Opposition convention provides ‘the alternative’ solutions for Iran

Al Arabiya

The Iranian Diaspora held a massive rally on Saturday in Paris where a long slate of international political figures from both sides of the Atlantic, the Middle East and beyond joined a huge crowd to voice their support for regime change in Iran.

The rally was spearheaded by the Iranian opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its pillar member, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavidelivered a speech highlighting how the Iranian regime is engulfed in unprecedented internal crises with protests mushrooming out of control across Iran.

On the very day of this convention, videos on social media showed intense clashes and skirmishes between protesters demanding drinking water and authorities opening fire on demonstrators in the city of Khorramshahr in southwest Iran. Up to four protesters were reportedly killed.

On an international scale, the clerics are witnessing an end to the appeasement policy in the US with Barack Obama no longer in office. This has left the Iranian regime vulnerable without their safeguard shield, especially after US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the Iran nuclear deal and sanctions are returning at a pace very alarming for Tehran.

“The overthrow of this regime inevitably requires the willingness to pay the price, requires honesty and sacrifice; requires an organization and a strong political alternative, and requires resistance units and a liberation army,” Rajavi said, emphasizing on the unique characteristic her movement enjoys, and others claiming to support regime change lack.

Global voice

“This government is about to collapse, and this is the time to turn on the pressure,” said Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Trump advisor and attorney, at the rally.

He went on to express his support of Trump reinstalling sanctions on Iran and emphasize, “Trump doesn’t turn his back on freedom fighters.” This sending a clear message to the brave protesters inside Iran seeking to realize regime change.

Saturday’s podium also witnessed former US House Speaker and informal Trump adviser Newt Gingrich, former FBI Director Louis Freeh, former US ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson, former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, five British MPs, a former French prime minister and former foreign minister.

Speculations are growing of Trump seeking to force the Iranian regime into a new round of negotiations based on his terms, and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo placing 12 highly costing demands before Tehran. Speakers on Saturday were also heard voicing different opinions.

Maryam Rajavi delivers a speech during their gathering in Villepinte on June 30, 2018. (Reuters)

 

“Our goal is very simple. It’s not to start negotiating. Our goal is to have a free and democratic Iran that respects the rights of every individual,” Gingrich said.

“Today, you have an administration which understand reality, which is determined to stop the dictatorship, which is increasing the sanctions, and which I predict every single month will get tougher and tougher,” he added.

Former Senator Robert Torricelli, an influential voice from the Democratic Party, indicated how the position on Iran’s regime is a completely bipartisan matter in the US.

Salman al-Ansari, founder and President of the Saudi American Public Relations Committee, also voiced his support for the Iranian people’s struggle.

Looking forward

With Iran suffering from escalating poverty, unemployment, shanty dwelling, severe water shortage and environmental crises, the regime’s future seems further bleak under this mountain of calamities.

As internal political disputes increase and with knowledge regarding this regime’s nature of plundering the country’s wealth, it has become quite obvious the days of these clerical rulers are numbered.

The Iranian people have the right to regain their sovereignty after this current regime hijacked the 1979 revolution and open the gates of hell to this country, and the entire Middle East throughout the past 40 years.

Adding insult to injury for the Iranian people, this regime has benefitted from decades of appeasement by western governments seeking their own economic interests. The Iranian opposition have alongside the people of this country been the main victims of this policy.

Today, however, with the Iranian people rising for their rights throughout the country, and the mullahs no longer having the support they enjoyed during the Obama years, the end of their rule, and freedom and democracy being established in this country is becoming an ever more realistic scenario.

Following the regime’s inevitable downfall, the first order of duty will be transferring power to the people. NCRI President Maryam Rajavi, known for her well-supported ten-point plan for Iran’s future, underscored yet again on this necessity for a free and democratic Iran of tomorrow.

The Right Solution For Iran Is Not War

We are at a critical juncture in our time in history. The Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has entered now its third year.

As the Trump White House is pending its Iran policy there is increasing support for regime change. All the while the Iran appeasement camp are boosting their efforts of claiming any firm policy on Tehran will lead to war. The question is do the measures professed by this party truly prevent war?

When Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) recently held its annual convention in Paris, with Trump “emissaries” such as former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaking powerfully of regime change in Iran. Former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton went as far as declaring the Iranian regime will not witness its 40th anniversary in February 2019.

In response, Iran and its lobbies in the West, terrified of such a surge behind the NCRI as the sole alternative able to bring about true change in Iran, have not remained silent. Iran apologists are yet again seen resorting to the old tactic of warning about a new war in the Middle East.

For decades now pro-Iranian regime writers have cautioned against adopting a firm policy on Tehran, allowing the mullahs’ regime to plunge the entire Middle East into havoc.

As we speak Iraq, Syria and Yemen are in ruins thanks to Iran’s support of proxy elements fueling sectarian conflicts and deadly civil wars.

The war in Afghanistan has yet to finalize after 16 years, and reports continue of Iran supporting the Taliban and al-Qaeda in this country.

Lebanon has yet to witness political stability in decades as Iran continues to funnel millions of dollars and arms to its offspring, the Hezbollah, brought to life by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) back in 1982.

