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.

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Iran exiles demand regime change as nuclear deadline looms

The international community is literally hanging in the balance over the upcoming May 12th Iran nuclear deal deadline. Advocates of the accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), continue to claim anything but the deal will lead to a new war in the Middle East.

The Iranian people, however, represented by thousands of exiles taking part in Saturday’s “Iran Freedom Convention” in Washington, DC, voiced their demand for regime change in their home country. Their call is coupled with significant support provided by a long slate of American dignitaries and elite Members of Congress.

This is the beginning of even more turbulent weeks and months for the Iranian regime.

Strong voices

The event was hosted by the Organization of Iranian-American Communities, a group supportive of the 2017-2018 protests and advocating regime change to realize freedom and democracy in Iran.

“The people of Iran are calling on the international community, in particular the West, to support their uprising for the overthrow of the Iranian regime,” said Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi in a message to the rally.

As President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Rajavi is a known voice of the Iranian people’s four-decade struggle against the ruling regime that many accuse of hijacking the 1979 revolution and now wreaking havoc inside the country and abroad.

“Since the JCPOA was forged, the Iranian Resistance stressed that the nuclear deal had provided ‘unwarranted concessions’ to the regime and any agreement must take into account Tehran’s meddling in the Middle East,” she explained, adding “the experience of the past three years has confirmed that the mullahs took advantage of the concessions in the JCPOA to suppress the people of Iran and massacre the people of Syria.”

Former New York City mayor and current Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani delivered a speech at the gathering to place his support behind for regime change, saying the American President is “as committed to regime change as we are.”

“I truly believe that we will have one of these conventions in Tehran… Protests are now all over Iran. 142 cities and growing… We have a real chance of escalating these protests,” he explained.

And in his remarks to reporters Giuliani explained regime change in Iran is “the only way to peace in the Middle East” and “more important than an Israeli-Palestinian deal.”

Giuliani also referred to his recent visit to Tirana, the capital of Albania, home to members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), the main entity member of the NCRI, praising their determination and calling for supporting their ongoing cause.

“Now that they don’t have to be worried about being slaughtered by the Iranians and the Iraqis, who have become a satellite of Iran, they can do a lot of productive things. They’ve now speeded up dramatically our ability to bring freedom to Iran,” he said.

And on the JCPOA’s future, Giuliani, known for his blatant stance against the accord, took a piece of paper in his hands and pretended to rip it apart.

Bipartisan initiative

Former US ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson also attended the event and signaled how NCRI supporters enjoy bipartisan backing amongst America’s political elite.

“The Iranian people want regime change… We are here to recognize there is a legitimate opposition, right here. The National Council of Resistance of Iran,” Richardson said his speech.

Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle also sent messages of solidarity and underscored their ongoing support for the Iranian people’s struggle against the oppressive regime.

“Your message as well as of those in Iran is a message of peace. You want democracy in Iran, not war or repression,” said Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), debunking all claims raised by Iranian regime apologists against Tehran’s sole organized opposition that delivers a platform for Iran’s future.

“Know that you have friends and supporters in the US Congress, willing to work toward peace and stability in Iran,” says Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a senior figure amongst US Democrats.

“You are here and you continue to be the voice of Iranian people, together with the people marching in Iran,” said Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen (R-FL) in her message, proving yet again how Tehran’s rulers do not enjoy popular support and the Iranian opposition in-exile is the true representative of the restive Iranian populace.

This major development, covered widely by the US media, comes as Congress continues to weigh a slate of different measures aimed at escalating pressures on Iran’s conglomerate of belligerencies, including its ballistic missiles program, meddling and support for terrorism in other countries, and a completely unnecessary nuclear program.

Turbulent week

Only days are left to the JCPOA deadline and all parties are preparing for a new era of Washington pulling out of a deal Trump views as highly flawed.

