an “evil monster”.
The Iranian regime believes that the PMOI / MEK is responsible for the protests and major uprising that is sweeping across the country, but Stevenson expressed his surprise that the regime cannot see that it is its own actions that have provoked unrest. The people of Iran know that the regime is stealing their money and plundering the nation’s wealth.

With regards to the European policies towards Iran, Stevenson said that he is embarrassed to have a High Representative like Federica Mogherini because she has forgotten about the value of human rights. Addressing the EU leaders that are putting business before human rights, Stevenson said that for every dollar they make in Iran, they will lose a thousand.

Sid Ahmed Ghozali, the former Prime Minister of Algeria, condemned the designating of the PMOI / MEK as a terrorist organisation and criticised his country and its former leaders for doing it to appease the Iranian regime.

He also highlighted that the people of Iran are often ignored or treated like they don’t exist. It is an issue that foreign officials do not want to confront. He said that during the 1988 massacre more than 30,000 political prisoners [mostly affiliated with the MEK] were killed and emphasised that people can attest to this -the survivors in the room and those now living in Europe. He said that the West needs to want justice and peace and put an end to its silence.
Ghozali said that it is much later than it should be, but finally, the UN is bringing the 1988 massacre to light. Now it remains for the mullahs to be tried for their crime.

With regards to claims that the Iranian regime can be moderate, he asked: “How can we make such monumental mistakes?” He pointed out that moderation is not possible because the regime is based on instrumentalising Islam for political means. “Moderation is fundamentally impossible.” 

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