Many other Arab countries can follow suit after Kuwait expelled Iran’s ambassador and more than a dozen other “diplomats” from its soil based on espionage charges.

But of course, the Iran apologists conveniently consider such matters as irrelevant or at best second hand. These very Iran lobbyists are the actual warmongers as their efforts have provided Tehran the opportunity to bring upon utter devastation to all Middle East nations.

Pat Buchanan in a Townhall piece argues, “After Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, would America and the world be well-served by a war with Iran that could explode into a Sunni-Shiite religious war across the Middle East?”

Neglected here is the passivity encouraged by such Iran-apologists has actually empowered Tehran. The end result has been Iran engulfing Iraq and Syria into a horrific abyss of Shiite militias massacring innocent Sunni civilians.

Former MEP Struan Stevenson sheds light on such an unfortunate phenomenon.

“800,000 people have been rendered homeless from Mosul alone, millions when you count the refugees who fled from Ramadi and Fallujah. Thousands of innocent Sunni civilians have been killed, and tens of thousands among them were injured,” he wrote in a recent Al Arabiya article.

There is no question that the 2003 Iraq war was a strategic mistake. Yet why do Iran-apologists, again conveniently, neglect another drastic error of Obama prematurely pulling all US troops out of Iraq in 2011? This left the fledgling state of Iraq at the hands of wolves, being Iran, its puppet, former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, and Shiite proxies and death squads.

We simply cannot deny the fact that al-Maliki in Iraq, Bashar al-Assad in Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon, all supported financially and logistically by Iran, paved the path for the rise of ISIS. They massacred Syria’s Sunnis, parallel to Maliki’s crackdown of the Iraq’s Sunni minority. This allowed ISIS to spread, and first in Iraq and Syria, and thus throughout the Middle East, Europe and beyond.

The regime in Iran actually benefited extremely from the rise of ISIS to claim legitimate its involvement in Iraq and Syria through Shiite proxy groups.

Again, as Iran-apologists across the board in the US and Europe encouraged engagement and rapprochement with Tehran, climaxing unprecedentedly during Obama’s tenure, Iran’s mullahs continued their killing spree across the region.

Looking back at the past several years, one can dare to accuse these Iran-apologists of paving the path for Tehran to legitimize its horrific killing sprees, and causing a horrible number of deaths. Can we not accuse them of warmongering?

These Iranian lobbyists, including Trita Parsi, head of the so-called “National Iranian American Council”, raise the flag of war being bad for business, and thus cheering diplomacy to encourage business. Yet he neglects Iran’s own warmongering in the Middle East.

All said and done, with the Trump administration seriously weighing regime change as policy vis-à-vis Iran, the international community sees before it the opportunity to finally adopt the right policy on Iran.

Engagement has failed. Wars in the Middle East have been disastrous. We do not want to go down that road in regards to Iran. And there is no need.

The Iranian people and their organized opposition, the NCRI, are more than capable of toppling the mullahs’ regime in Tehran. This organization has everything in place and seek only the international community to recognize their struggle and end the disastrous Iran appeasement approach. A course correction vis-a-vis Iran policy regarding is needed, too, in order for the people of Iran and their opposition to take on the rest.

Iran regime change is in the making

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stressed in a recent Congressional hearing that the U.S. should literally “work towards support of those elements inside Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of that government,” signaling the overhaul needed in Washington’s Iran policy.

From Tehran’s point of view this was, of course, a completely unpleasant surprise, as the Trump administration unexpectedly placed its weight behind those seeking true and democratic change.

Considering escalating public dissent and growing rifts in Iran’s senior hierarchy, the international community should brace for a major impact in developments centered on Iran.

Before and after the May 19th presidential “election,” Iran’s powder keg society witnessed a major outbreak of protests, especially by investors placing their savings in institutions linked to the state and/or the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

The vast network associated with the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) has for a year now focused its widespread effort inside the country on raising awareness, especially amongst the younger generation, about the true nature of this regime’s 38-year report card.

One very troubling dossier was the summer 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners in dozens of prisons throughout Iran. Perpetrators of that horrendous purging enjoy high rank in today’s regime. Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi is ironically the minister of justice in President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet.

Conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi, known to be the favored candidate of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in the May race, along with being groomed to succeed the ill Khamenei in the regime’s ultimate leadership post. Both Pour-Mohammadi and Raisi were leading members of the four-man “Death Commission” presiding over the mass executions.

Activities and revelations made by the PMOI/MEK network inside Iran exposed those involved in the 1988 massacre. This turn of events placed Khamenei before a major decision of enforcing his candidate as president and risking a major uprising even more powerful than that of 2009, or succumb to another term of Rouhani as his regime’s president.

Rest assured that despite promising to realize freedoms, Rouhani in his second term neither bears the intention nor will to realize anything even remotely similar to reforms.

Parallel to these developments are unprecedented divides amongst senior officials in Tehran. On a number of occasions Khamenei and his faction have indirectly issued threats against Rouhani, even comparing his fate to that of the Iranian regime’s first president back in the 1980s, who was impeached.

When IRGC Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani lashed out at those targeting the Guards, it was considered by many to be aimed at Rouhani.