Europe is understandably striving to safeguard the accord while also adopting measures aimed at preserving its economic interests come the day the US pulls out of the JCPOA. It would be highly unlikely, and safe to say illogical, for Europe to stand alongside the Iranian regime and go against the US

As heated discussions continue and many in the anti-JCPOA camp demanding a return of crippling sanctions, Rajavi goes one step further and delivers a complimentary solution that will further cause major alarm soundings in Tehran:

“Recognizing the NCRI as the democratic alternative to the clerical regime.”

Close Trump Ally Calls For Iran Regime Change Policy

Forbes

At a time when Iran is experiencing unprecedented political, economic and social turmoil with protesters across the country demanding sweeping changes, the international scene is looking even more bleak for Tehran.

The Trump administration is undergoing a major reshuffling, with analysts believing Iran is becoming a significant focal point. The core understanding pivots around the mentality that there no longer remains any doubt that Iran poses the main threat to peace and security in the Middle East.

U.S. President Donald Trump nominated CIA Director Mike Pompeo as his top diplomat. Further reports indicate former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton might become the new National Security Advisor to the President.

These developments follow a recent speech with Trump pinpointing Iran as being behind all the region’s ongoing dilemmas, analogous to the President’s annual statement marking the Persian holiday of Nowruz to lash out at Tehran and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) with unprecedented sharp-tongued language.

This is coming about as the clock ticks towards the May 12 deadline that President Trump has set for the final fate of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran. As this momentum builds up Tehran’s concerns, Rudy Giuliani, the acclaimed New York mayor during 9/11 and now Trump’s cybersecurity advisor, paid a visit to Albania, home to the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

The occasion was the Iranian New Year, “Nowruz,” meaning a new day, on Tuesday.

“America’s Mayor” on Sunday met with Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi, President of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the coalition best known for blowing the whistle on Iran’s clandestine nuclear program back in 2002.

And on Tuesday, Giuliani spoke before several thousand PMOI/MEK members, emphasizing how the MEK plays such a crucial role in ongoing protests.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei describes them as the main domestic element behind the unrest and President Hassan Rouhani called on his French counterpart to restrict the PMOI/MEK in France, Giuliani added.

“These and similar cases indicate the massive and growing social base of the MEK inside the country,” he continued.

He did not mince his words for the ayatollahs, saying they would end up in hell. And as far as Iran policy is concerned, he was quite unequivocal: The right policy on Iran is to seek a regime change.

Giuliani’s remarks in a way jibe with the President Trump’s Nowruz message:

“The history of Nowruz is rooted in Iran, where for millennia a proud nation has overcome great challenges by the strength of its culture and the resilience of its people. Today, the Iranian people face another challenge: rulers who serve themselves instead of serving the people.

“Twenty-five centuries ago, Darius the Great asked God to protect Iran from three dangers: hostile armies, drought, and falsehood. Today, the Iranian regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) represents all three.

“Despite the oppression they face, Iranians are fighting to reclaim their rights. They long for a springtime of hope, and the United States stands with the Iranian people in their aspirations to connect to the wider world and have a responsible and accountable government that truly serves their nation’s interests.”

Giuliani comes with a history of tough language on Iran’s regime and supporting the cause of regime change. He has spoken proudly in the NCRI’s annual Paris gatherings along with hundreds of other dignitaries from across the globe and a large crowd of the Iranian Diaspora signaling the movement’s social base.

Pandeli Majko, Senior Minister of State and former Prime Minister of Albania; Elona Gjebrea, Secretary of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee; and Fatmir Mediu, leader of the Republican Party of Albania and former Minister of Defense also took part and addressed the gathering.

Rajavi’s speech echoed an upbeat message.

“Last year ended with the season of uprising, and the coming year can and must be turned into a year full of uprisings. And this is going to be an uprising until victory,” she said.

“Khamenei had to admit that the force inciting protests in Iran is PMOI/MEK… and prepared for it since months before,” Rajavi continued.

“When the people of Iran have the option of a free and democratic government based on the separation of religion and state, and based on justice and equality, why should they have to be content with a reactionary, decadent and inhumane regime?”

