Abandon the failed policy of appeasement and confront the mullahs – Struan Stevenson, Scottish Conservative MEP

Wednesday, 02 February 2011 08:15    .NCRI – Mr. Struan Stevenson, Scottish Conservative MEP and President of European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Iraq, told an international conference in Brussels on January 25 “We must stop this ludicrous game of ‘hide and seek’, abandon the failed policy of appeasement and confront the mullahs before they gain hegemony in the Middle East.” He emphasized, “That doesn’t mean armed invasion. It means backing the main opposition in overthrowing the fascist dictatorship.” The conference was attended by Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the Iranian Resistance; General James Jones, former national security adviser of President Obama; Bill Richardson, U.S. Energy Secretary under President Clinton; Governor of New Mexico until 2011; Michael Mukasey, former U.S. Attorney General; John Bolton, former Under Secretary of State and U.S. Ambassador to UN; Vice-President of European Parliament Vidal Quadras; and Irene Khan, General Secretary of Amnesty International until 2010.

Excerpts from Mr. Stevenson’s speech follow:

Last week in the European Parliament in Strasbourg we had an urgency debate on the situation in Iran, with a particular focus on the vicious imprisonment of Nasrin Sotoudeh, the courageous human rights lawyer who has defended many of the innocent people who have been unjustly sentenced and executed by this fascist regime. Her outrageous sentence of 11 years imprisonment for doing her job is an insult to human justice.

We roundly condemned the fascists in Tehran in our debate. Indeed it is unusual now for a monthly plenary session of our parliament to pass without some sort of debate on Iran. In December, we achieved the adoption, by an absolute majority of the European Parliament (400 MEPs), of a written declaration demanding an end to the siege and oppression of the defenceless refugees in Camp Ashraf.

I said in the debate last week that it had been my intention to compare the Islamic Republic of Iran to Nazi Germany, but in fact, in many ways it is worse. The mullahs have hanged 88 people so far this year. Ten were hanged on one day last week, but first they were brutally flogged before being dragged to the gallows.

Anyone who tries to expose this evil, like Nasrin Sotoudeh, is immediately targeted. The mullahs have now taken to arresting, torturing and hanging the parents of refugees in Ashraf. Simply visiting your son or daughter is enough to guarantee a death sentence when you return to Iran, as we saw with the horrific judicial murder of Ali Saremi in late December. The mullahs are desperately trying to cling to power by using fear and brutality as their only viable control mechanism over an increasingly traumatised and volatile population.

In a pathetic attempt to appear dismissive, the criminal regime in Tehran describes the PMOI as a ‘terrorist grouplet’ as if they are a tiny and insignificant nuisance to be casually swatted like a mosquito. And yet this so-called ‘grouplet’, this irritating little mosquito, features on top of every agenda at every meeting between the mullahs and their neighbours in Iraq, or at every meeting with representatives from the EU and the US.
 
The truth is that they fear and loathe the PMOI in equal measure. They fear them because they are the only realistic opposition to their corrupt, fascist regime. The PMOI networks inside Iran were the ones who risked their lives to expose the regime’s aggressive nuclear plans to the West. Every step the tyrants in Tehran take is monitored and reported to the outside world by the PMOI. That is why the mullahs’ number one target is that iconic symbol of resistance to their regime – Camp Ashraf and its 3,400 courageous residents.

We know only too well the lengths Khamenei went to prevent the removal of the PMOI from the EU terrorist list. I know from my own personal experience how hysterical they became when we invited Mrs Rajavi to come to the European Parliament to address the ruling EPP Political Group.

At that time Javier Solana was our High Representative for Foreign Affairs and he was placing urgent calls to Angela Merkel, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Nicolas Sarkozy, Silvio Berlusconi and Wolfgang Schüssel – the then Chancellor of Austria and virtually all of the key leaders in Europe, stating openly that Tehran was threatening to pull the plug on the nuclear talks if we went ahead with our meeting with Mrs Rajavi.

