On Tuesday, January 17, 2017, a conference was held at the French National Assembly to discuss the changing role of Europe in the Middle East following recent political developments.
The conference, entitled “Middle East Developments: French and European Approaches”, was held in the Assembly’s Victor Hugo hall. Maryam Rajavi, the event’s keynote speaker, was joined by French parliamentarians including Dominique Lefebvre, Michel Terrot, Brigitte Allain, Pascal Deguilhem, Philippe Gosselin, and Federic Reiss, as well as former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Lincoln Bloomfield and Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras, former Vice President of the European Parliament.
The conference focused on Iran’s role as the primary generator of conflict in the Middle East, emphasizing its support of regional terrorism and its hand in conflicts in Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Syria.
The speakers urged the U.S. and Europe to adopt a firmer and more cohesive policy towards the Iranian regime in order to bolster peace and democracy in the Middle East. They specifically called upon France to help expunge the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iranian militias from Syria and Iraq.
Mr. Bloomfield noted the fragility of the Iranian regime after its 1981 suppression of a mass uprising.
“France is a highly sophisticated, highly cosmopolitan political culture… As I met people in the PMOI, they were eager to tell me their personal stories. Something happened to them, their family members…[yet] they don’t act like victims.”
“By getting to know so many members of the exile community, I gained many insights about the regime in Iran. I understand that the regime has a problem of legitimacy…and the revolution which they suppressed [in 1981] has come back in 1999 and 2009 and it will come back again.”
Mrs. Rajavi spoke about the death of Akbar Rafsanjani and the possibilities of a world in which Iran is weakened and the U.S. is under new leadership.
“The New Year began with great worries for the Iranian regime”, said Rajavi.
“With Rafsanjani’s death, one of the two pillars of the regime crumbled and the regime moved closer to its downfall in its entirety. Over the past 38 years, Rafsanjani played a significant role in suppression at home, export of terrorism abroad, and the regime’s quest to obtain the nuclear bomb. He always was the regime’s number 2 man who helped maintain its internal power balance. The clerical dictatorship has thus become weaker in its entirety.”
Rajavi also criticized the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, or Iran Deal) for financially benefiting Iran’s leadership without providing substantive change in Iran’s nuclear program. She went on to condemn the role of the U.S. in allowing conflicts to continue undeterred in the Middle East.
“The US government’s inaction is the main reason for the continuation of the tragedy in Syria and the Iranian regime’s dominance over this country”, she said.
“The Iranian regime has invested in the West’s policy of appeasement to export its extremism under the banner of Islam. At this point, I would like to commend President Hollande’s policy and approach to the people of Syria. This is the right policy as opposed to the US policy which abandoned Syria.”
She also strongly urged European countries not to do business with Tehran, whose leaders’ values, she said, are antithetical to Western ideals of liberty and democracy.
“No security policy can justify alliance with the mullahs”, she said. “Principles cannot be forgotten. No country should close their eyes on violations of human rights and women’s rights in Iran for economic interests.”
Maryam Rajavi’s whole speech can be found on her website.