by Staff writer, SF
Serving at the top of various Algerian governmental departments, Sid Ahmed Ghozali saw the Iran of yesteryear, as well as that of today. This gives him a special insight as to Iran’s future.
In his various roles after the restoration of national sovereignty to Algeria in 1962, which culminated in his appointment as prime minister, he was in contact with Iran both before and after its revolution.
In September 1968 he met with former Prime Minister Manouchehr Iqbal, who was also the head of the Iranian oil company. He says that at that time, he could sense the Iranian people’s “dissatisfaction with the situation and the regime.”
He met the Shah for the first time at the OPEC summit held in Algiers on March 15, 1975, where the Shah spoke and “gave a large picture of his country’s status and achievements, glorifying the ‘great achievements’ he had made in various economic, military and other fields.” Ghozali says the Shah concluded his speech by saying, “In 1980 Iran will become the fourth, even the third industrial and military power of all over the world”
Algiers welcomed the Iranian revolution and provided valuable services to the new regime. Algerians helped to resolve the crisis of American hostages in Tehran, and in the Iran-Iraq war, Algiers remained neutral.
In February 1990 Ghozali visited Tehran and met with Rafsanjani, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, and many others including the supreme leader Ali Khamenei. By that time, he says, the regime had begun providing military, financial, and political support for terrorism.
“Tehran’s commitment to extremism and terrorist sponsorship was recorded in the minutes of meetings and debates that were held, for example, between Abbas Madani, the leader of the Islamic Salvation Front in Algeria, and Khamenei and Rafsanjani, during his visit to Tehran in 1991,” according to Ghozali.
At that time, Algiers cut ties with the mullahs’ regime. Nine years later, relations were restored, but today “we see that the mullahs’ regime is again working to recruit young people in our country,” Ghozali says, regretfully.
Regarding Iran’s future, Ghozali says that he has seen the videos that have come out of Iran in the past few months. People are dissatisfied with the regime’s actions. The Iranian people “are bold and do not fear death, but are challenging the regime in the streets of Iranian cities,” he says.
Their courage is a result of the struggle that cost the lives of more than 120,000 members of the Iranian resistance. This year marks the 30th anniversary of a massacre of 1988, during which 30,000 political prisoners who were members and supporters of the principal opposition movement, Mujahideen e Khalq, or MEK, were executed. They sacrificed themselves for freedom and democracy. Their legacy is present in the Iranian streets.
Even after years of massacres, executions, psychological warfare, and disinformation campaigns, the regime has been unable to eliminate dissent and opposition. “The resistance has remained active and influential, as it has been working inside Iran for years to build the strong domestic network that made recent nationwide uprisings possible,” Ghozali says, adding, “The members of the resistance, particularly the MEK, are also actively working outside Iran in various forums and parliaments and with policymakers and authors, to explain the reality of their country and present the positions of the resistance and what it hopes to achieve.”
Under the umbrella of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) which is led a democratic Muslim woman, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the resistance has been holding its annual general conference in Paris for more than a decade. Some 100,000 people and hundreds of politicians attend these conferences. This year, it will be held on June 30th, and is expected to be larger than its predecessors.
The popular uprising that rocked Iran during December and January, as well as the international activities in support of it, shows Iran’s possible future — as a free country, where the the people’s rights are guaranteed.
Ghozali states that, “After dealing with the Iranian situation for half a century, I have the sense that the long odyssey of the Iranian people is nearing its end and that they will attain freedom by standing up to the current dictatorship as they did to the Shah’s regime, this time facilitating democratic change at the hands of the Iranian people and the resistance.”