Middle East And North African Conference In Paris
Official Wire – By Fabian Mahmoudi – 17 August 2011
“Iranian irredentism”and the country’s growing hunger for power and influence in the region is not a remote subject for the world but how serious this is taken up in the event of ongoing democratic Gale is the reason for a rare gathering of Middle Eastern politicians in a conference in Paris on 13 August.
Tehran’s bid for ideological leadership of the Islamic world has always posed a threat to the region. To curb western objections towards its hegemonic drive well designed under Khomeini and now driven by Ahmadinejad, Iranians have constantly used three complementary gambits: pursuit of nuclear weapons, interference in Iraq and the region and export of State terrorism.
Reactions of states in the region to this hegemonic lust have always swung widely during the past years, reflecting the complex interplay of economics and geopolitical elements.
However, the ongoing democratic Gale for change in the region has motivated a rare front against Iran’s expansionist extremist tenure in the region. The eye of this storm as defined in the Conference aired by the opposition TV on its 13 August program, is Camp Ashraf and the MEK.
The participants comprised of parliamentarians, political and religious figures and jurists from 15 countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The locations included; Iraq, Palestine, Jordan, Iran, Egypt, Algeria, Kuwait, Tunisia, Morocco, Lebanon, Yemen, Libya, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan and Mauritania.
Former governor and US presidential candidate Mr. Howard Dean was among the speakers who discussed the prospect of the Arab Spring and threats facing the young movements in the region.
Other participants included Sid Ahmed Ghozali- former Algerian Prime Minister, Mrs.Anisia Boumedien – former first lady of Algeria, Hon. Sheikh Al Taysir Al Tamimi- Palestinian High Judge, Palestinian Parliamentarians Ahmed Haza, Dr. Nejat al-Astal, Dr. Saha Sabet, Dr.Neja El Ghavasemi, Dr.Nejat Bubekre, Mr.Ala Taghi, Mr. Ahmed Ayoholi, Abdolrahim Barham.
Other participants were from Jordan including; former Mayor of Amman and present Parliamentarian Madooh El Ayadi, along with other parliamentarian; Ms.Monir Sober, Mrs. Nariman al-Rousan, Dr. MohamedAl Haj, Meiser El Serdi, Vafa Bani Mostapha, Tamam Al Riati,Mohamed Al Davayemeh, Saleh Fowsi Dervish, Mohamed Al Ziare, Samih El Momeni, Jamal Eisa Gave, Dr. Ali Zalayeen, and Mr. Samih Kharis Head of the Arabic Bar Council of Jordan.
Guests from Morocco consisted of Parliamentarians; Najima Tai Tai, Mostapha Joubran, Shavi bel Asal and Ahmed Boulesri.
Some of the speakers’ had traveled from Afghanistan to take part in the conference including; Msses. Shokrieh Peykan -Parliamentarian, Habibeh Danesh –parliamentarian, and Dr. Khosro Yousefzay from the Ministry of Health and Mr. Haji Najiba Allah Kaboli, founder of the National Participant Party of Afghanistan and former parliamentarian.
The diversity of speakers highlighted the effect of the ongoing Gale of democratic change in shaping policy of each state involved in the region. Other speakers included; Kuwaiti Parliamentarian Valid Tabatabaee, Atif Labib Al Najmi- Head of Arabic Defense Associations from Egypt , Mr. Reza Al Reza – head of Jaafari Shiite Delegation of Iraq, Mr. Saber Rostam Khali – parliamentarian from Azerbaijan and Amene Menat AL Mokhtar – Head of women heading families of Mauritanian.
A distinguished section of the panel consisted of Imams representing thousands of Muslims, Shiite and Sunni and their concerns over threats facing the newly rising Democracy moments in the region.
Alongside the Imams was prominent Ayatollah Ganjei, a dissident ayatollah in exile opposing the present clerical regime in Iran.
The Key note Speaker was Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, charismatic leader of the Iranian opposition in exile, NCRI, which has MEK as its major member.
Mrs. Rajavi stressed the importance of finding solutions to the threat of fundamentalism. She stated that the democratic Islam is the most effective anti-thesis to Islamic fundamentalism; it supports compassion, consideration and peaceful living, which are the real messages of Prophet Mohammad. Islam is fundamentally against suppression and discrimination and supports democracy and free choice.