“In the Islamic Republic, we’re all responsible towards martyrs, society, religion and our country. The biggest betrayal is to cast doubt toward the foundations of this system… none today must weaken the corps,” he said recently.

This is most probably a reference to Rouhani’s recent remarks against the IRGC through the elections process and after presidential campaign.

This dangerous dispute will also leave Khamenei incapable of grooming any successor to his throne or managing a smooth transitional process, set to become deadly for the mullahs’ already unclear future.

Couple all these dilemmas on Khamenei’s table with the growing turmoil in the Middle East as ISIS’ days are numbered. Attention among the international community is focusing on post-ISIS circumstances and the Trump administration is receiving further calls to weigh options blacklisting the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization, and ultimately seeking regime change through supporting the Iranian opposition.

“Iran must be free. The dictatorship must be destroyed. Containment is appeasement, and appeasement is surrender. The only practical goal is to support a movement to free Iran. Any other goal will leave a dictatorship finding ways to get around any agreement and to lie about everything,” said Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House of Representatives, at a recent Iranian opposition rally near Paris. Gingrich is known for his very close relations with President Trump.

Such an initiative also enjoys vast regional support, voiced also recently by a prominent Saudi figure.

“The Iranian people are the first victims of [the mullahs’] dictatorship,” said former Saudi intelligence chief Turki Faisal. “Your effort in challenging this regime is legitimate and your resistance for the liberation of the Iranian people of all ethnicities, including Arabs, Kurds, Baluchis, Turks and Fars of the mullahs’ evil, as [Iranian opposition leader Maryam] Rajavi said, is a legitimate struggle.”

Even a brief glance at ongoing developments emerging domestically and abroad for Iran, provides convincing evidence that regime change is absolutely in the making in Tehran.

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/07/iran_regime_change_is_in_the_making.html#ixzz4mhivuhfY
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A Solution at Hand for Iran

There is no doubt that the Middle East is the epicenter of many major crises in the world today, with Iran fueling many of these conflicts. Syria, Iraq, Yemen and supporting the Lebanese Hezbollah are the main pillars of these calamities, parallel to Tehran’s dangerous pursuit of ballistic missiles and highly controversial nuclear program.

As the Trump administration continues to weigh its comprehensive approach vis-a-vis the mullahs’ regime, the Iranian opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) held its annual convention in Paris on Saturday. The event hosted a massive gathering of the Iranian Diaspora and hundreds of influential and dignitaries expressing their support for NCRI President Maryam Rajavi and her ten-point plan for a future democratic and non-nuclear Iran.

Aside from the powerful speech delivered by Rajavi focusing the Iranian regime’s dilemmas escalating as never before, the tone of her movement’s international supporters have become much more forward-looking against the mullahs in Tehran.

“You, I, my government and your leadership, we see Iran in exactly the same way,” former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, known to be an adviser to US President Donald Trump, said. “The regime is evil and it must go.”

“Iran must be free,” emphasized former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, another individual considered close to the US president. “The dictatorship must be destroyed. Containment is appeasement and appeasement is surrender… The only practical goal is to support a movement to free Iran.”

“The capital since 1979 of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism has been in Tehran under this extremist regime, and that is why it’s got to go,” said former Senator Joseph Lieberman, representing a strong voice from the other side of the aisle in US politics.

Heard throughout the years are Tehran’s claims of lacking any opposition and the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), the main NCRI member, being insignificant and even completely dismantled.

And yet each and every year the NCRI and PMOI, known more commonly as the MEK in the US, prove yet again how the struggle to topple the mullahs’ regime to bring about freedom and democracy in Iran continues stronger than ever before.

While claiming this organization is nothing but dismal, Iran’s own response pinpoints the very fact that this Iranian opposition, under Rajavi’s leadership, represents the main threat to Tehran.

“Our foreign minister met with [the French] just two days before and his plan had yet to leave that their ambassador in the United Nations Security Council describes us being in violation of the nuclear deal resolution,” said Mohammad Javad Larijani, a conservative politician with close relations to the inner circle of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

“This was completely baseless and they insulted Iran. Then, they launched a completely ISIS-like rally with a new tag because the [PMOI/MEK] are no different from ISIS. The fact that they gather from all corners of the globe, and speak and plot against the Islamic Republic, and then for the French to say we have no connections with them resembles a political joke, which they should save for their own people,” he said, resorting to completely unprofessional and unorthodox language for a political figure.

“France’s behavior has been very aggressive and insulting… not only would I downgrade diplomatic relations with France, but also revoke contracts signed with the French regarding Peugeot and others,” Larijani added.

Such a response shows how truly terrified the Iranian regime is of its main opposition, represented by the NCRI. Furthermore, Tehran is in no position to be threatening to revoke economic contracts.

Due to Washington’s very strong position on the Iran nuclear deal and three rounds of new sanctions, there are no foreign governments, institutions or companies willing to wade very easily into economic waters with Iran.

In fact, considering the possibility of more sanctions on the way, and all parties realizing Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is very ill, it is crystal clear the days of the Tehran regime are numbered.