I myself received ominous phone calls from people claiming to be senior officials in the Foreign Office in London, but who subsequently turned out to be MI6 intelligence officers. Strange that the exiled leader of this insignificant ‘grouplet’ should merit such hysteria in Tehran!

But we won those battles. We resisted the pressure. We invited Mrs Rajavi to the Parliament. We exposed the lies and distortions which had been used to justify the PMOI’s listing on the British and EU terror blacklists and in successive court cases we were victorious, finally forcing the British and the EU to remove the PMOI from their lists and to restore their reputation as valid campaigners for freedom and democracy. We exposed the wretched policy of appeasement which led to the terrorist listing in the first place and which to this day still pervades and poisons our strategy in dealing with the evil Iranian regime.

Now like a cornered rabid dog, snapping and biting at anything within range, the regime even claims that the uprising which followed Ahmadinejad’s stolen re-election was the handiwork of the PMOI. They may describe the PMOI as a ‘grouplet’ but it is clearly a ‘grouplet’ that has awesome powers – a mosquito that has a deadly sting – in the eyes of Tehran. But this should come as no surprise to those of us who have followed the progress of the mullahs since the overthrow of the Shah. Like the majority of Iranian citizens, we know that there is no realistic alternative inside the regime.

Mir Hossein Mousavi became the figurehead leader of the Green Movement as the default opposition to Ahmadinejad, after the blatantly swindled election fraud. But when it counted the most, the spineless extremist of the 1980s betrayed even his own supporters in order to save his own neck. Now, he is irrelevant when it comes to the opposition to the mullahs.

The real hope of tens of millions of Iranians is the PMOI and that is why they are feared and loathed by Tehran. The mullahs believe they can handle the West, but they don’t know how to deal with the PMOI. They play games with the West, zig-zagging through a succession of talks, always playing for time, stretching out the West’s obsession with dialogue at any price, while in the secret bunkers and caves of Iran, manic activity continues to produce their first viable nuclear warhead.

And we fall for it again and again. Baroness Ashton left Istanbul empty handed last weekend. If we go on playing for time we will end up paying for time and we will pay dearly. A nuclear armed Iran will be a global threat.

While the West continues to play these silly games, Iran spreads its evil influence across the Middle East. We handed Iraq to the mullahs on a silver platter. Now thousands of trained agents of the Iranian regime have infiltrated every strata of Iraqi society. It is the same in Lebanon.
 
Iran no longer hesitates to state publicly that its forward defence line now passes through “Lebanon and Palestine.” In practice, the Lebanese-Israeli border is in fact Israel’s border with Iran.

For Iran, Hezbollah serves as a live and successful model for revolutions, one which is reflected in other organisations such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian terror organisations, as well as extreme Shiite organisations inside Iraq, trained by Lebanese Hezbollah. Hezbollah is nourished by the growing strength and power of Iran and draws upon its successes. Both parties recognise that the fall of one also signifies the demise of the other.

We must stop this ludicrous game of ‘hide and seek’, abandon the failed policy of appeasement and confront the mullahs before they gain hegemony in the Middle East. And that doesn’t mean armed invasion. It means backing the main opposition in overthrowing the fascist dictatorship. It means taking the PMOI and the NCRI off the US terror list. It means recognising the symbolic importance of and providing protection for the brave residents of Camp Ashraf.
 
It means stop talking to the despots and start listening to the people. Back the Iranian masses in their efforts to overthrow this brutal and corrupt tyranny. Back the PMOI in their efforts to bring democracy, freedom, women’s rights and human rights to Iran. Back Mrs Rajavi in her campaign to clear Iran of nuclear weapons and free her people from the constant fear of torture and the death penalty
252 years ago today – 25th January – our great Scottish poet Robert Burns was born. Burns hated tyranny in all its forms. Let me read you the final two short verses from his famous poem of praise for King Robert the Bruce of Scotland. I think it can serve as our battle cry today:

By Oppression’s woes and pains!
By your sons in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,
But they shall be free!

Lay the proud Usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
LIBERTY’S in every blow!
Let us Do – or Die!!!

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