Having highlighted approaches to Islamic understandings of what she called”original Islam”and the diverted versions used in Iran today, Mrs. Rajavi exploited parameters, which affect the dynamic chain of events that would determine a successful democratic change in the region unaffected by the ideology of Iran’s virulent stream of extremist Islam, characterized by misogyny and homophobia.
She said:”Ashraf is an example of relations established between people believing in a democratic Islam based on trust, truth, unification, equality, love and sacrifice for others. That is exactly why Tehran’s mullahs have assigned Ashraf, which is inspiring to the Iranian women and youth, as their main target of repressive attacks.
During the past two years, they have carried out two massacres against Ashraf residents and now, through their puppet government in Iraq. They are seeking to prepare the grounds for another humanitarian catastrophe.”
French Senator Mrs. Halimeh Boumedian highlighted the role of Camp Ashraf in developments not only in Iraq but the region:”Ashraf is not only a matter of concern for all Muslims, but should be a number one priority for the International Community. The situation is not at all justified, and the residents need Peace and Freedom.”
Jordanian Parliamentarian Nariman Al Roausa said:”We have gathered under one roof believing in a pluralist and tolerant Islam to declare our support for the city that has lit the way to tolerance during dark hours; the City of Ashraf. We are here to demand that their rights be conserved. In Iraq today a minority has turned away from Arabic values showing obedience to the clerical dictators while attacking defenseless residents of this Camp. We are facing crucial moments: As the young democracy movement is sweeping throughout the Middle East, the Iranian mullahs are maliciously waiting to take advantage of the weak stamina of the movements to usurp and divert them under the slogan: “The only option is to establish Islamic Republics”. This is where, collective solidarity with Ashraf, is the key for a regime change in Iran and the rational option to save the region.”
Imam Khalil Mervan, who has thousands of followers, asked the UN to fully implement its obligations with regards to the security of Camp Ashraf residents.
Dr. Nejat Al Soltan , Palestinian member of Parliament said:”I and my delegation bring salutations on behalf of our people to Mrs. Rajavi, who leads such epic of a struggle for Democracy. We are here to support Iranian people’s uprising for a free and democratic Iran and hail the brave resistance of Ashraf residents, the Bastion of hope for the people, in the wake of harsh predicaments. Their only crime has been to stand for Freedom and Democracy in the face of tyranny and fascism. We demand responsible International institutions such as the UNHCR to fulfill their legal obligations towards the safekeeping of the residents in Ashraf.”
Moroccan Parliamentarian, Najimeh Tai Tai said while calling the NCRI leader ‘Leader of the Eastern lands in face of fundamentalism’ declared support for the Iranian opposition the MEK as the anti-thesis to Islamic fundamentalism and said:” we have always distanced ourselves from backward and extremist ideals of Islamic fundamentalism. We are appalled to know that violence and torture is still inflicted on camp residents by the intrusive forces. Ashraf represents resolve in the face of tyranny. It is a national treasure of epical perseverance and struggle against hangings, suppression, and illegal and anti-human laws imposed on the people under the name of Islam. Our delegation insists on the rights of Camp residents and demands the UN to assert its protection and fulfill its obligations under the 4th Geneva Convention.”
Mr. Valid Tabatabaiee from Kuwait highlighted the volatile situation of the Middle East during the Arab Spring.
He said:”We know that Ashraf is a role model of a struggle against a tyrannical and mal-intended regime in Iran. We know the nature f this regime and its intentions. Today, this nature has shown itself in violent interventions in the massacre of the Syrian people. Freedom seekers are being killed by Iranian weapons and their funds and paid thugs. Due to the importance of Ashraf , we as members of the International Union of Parliaments, demand the UN for direct intervention to provide security for the residents and demand AL-Maliki to annul the deadline imposed on the Camp.”
At the end the conference appealed to the UN and its effective bodies to oblige their responsibility towards Camp Ashraf security and prevent a further loss of life.
Fabian Mahmudi is a researcher and freelance journalist and specialist on Iraq and Iran.