As anticipation grows for the Trump administration to declare its all-out Iran policy, more voices in Washington are heard advocating the necessity of regime change. The reason Iran is more terrified is that these calls are coming at a time when the Iranian opposition NCRI is more able than ever before to deliver the solution needed for Iran.

Iranian Resistance in Paris calls for regime change in Tehran

Originally published in the Dutch website OpinieZ Magazine

The Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) held its annual convention on Saturday in Paris calling on the international community to adopt a firm policy vis-à-vis the regime in Tehran. Hundreds of influential political figures from across the globe joined a massive gathering of the Iranian Diaspora demanding an end to the mullahs’ rule after 38 years of devastation.

NCRI President Maryam Rajavi was the keynote speaker at the rally, voicing the strongest position and representing the only true alternative able to realize true change in Iran.

Other speakers included a strong American delegation led by former New York City Mayor Rudi Giuliani and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, both known for their very close ties to the Trump administration. A very bold European presence was also seen voicing their support for the Iranian people and condemning Tehran’s belligerence.

Rajavi delivered the strongest speech of the event, signaling how the end of the mullahs’ rule is very much at hand.

“The regime’s overthrow is possible and within reach, and a democratic alternative and organized resistance exists that can topple it,” she emphasized.

“The regime is not capable of reform because the so-called reformists who were in office for more than half of this regime’s rule, did nothing but serving the velayat-e faqih (absolute rule of the clergy). This regime cannot be contained, because more than three decades of West’s concessions did not bring about any change in this regime,” the NCRI President said.

Rajavi underlined the plight of Iran’s population under the mullahs’ rule and hailed Iran’s political prisoners for backing the rally “from the depths of the regime’s torture chambers.”

It is high time for the international community to recognize the Iranian people’s struggle to overthrow the mullahs’ religious dictatorship, blacklist the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization and bring an end to Tehran’s destructive influence across the Middle East.

The NCRI President went on to underscore her movement’s unwavering belief in the people’s free choice, separation of church and state, women’s active and equal participation in political leadership, and Iran’s various ethnic groups provided the opportunity to enjoy autonomy under the framework of national territorial integrity.

“As I have reiterated, repeatedly, we want neither money, nor arms. We urge you to recognize the Iranian people’s right to overthrow the mullahs’ religious dictatorship,” Rajavi highlighted.

Europeans also voiced their views on any future relations between the Green Continent and Iran.

“We urge the EU and the European Member States, the US and the UN to condemn human rights violations in Iran, blacklist the Islamic Revolutionary Guards and call for those who were involved in crimes against humanity to be brought to international tribunals. Any further expansion of relations with Iran must be conditioned to a clear progress on human rights, women’s rights and a halt to executions,” reads a statement issued by 265 Members of the European Parliament.

The presence of Mayor Giuliani and former House Speaker Gingrich added enormous political weight behind the entire event.

“You, I, my government and your leadership, we see Iran in exactly the same way. The regime is evil and it must go. #FreeIran,” Giuliani emphasized, referring to the main convention hashtag.

“I think it’s fair to say that the Trump administration has much fewer illusions about the nature of the Iranian dictatorship,” Gingrich explained. “I think it’s fair to say that Secretary of Defense Mattis in his years in the Central Command understands exactly who the Iranian dictatorship is…I think it’s fair to say that the National Security Advisor, General McMaster, in his years of service in the Middle East, knows exactly who the Iranian dictatorship is.”

The Arab World’s main representative in the convention was former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal who called for the prosecution of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and other senior Iranian officials for “crimes against the Iranian people,” who he described as the “first victims” of the Iranian regime.

Prince Turki described the Arab and Iranian nations as brothers through “not only geography, but the humanitarian relationships.”

“All the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and their neighbor Iran have always been living in harmony until the [mullahs’ regime] came into being in 1979,” Prince Turki added.

Faisal stressed elections in Iranian are undemocratic and illegitimate due to the regime installing a strict vetting system to filter all candidates. The mullahs’ behavior does not qualify it as a democratic system, he finalized.

Tehran has undergone a series of setbacks following last month’s Riyadh Summit where American, Arab and Islamic leaders established a strong coalition against the mullahs’ regime. That, parallel to the US overhauling its comprehensive Iran policy, are recipes of disaster for the future of the Iranian regime.

 

 

Iraanse oppositie roept in Parijs op tot machtswisseling in Teheran

De Iraanse oppositiebeweging National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) hield afgelopen zaterdag haar jaarlijkse conventie in Parijs met een oproep aan de internationale gemeenschap tot een stevige aanpak van het regime in Teheran. Honderden invloedrijke politici uit alle delen van de wereld namen deel aan een massale bijeenkomst van de Iraanse Diaspora waarin het einde werd geëist van de regering van de mollahs na 38 jaar rampspoed.

Titelfoto: Screenshot door redactie OpinieZ van YouTube-video, kanaal Iranncr

Maryam Rajavi
NCRI-president Maryam Rajavi was de keynote speaker op de bijeenkomst, waar ze in krachtige taal het enige werkelijke alternatief voor echte verandering in Iran verkondigde. Andere sprekers waren een zware Amerikaanse delegatie onder leiding van de voormalige burgemeester van New York Rudi Giuliani en de voormalige House Speaker Newt Gingrich, beiden bekend om hun nauwe banden met de regering-Trump. Een forse Europese delegatie gaf ook haar steun aan het Iraanse volk en veroordeelde de oorlogszuchtigheid van Iran.