As European officials remain concerned about their future interests, Rajavi pointed out, “Europe’s long-overdue focus on the threats posed by the Iranian regime’s regional warmongering and its ballistic missile program is of course a positive step. Further steps are needed, including the expulsion of the regime from the region, shutting down its missile and uranium enrichment programs, and blocking its access to the international banking system.”

Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi address large Nowruz gathering of PMOI/MEK members (NCRI)

There is no doubt of Iran being in the in the headlines in the months to come, already signaling a rapid shift in momentum against the ayatollahs.

That explains the heightening anxiety among senior regime officials to a point where on March 11, IRGC chief Mohammad Ali Jafari said that Khamenei’s main concerns includes the persistence of domestic unrest and the IRGC’s internal situation.

The new mood also renders from the Iranian opposition’s unprecedented optimism that the long-sought regime change by the Iranian people is very well within reach.

Nowruz is in fact heralding a truly new day for Iran.

As President Trump emphasizes in his Nowruz message, “May the Iranian people soon enjoy a new day of peace, prosperity and joy.”

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.

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.

What to learn from Iran’s unconventional naval tactics

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Tehran took advantage of Obama’s appeasement to increase its Middle East influence. An alternative is available, and it’s not war.

 

Once again Iran resorted to its desperate and unprofessional tactic of dispatching fast-attack boats in the Persian Gulf to harass U.S. Navy ships, this time leading to warning shots fired by the USS Mahan destroyer.

 

This latest incident, taking place on Monday, January 9th, was the first such case recorded in 2017 and can be a prelude to what lies ahead. A weak Obama administration policy vis-à-vis Iran, based on appeasement, allowed Tehran take advantage especially for domestic purposes.

 

Iran understands perfectly it stands no match against the U.S. in conventional military warfare, including naval combat. The Iranian navy suffered devastating blows by the U.S. Navy throughout the 1980s through the course of the Iran-Iraq War.

 

Following a year of significant tension in the Gulf and Strait of Hormuz–through which a significant amount of the world’s oil exports passes–Iran is bracing for a new administration in Washington.

 

After Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei succumbed to the humiliation of signing a nuclear accord with the international community, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, he desperately needs to continue boasting the anti-American mantra through such measures and provocative marital encounters.

 

Despite the U.S. designating Iran as the leading state sponsor of terrorism, the mullahs understood fully how former U.S. president Barack Obama sought to hallmark the Iran deal as his foreign policy legacy. As a dismal consequence, amongst many others, Tehran was able to pursue its lethal policies in Syria to maintain Bashar Assad in power, knowing the Obama administration would refrain from any action threatening the nuclear talks.

 

Betting on the notion Obama would avoid any confrontation potentially endangering the JCPOA, Iran escalated its use of unconventional military methods to maintain a satisfactory image and reputation for its already dwindling and dismal social base.

 

Back in January of 2016 Iran’s Revolutionary Guards members apprehended a number of U.S. Navy sailors, launching a wave of criticism in the U.S. against Obama and his Iran doctrine. It is believed the general political atmosphere established by the Obama administration twisted the U.S. Navy’s arm from taking any measures even authorized by the books.

 

Parallel to naval aggravations, Iran has invested in a dangerous ballistic missile program, threatening not only U.S. interests and allies in the Middle East, but also capitals in Eastern Europe. This must be evaluated through Khamenei’s perspective, how ballistic missile launches allows him to canvas a somewhat reputable image against the “Great Satan” and other Iran ill-wishers.

 

This need increased significantly following the sudden death of former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. While considered a staunch rival of Khamenei and seeking his throne, Rafsanjani was nonetheless the balancing element for the regime in its entirety. His absence has left a void, and Khamenei and the regime against dangerous times ahead.

 

“The death of Rafsanjani, one of the pillars of the religious fascism ruling Iran and its balance factor collapsed, and the regime in its entirety is closer now to its overthrow,” explained Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi, President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an umbrella group of dissident entities including People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

 

The new U.S. administration has the opportunity to remedy the highly flawed Middle East doctrine adopted by Team Obama, most importantly its Iran policy dossier.

 

Supporting the NCRI is one serious option in this regard.

