for The Hill, is a former Foreign Minister of Italy
Giulio Terzi talks about the dissimilar attitudes within the European Nations and the United States regarding their relationships with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
While Britain has resumed commercial flights to Iran and appointed its first ambassador since diplomatic relations were severed in 2011, and the President of the French National Assembly visited Tehran in September, and Germany announced plans to open two Iranian banks in Munich, it’s also difficult for many policymakers in those countries to ignore the Iranian government’s provocative gestures, and that last year’s nuclear agreement has failed to encourage moderation inside the regime.
This seems to have led to efforts by some to offer support to organizations who oppose the current the clerical regime. Western allies of the Iranian Resistance are bringing attention to the plight of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK), and have assisted the residents of its community in Iraq, Camp Liberty, to relocate to safety in European countries.
While based in their original quarters at Camp Ashraf, the residents were the target of five missile attacks, three direct assaults, and a constant blockade of medical supplies and essential services. More than 150 died, as a result. Again, after their move to the former US military base of Camp Liberty, they were subjected to attacks. However, recently the last of some 3,000 residents Camp Liberty have been sent to stable homes, mostly in Albania. European advocates of the PMOI, who are legislators from across the political spectrum, worked tirelessly to achieve this success.
The polarity in the way Europe approaches to the Islamic Republic stems from the conflict between those who support the PMOI, and oppose the closer relations with Tehran, with those who close their eyes to the Iranian regime’s conduct at home and abroad, and are unfamiliar with the MEK, its principles, its durability, and its relevance.
Terzi writes, “Anyone with even a passing knowledge of the history of the Islamic Republic knows that it is unrealistic to think of the Iranian regime as our friend.” He adds, “A fifth nuclear test in the DPKR on Friday should raise accrued alarm in the international community for the long standing and secretive cooperation between Pyongyang and Tehran on missile and nuclear weapons programs forbidden by UN Security Council resolutions.”
Europeans are expanding relations with Tehran knowing of its human rights abuses and its subversion of democracy. A major reason for this is they simply don’t recognize that there is an alternative. Iranian propaganda portrays the Iranian resistance organization as insignificant. But, even though the regime tried to destroy the MEK, making it the target of a massacre in the summer of 1988 that killed a possible 30,000 political prisoners, the organization survived and continued to thrive.
Today, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), its parent organization, holds an annual international gathering near Paris, that draws approximately 100,000 supporters, including government officials from the UK, the US, the European Union, and even the Arab Republic. Additionally, the successful relocation of the residents of Camp Liberty, shows up the myth that there is no organized opposition to Iran’s clerical regime for the inaccuracy that it is.
Terzi says, “a new dawn looms on the horizon for the resistance,” and declares, “In light of this, persons with an interest in European foreign policy ought to push the European leadership to reassess their assumptions about Iran, and their motivations for dealing so softly with an inherently violent regime. A better argument for rapprochement might be made if it was truly the case that that regime is the only organized representative for the Iranian people. But the truth is very far from that. There is another government waiting in the wings, prepared to shape a future for Iran that is based on declared principles of secularism, democracy, and gender equality as it has been articulated by President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran Maryam Rajavi.”
“It is clear that the Iranian resistance can survive and grow even when it is neglected by the world community. It is clear that it can score significant victories over the Iranian regime when given a modicum of international support, as is the case with Camp Liberty. Just imagine what it could do if the European establishment ceased their pursuit of trade with the current regime and instead put their full-throated support behind the democratic opposition,” he concludes.