Rajavi hield de stevigste toespraak van het evenement. Ze vertelde dat het einde van de regering van de mollahs steeds dichterbij komt.

Omverwerpen
“Het omverwerpen van het regime is mogelijk en binnen bereik en er bestaat een democratisch alternatief en georganiseerd verzet om het omver te werpen”, benadrukte ze. “Het regime is niet in staat tot hervorming omdat de zogenaamde hervormers, die al de helft van de regeringsperiode van dit regime in functie zijn, niks anders hebben gedaan dan de velayat-e faqih (de absolute macht van de geestelijkheid) dienen. Dit regime kan niet in toom worden gehouden, omdat meer dan drie decennia van concessies door het Westen geen verandering in het regime hebben teweeggebracht”, sprak de NCRI-president.

Zwarte lijst
Rajavi onderstreepte het lijden van de Iraanse bevolking onder het bewind van de mollahs en prees de Iraanse politieke gevangenen voor hun steun aan de bijeenkomst “vanuit de krogten van de martelkamers van het regime”. Het is de hoogste tijd voor de internationale gemeenschap om de strijd van Iraanse volk voor het omverwerpen van de religieuze dictatuur van de mollahs te erkennen, de Islamitische Revolutionaire Garde (IRGC) op de zwarte lijst van terroristische organisaties te zetten en een eind te maken aan de destructieve invloed van Iran in het Midden-Oosten.

De NCRI-president vervolgde met het benadrukken van het onwankelbare geloof van haar beweging in de vrije keuze van het volk, de scheiding van kerk en staat, actieve en gelijke participatie van vrouwen in politiek leiderschap en de mogelijkheid voor Iran’s diverse etnische groepen om autonomie te verkijgen binnen het kader van nationale territoriale integriteit. “Zoals ik al vaker heb gezegd, we willen geen geld en geen wapens. We dringen er bij jullie op aan om het recht van het Iraanse volk te erkennen om het religieuze dictatorschap van de mollahs omver te werpen”, vatte Rajavi samen.

Europees Parlement
Europeanen maakten ook hun opvattingen bekend over de toekomstige betrekkingen met Iran. “We dringen er bij de EU, de Europese lidstaten, de VS en de VN op aan om de mensenrechtenschendingen in Iran te veroordelen, de Islamitische Revolutionaire Garde op de zwarte lijst te zetten en er voor te zorgen dat zij die betrokken waren bij misdaden tegen de menselijkheid voor internationale rechtbanken te brengen. Elke verdere uitbreiding van de betrekkingen met Iran moet afhankelijk zijn van duidelijke vooruitgang op het geboed van mensenrechten, vrouwenrechten en een einde aan de executies” luidt een verklaring van 265 leden van het Europees Parlement.

Giuliani en Gingrich
De aanwezigheid van burgemeester Giuliani en de voormalige House Speaker Gingrich gaven een enorm politiek belang aan het hele evenement.

“Jij, ik, mijn regering en jouw leiding, wij zien Iran op precies dezelfde manier. Het regime is kwaadaardig en het moet opstappen. #FreeIran”, benadrukte Giuliani, verwijzend naar de belangrijkste hashtag voor de conferentie.

“Ik denk dat terecht kan worden gezegd dat de regering-Trump veel minder illusies heeft over de aard van de Iraanse dictatuur”, verklaarde Giuliani.”Ik denk dat terecht kan worden gezegd dat minister van Defensie Mattis door zijn ervaring bij het centrale opperbevel precies begrijpt wie de Iraanse dictatuur is…Ik denk dat terecht kan worden gezegd dat de Nationale Veiligheidsadviseur, Generaal McMaster, door zijn dienstjaren in het Midden-Oosten precies weet wie de Iraanse dictatuur is”.

Saoedi-Arabië
De belangrijkste afgevaardigde van de Arabische wereld was het vroegere hoofd van de Saoedische veiligheidsdienst prins Turki al-Faisal die opriep tot vervolging van de Iraanse Hoogste Leider Ali Khamenei en andere ervaren Iraanse functionarissen wegens “misdaden tegen het Iraanse volk”, dat hij aanduidde als de “eerste slachtoffers” van het regime.

Prins Turki beschreef de Arabisch en Iraanse naties als broeders “niet alleen vanweege de geografie, maar ook vanwege de menselijke betrekkingen”.”Alle Golfstaten en hun buur Iran hebben altijd in harmonie met elkaar geleefd tot (het regime van de mollahs) ontstond in 1979″, voegde prins Turki er aan toe. Faisal benadrukte dat de verkiezingen in Iran ondemocratisch zijn en onrechtmatig doordat het regime een streng controlesysteem gebruikt om de kandidaten te filteren. Het gedrag van de mollahs kwalificeert niet als een democratisch systeem, sloot hij af.