“Nearly two dozen former top U.S. government officials have urged President-elect Donald Trump to work with Iran’s opposition once in office,” based on a letter obtained by Fox News, signed by former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani; former Sen. Joe Lieberman; and retired Army Gen. Hugh Shelton, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Bill Clinton, to name a few.

The Iran opportunity before Donald Trump

Donald Trump Holds Meetings At Trump Tower
If the Trump administration seeks to make Iran more amenable to take meaningful measures, they can be reminded with reference to the NCRI that their days are numbered. (AFP)

By Heshmat Alavi
Friday, 20 January 2017

Obama’s doctrine has allowed Iran to launch a string of anti-American measures and remarks throughout the course of his two terms, and most recently refuse any renegotiation of the nuclear deal sealed between the P5+1 and Tehran.

In response, sources say President-elect Donald Trump has received a hand-delivered letter signed by 23 top former US officials urging the adoption of a new approach vis-à-vis the regime in Iran. The text calls on the incoming Trump administration to engage and actively work with the Iranian opposition, an opportunity neglected and set aside by previous administrations.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) is an umbrella group of Iranian dissident groups, including mainly the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), known to first blow the whistle on Tehran’s clandestine nuclear weapons program.

The letter is signed by a colorful slate of bipartisan civil and military officials, including former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, former senator Joe Lieberman, former attorney general Michael Mukasey and General Hugh Shelton, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Clinton administration, to name a few.

“President Obama expressed the hope that nuclear negotiations would induce Iran’s leaders to act with greater consideration of American interests. It is now clear that Iran’s leaders have shown no interest in reciprocating… Iran’s rulers have directly targeted US strategic interests, policies and principles, and those of our allies and friends in the Middle East…” the letter, a copy of which was obtained by Fox News, reads. “…to restore American influence and credibility in the world, the United States needs a revised policy,” the text adds.

Obama’s Iran doctrine

This prominent slate of influential American dignitaries has touched on a very right tone, calling for an overhaul of Obama’s Iran doctrine in its entirety. Ever since day one after hijacking the Iranian revolution back in 1979, the basic problem has been none other than the very mullahs’ regime sitting on the throne in Tehran.

While in this day and age many talk about terrorism and refer to ISIS and al-Qaeda, Tehran remains the true source of terrorism across the globe. The US State Department continues to designate this regime as a—if not the—leading state sponsor of terrorism. Iran is the world’s central banker of international terrorism by funding Hamas, the Lebanese Hezbollah and a long slate of other extremist Shiite militia groups rampaging Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

This letter, signaling a significant gathering very rare in Washington politics for the past 8 years and beyond, is underscoring the fact that the unpopular regime in Iran is the source of a variety of dilemmas. The mullahs are maintaining their control over 80 million Iranians through the ruthless Revolutionary Guards, the paramilitary Basij Revomilitia and other security entities.

These oppressive entities showed their wrath in 2009 following the highly disputed reelection–read reselection of firebrand Mahmoud Ahmadinejad–as the regime’s president and quelling any and all dissent. The Obama administration missed the opportunity and turned its back on the Iranian people then.

Days numbered?

There is an alternative to the mullahs’ regime in Iran. If the Trump administration seeks to make Iran more amenable to actually take meaningful measures, they can be reminded with reference to the NCRI that their days are numbered, and counting down fast.

It would represent a remarkable message to Tehran if the new administration in Washington made a direct call to NCRI President Maryam Rajavi, a progressive Muslim woman who has devoted her life to regime change in Iran based on a 10-point plan aiming to bring about freedom, democracy, human rights, gender-religious-ethnic equality and a non-nuclear Iran.

Such a policy is not only in the best interest of the United States, but the Middle East and all nations who have suffered from Iran’s mischievous meddling policies. Of course, the mullahs and their lobbies in the US will not be happy at all if President Trump or members of his administration establish direct contact with the NCRI.

However, this should signal Tehran’s soft spot to Washington, and make the Trump administration even more interested about what can be done to support Iran’s legitimate opposition.

Originally posted in Al Arabiya English

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