French National Assembly: Conference on Middle East Developments

Article published on Jan. 20, 2017
Article published on Jan. 20, 2017

This article has not been vetted by an editor at Paris HQ

A conference was held on Tuesday, January 17, 2017, at the Victor Hugo Hall of the French National Assembly to address "Middle East Developments, French and European Approaches."

A conference on Middle East Developments, French and European Approaches was held on January 17, 2017, at the Victor Hugo Hall of the French National Assembly. The key note speaker of the conference was Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). She addressed several members of the French Parliament and former members of U.S. and European governments.

Other speakers included Lincoln Bloomfield, former Assistant U.S. Secretary of State and Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras, former Vice President of the European Parliament, along with various members of the French Parliament. The speakers each focused on the Iranian regime’s role in the current situation within the Middle East and how the JCPOA has impacted Iran.

“The people of Iran have not benefited from the JCPOA. Instead, the agreement filled the coffers of Khamenei and his Revolutionary Guards Corps and funded their deadly adventures in Syria and other parts of the region. The world has now learned that the Iranian mullahs’ regime, the IRGC, the Hezbollah and their other mercenary militia in Syria do not seek to fight the Daesh (ISIS) and extremism, but are there to save the dictator of Damascus,” said Rajavi. “There will be no political solution as long as the Revolutionary Guards and their militia are on the Syrian soil. So, if we want peace, we must start with expelling the Iranian regime from Syria. The main loser of a ceasefire and peace in Syria is the Iranian regime.”

Arguments were made against the United States’ Iranian policy, which was referred to as a policy of appeasement and inaction. “In light of the failure of the policy of appeasement, there is a great need for policy change to end the suffering of the people of Syria, their displacement and homelessness,” said Rajavi. “One cannot unite with extremists to uproot extremism…No country should close their eyes on violations of human rights and women’s rights in Iran for economic interests.”

Mr. Bloomfield talked about the vulnerability of the Iranian regime, questioning why it would do everything in its power to delay a nuclear agreement and interfere in other countries throughout the region. “They are vulnerable because of the crimes that they have personally committed. In 1988, the justice minister Pourmohammadi personally authorized the killings of tens of thousands of people but so did other senior figures of the regime…People are guilty of these crimes and they have not been held accountable,” said Bloomfield.

He noted that their involvement in the region was to deflect the issues within Iran. He noted that members of the U.S. government under President Obama were focused on the nuclear threat that Iran presented and that became the primary focus, ignoring all the other things that the regime was engaged in, both externally and internally. The reformists that many in Washington pointed to as making changes in Iran, but Bloomfield pointed out that repression has gone up, not down. “This is the dynamic of the Iran regime and so the reformist myth does not equal moderation,” said Bloomfield.

Prominent former U.S. officials sent a letter to President-elect Trump, urging him to broaden the U.S. policy on Iran to include its human rights violations and the destabilization of the region as Iran continues to meddle in other countries, such as Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Multiple speakers noted that the European and United States need to be firm with Iran versus treaties that Iran does not stand by or uphold.

The other message was one of peace to the 80 million Iranians who live under the regime. These speakers noted that they weren’t at war with Iranians, but they wanted to spread knowledge, so the Iranians would know what was being done in their name and how the funds from the nuclear agreement are not being used to economically benefit the Iranians.

Ms. Rajavi and several other speakers mentioned an alternative to the Iranian regime, which included the NCRI’s 10 Point Plan. “Today, there is an alternative for Iran that is based on a democratic project which respects the followers of all religions and faiths, non-believers, all freedoms and women’s equality with men. This alternative deserves to be heard,” said Rajavi. “The only thing we need is to adhere to democratic values.”

Several speakers pointed to the various demonstrations being held in Iran and how even political prisoners are speaking out against the regime, along with their families. “Thousands of demonstrators marked the birthday of Cyrus the Great, who wrote the world’s first declaration of human rights, by calling for a future devoid of the criminal mullahs. A few weeks ago, on the Student Day, demonstrators demanded the freedom of political prisoners,” said Rajavi.

She referenced the political prisoners’ families in particular, applauding their standing up to the regime “by holding its officials accountable for their crimes, particularly the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988.”

The NCRI has been key in getting intelligence about the situation in Iran out to the international community. Despite being labeled as terrorist in Iran, this group has focused on bringing an international light to the situation in Iran and the Middle East based on the regime’s current method of spreading extremism.