Teheran heeft een reeks tegenslagen ondergaan na de top in Riyad vorige maand waar Amerikaanse, Arabische en islamitische leiders een sterke coalitie tegen het regime van de mollahs vormden. Dat, in combinatie met de herziening van het Iranbeleid van de VS, vormt een rampscenario voor de toekomst van het Iraanse regime.

Opposition convention in Paris calls for evicting Iran from the Middle East

A vast convention hall located north of Paris was the scene of a massive Iranian Diaspora gathering who voiced their demand for a better future through regime change in Tehran.

Hundreds of dignitaries from the Arab World, United States and Europe stood alongside the Iranian opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its President Maryam Rajavi in condemning Tehran’s meddling throughout the Middle East as the main obstacle to establish peace and security in at least four regional states.

Saturday’s keynote speaker was Rajavi, who called on the international community to recognize the NCRI as the voice representing the Iranian people, evict Iran from the Middle East end the appeasement policy and welcome a strong strategy of standing shoulder to shoulder with the Iranian people’s call for regime change.

Regional support

Considering the tumultuous conditions brought about across the Middle East as a result of Iran’s disastrous meddling, the presence of an important name in the Arab World voiced a very significant statement.

“The Iranian people are the first victims of Khomeini’s dictatorship,” said Turki Faisal, former Saudi ambassador in the United States and United Kingdom. “Your effort in challenging this regime is legitimate and your resistance for the liberation of the Iranian people of all ethnicities, including Arabs, Kurds, Baluchis, Turks and Fars of the mullahs’ evil, as Mrs. Rajavi said, is a legitimate struggle.”

In a sign of a united Middle East position in the face of Iran’s belligerence, numerous Arab delegations including many former and current officials from more than a dozen regional countries participated in the convention.

In their colorful array of speeches these representatives of hundreds of millions of people who have suffered from the mullahs’ support for terrorism placed their fists down saying enough is enough. Following four decades of endless destruction and misery brewed by Tehran’s mullahs across the region, these nations are more than ever supporting the NCRI platform advocating regime change.

Tehran’s main rival

Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi spearheaded Saturday’s convention.

“Our people want a constitution based on freedom, democracy and equality. The time has come for the international community to heed the demands of the people of Iran,” she said.

Rajavi shed light on a subject less taken into consideration about Iran, being the very fact that the roots of Tehran’s foreign wars are found in its domestic crises.

“Out of the past 38 years, the mullahs were engaged in war with Iraq for eight years, have been at war with the people of Syria for six years, and have pursued confrontation with the international community for more than ten years to build an atomic bomb. The Iranian Resistance is proud that it has stood up to the mullahs’ religious fascism in all these three spheres: It has been the flag-bearer of peace and freedom; it has been a vanguard in defending the people of Syria, and it has led the way for a non-nuclear Iran,” Rajavi added.

“We have welcomed the statements made at the Arab, Islamic, American Summit in Riyadh against the Iranian regime’s terrorist and destabilizing activities. Nevertheless, we emphasize that the ultimate solution to the crisis in the region and confronting groups like ISIS, is the overthrow of the Iranian regime by the Iranian people and Resistance,” she continued.

Placing forward the most important changes needed, Rajavi stated people’s demands in their struggle for freedom and democracy.

1) The international community must recognize the NCRI as the sole legitimate voice representing Iranian people.

2) Bringing a lasting end to the highly-flawed policy of engagement and appeasement vis-à-vis Tehran.

3) Establishing a strong position of standing shoulder to shoulder with the Iranian people’s will of seeking an end to the mullahs’ rule through regime change.

Fierce quarrel

Politicians and high-profile figures from the United States and Europe gave more weight to a complementary message of this conference: the mullahs do not represent the Iranian people and it is high time for the international community to acknowledge this nation’s true demand for regime change.

Representing a rare bipartisan initiative in Washington, American dignitaries including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Senator Joseph Lieberman, Mayor Rudi Giuliani, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Governor Ed Rendell and a substantial slate of dozens of other political and military officials joined the ranks of many others voicing their support.

“You, I, my government and your leadership, we see Iran in exactly the same way. The regime is evil and it must go. #FreeIran,” said Mayor Giuliani.

“I think it’s fair to say that the Trump administration has much fewer illusions about the nature of the Iranian dictatorship. I think it’s fair to say that Secretary of Defense Mattis in his years in the Central Command understands exactly who the Iranian dictatorship is…I think it’s fair to say that the National Security Advisor, General McMaster, in his years of service in the Middle East, knows exactly who the Iranian dictatorship is,” said former US presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.

Iran has been suffering a series of setbacks following last month’s Riyadh Summit. Couple that with the Trump administration continuing to evaluate its comprehensive Iran policy, the mullahs in Tehran have every reason to be extremely concerned about how the bleak the future is.

Iran opposition convention pioneers call for regime change

A massive gathering of the Iranian Diaspora in a vast convention hall north of Paris voiced their compatriots’ demands for regime change in Tehran. The colossal and energetic event, staged annually by opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), led by its President Maryam Rajavi, brought together hundreds of former US, European and Middle Eastern officials and dignitaries.

Saturday’s rally was headlined by NCRI President Maryam Rajavi calling on the international community to acknowledge the Council as the legitimate voice and representative of the Iranian people, abandon once and for all the appeasement policy and adopt a firm strategy of standing alongside the Iranian people’s true demand of regime change.

American dignitaries representing both sides of aisle, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Senator Joseph Lieberman, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Governor Ed Rendell and a slate of many other political and military officials also added their voice.

“You, I, my government and your leadership, we see Iran in exactly the same way. The regime is evil and it must go. #FreeIran,” said Mayor Giuliani.

“This is a regime which thinks it’s justice to kill 30,000 people. This is a regime which thinks it’s justice to have an election where no one is allowed to run. This is a regime which threatens all of its dissidents, all of its critics with jail at best and death at worst,” said former US presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.

“The capital since 1979 of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism has been in Tehran under this extremist regime, and that is why it’s got to go,” said Senator Joseph Lieberman.

“We must avoid allowing the regime in Tehran to achieve its long sought objective of an arc of control from Iran through the Baghdad government in Iraq, the Assad regime in Syria, and the Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon,” said Ambassador John Bolton, former US envoy to the United Nations.

Decidedly vitriolic statements were also made by the high profile American delegation of influential figures. This significant slate of names issued a statement prior to Saturday’s convention emphasizing, “We believe that change is within reach, not only because the regime is becoming engulfed in crisis, but also because there is a large and growing movement organizing for positive change. A viable organization capable of ending the nightmare of religious dictatorship by establishing freedom and democracy, tolerance, and gender equality has steadily gained visibility, popular support and international recognition.”

A significant statement was the presence of a key Arab World figure, especially considering conditions simmering currently between Iran and its Middle East neighbors.

“The Iranian people are the first victims of Khomeini’s dictatorship,” said Turki Faisal, former Saudi ambassador in the United States and United Kingdom. “Your effort in challenging this regime is legitimate and your resistance for the liberation of the Iranian people of all ethnicities, including Arabs, Kurds, Baluchis, Turks and Fars of the mullahs’ evil, as Mrs. Rajavi said, is a legitimate struggle.”

A large Arab delegation consisting of many former and current officials from more than a dozen countries also placed their weight behind the NCRI’s platform to bring about change in Iran.

The Iranian opposition leader delivered the keynote speech of the event.

“Our people want a constitution based on freedom, democracy and equality. The time has come for the international community to heed the demands of the people of Iran,” she said.

Rajavi also referred to the wide range of extensive activities carried out inside Iran by the vast network of supporters affiliated to the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), the leading member of the NCRI coalition, emphasizing how the exiled opposition is very much linked to the restive powder keg society inside the country.

“The overthrow of the religious dictatorship is possible and within reach because of the regime’s inabilities, including its inability to contain the country’s economic disintegration and environmental disasters, the inability to provide for the most rudimentary needs of our oppressed people,” Rajavi added.

On a different note, the NCRI President said it is high time to make Tehran understand its crimes will no longer go unanswered.

“Khamenei and other leaders of the regime must face justice for violations of human rights, crimes against humanity, particularly the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran, and for their war crimes in the region,” she said.

As the Trump administration continues to weigh its comprehensive policy on Iran, Rajavi called for sweeping sanctions targeting Iran’s belligerence, the blacklisting of the Revolutionary Guards, and supporting the Iranian people and their organized opposition in their quest for regime change.

“The mullahs’ time is up and the time has come to march forward,” she underscored. “This has also been stated in the American Declaration of Independence where it says, ‘whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of’ the people’s rights, ‘it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Government’ of their liking.”

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Why We Shouldn’t Worry About Giuliani’s Ties to an Iranian Resistance Group

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Former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani

November 28, 2016

Last week, Politico published an article critiquing the Mujahidin e-Khalq, or MEK, an Iranian resistance group, and the U.S. politicians who support it, especially former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. As a former Democratic member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and someone familiar with the MEK and Giuliani’s work on the organization’s behalf, I can say unequivocally that Benjamin’s assertions are outrageous—so outrageous that I must respond.

First, I want to be clear about one thing: This isn’t about Rudy Giuliani. Arguably the broadest and most impressive bipartisan coalition in a generation has supported the MEK in its campaign for regime change in Iran. This includes two former chairmen of the joint chiefs, two former CIA directors, a former attorney general and the former chairs of both political parties. The ideological range includes everyone from Howard Dean and Patrick Kennedy to Newt Gingrich and John Bolton. From this perspective, the outlier isn’t Rudy Giuliani; it’s Daniel Benjamin.

Let’s review a little history: The MEK was part of the coalition opposing the shah of Iran in the late 1970s, where it resisted the regime through political and military action. Its leadership was devastated by the shah’s secret police both by execution and imprisonment. The vacuum of leadership was briefly filled by a Marxist group that was rejected by the incarcerated MEK leaders. Many of these Marxist leaders were killed by the shah or by the mullahs after their ascent to power in 1979, and the MEK eventually regained its original leadership. As soon as it became clear that the mullah’s ambition for Iran was a theocracy, the MEK became an opposition group and fled into exile in Paris and Iraq.

 

Throughout this time, the MEK did take part in legitimate political and military action against the Iranian regime, but I have seen no evidence to support the assertion Benjamin makes that it took part in terrorist activities against Iranians or Americans.

The refugee camps of the MEK in Iraq in the 1980s were, by necessity, under the protection of the government of Iraq. MEK fighters were aligned with Iraqi Army during Iran/Iraq War. But Benjamin’s claims that they assisted in Saddam Hussein’s repression of the Kurds have been denied by both MEK and U.S. Army leaders in Iraq. Upon the arrival of U.S. forces in 2003, the MEK willingly handed over its weapons, accepted U.S. protection and actively exposed the Iranian regime and its proxies’ terrorist activities. This included saving American lives by identifying IED locations. This, more than anything, explains the group’s support by former U.S. military personnel, including the former army anti-terror officer and the U.S. military police general assigned to the camp.

This is where the American foreign policy establishment begins to divide. The MEK provided critical intel on the Iranian nuclear program that was invaluable in countering Tehran’s efforts to develop atomic weapons. The leader of the movement, Maryam Rajavi, committed herself publicly to a democratic, non-nuclear, secular Iran at peace with its neighbors with gender equality and a ban on capital punishment. By organizing thousands in the Iranian diaspora and building political support in Congress and parliaments across Europe, it became the most organized and disciplined of the Iranian opposition groups.

Some current and former State Department employees, including Mr. Benjamin, have a different concept. They remain committed to the idea that the MEK was a terrorist organization—a notion, I believe, which stems from an illusion of American reconciliation with the mullahs. In 1997, a group at State succeeded in convincing President Bill Clinton to place the MEK on the State Department list of terrorist organizations. Some claimed at the time that this decision was mainly intended as a goodwill gesture to Iran. The State Department gave as its reasons the MEK’s long record of violence, but I can tell you that as a member of the Foreign Relation Committee, I reviewed the State Department file on the MEK and found no evidence, no testimony and no reason for the designation except placating Tehran.

Thousands of Iranian-Americans and literally hundreds of members of Congress protested. In 2011, as a private attorney, I led a team of lawyers in a State Department inquiry to resolve the issue. After four hours of testimony, we yielded to the State Department to present their contradictory evidence. They had nothing.

With no evidence and the threat of an order by the U.S. District Court, Secretary Hillary Clinton removed the MEK from the State Department list of terrorist organizations in 2012.

Defeat came hard for the Iran apologists within the department. Mr. Benjamin isn’t the first to argue that the broad coalition of former U.S. intelligence, military, diplomatic and congressional leaders can’t be believed because some accepted speaking fees to attend MEK meetings around the world. The fact that these people faced combat for or dedicated their entire careers to our country, and are among our most respected leaders seems to be of no consequence. It’s an argument that requires no rebuttal except to note that by this standard the views of Thomas Paine, Elie Wiesel and Winston Churchill—all of whom accepted speaking fees from various international organizations—would have been silenced as well.

Not the least of those who spoke out was Rudy Giuliani. In 2012, the 3,000 MEK refugees settled along the Iran/Iraq border were under imminent threat. The tension was complicating Iraqi relations with the United States. Secretary Clinton requested that I assemble a persuasive group of distinguished Americans to travel to Europe and persuade Mrs. Rajavi to relocate the refugees to a former U.S. military base near Baghdad. I appealed to Louis Freeh, Ed Rendell, Michael Mukasey and Rudy Giuliani. Each accepted, canceled commitments, paid his own transportation to Paris and argued persuasively that the MEK assist the United States by relocating.

Like any broad coalition in a large diverse country like ours, the perspectives of the Americans in this coalition vary. Some believe that in the political vacuum following an economic or political collapse in Tehran, a determined and well-funded political opposition like the MEK could seize power. Others believe that the MEK might simply be part of a broader coalition, a simple pressure point or just a source of continuing intelligence. The rationale for support might differ, but this diverse group of Americans is united in two ways: All believe that the MEK is a genuine democratic force and that regime change in Tehran is the best option to keep the peace, avoid a nuclear Iran and advance American interests.

This leaves us with the central theme of Mr. Benjamin’s argument: Rudy Giuliani’s participation in this coalition disqualifies him for consideration as secretary of state.

Experience and participation in public policy issues was once a condition for high government service. It’s now a complication, because a record of advocacy creates controversy. But the selection of secretary of state needs to be different. Among the most likely crises facing the new president is an escalation in the struggle with the fundamentalist Islamic Republic of Iran. Rudy Giuliani has lived that struggle for a decade. Mr. Benjamin may quarrel with his efforts but it’s important to note that voices in the American foreign policy establishment as diverse as Senator McCain, Secretary Clinton, Deputy Secretary Blinken and John Kerry’s own personal representative on the MEK, Jonathan Weiner disagree. Each has thanked Rudy Giuliani and the other Americans involved in these efforts.

The president-elect may or may not choose Mr. Giuliani as secretary of state. What shouldn’t happen is for countering Tehran and assisting our country to be seen as anything other than a valuable contribution to his consideration.

Originally published in the Politico