Iran National Television conducted an exclusive interview with Representative Patrick Kennedy, former Member of Congress from the state of Rhode Island, on the perspective of Iran’s future following the removal of the PMOI from the US list of terrorist organizations.
You were involved in the PMOI delisting campaign and were very active in your efforts. How did you feel when you heard the PMOI achieved this accomplishment?
Well it’s a source of great satisfaction and relief that we finally removed the MEK from the FTO list, the Foreign Terrorist Organizations list. It was removed because the facts stood by removing it. In fact it shouldn’t have been listed in the first place. I think the court recognized and then forced by example the State Department to reverse its decision, that the delisting was a political listing, not a legitimate listing, and what has changed the situation is the specter of Iran constructing and building a nuclear weapon.
And the very fact that the most organized opposition to the current regime in Iran, domestically within Iran and around the world, is the PMOI, the MEK, and it’s important that if we understand Iran represents the single greatest threat to the national security of not only the United States but the world, that we cannot hold that view and yet call the organization trying to overthrow the ruling mullahs in Tehran and liberate the people of Iran, you cannot say that they are the opposition. So it was a necessity, I believe, that the State Department finally delisted the MEK, and I think that the other advantages for the people of Camp Liberty and those still in Camp Ashraf is that they are going to be safer after this delisting. And therefore hopefully they are greater protections for the asylum seekers now in Camp Liberty and also in Ashraf that they finally get recognized as the refugees that they are.
Following the PMOI delisting, what do you forecast for the future?
Well, I think it removes one of the main obstacles to the United States supporting actively the MEK as an alternative to a military option to remove the mullahs in Tehran. It would be ideal for Iran to celebrate the Arab Spring that frankly started in Iran, and has swept through other parts in the Middle East. Wouldn’t it be just if it finally came back and liberated the people of Iran and having MEK organized, having them politically prepared and having them well financed would be in the United States’ best interests because unlike in what happened in other places, if there is a change of power in Iran, we need to be sure that the vacuum is filled and it’s not filled by the mullahs theocracy of repressive dictatorship, but it’s filled by the part like the MEK that’s for civil rights, human rights, the rule of law, the rights of women and the separation of church and state. That is that kind of political organization that could help fill the vacuum and change the course for the Iranian people and for everyone in the world.
Amongst all the hardships of this campaign, which elements were effective to make this campaign a success?
Well, the hard work of Madam Rajavi and the supporters of the MEK, they are the supporters that helped assemble a political campaign that included Republicans and Democrats and military people, and frankly this was a campaign that successful in Europe, in England and the rest of the European continent and it finally was successful in the United States. So it was only successful because of the active participation of the people of the MEK who saw that it needed to happen and they had friends. I was proud to join in the effort because they were on the right side. They were on the side of the truth and that was that the original listing was a political listing and it wasn’t a listing of any designation that needed to continue given that reality. Well as I said, I believe there was a recognition that the MEK was listed as a political vehicle for the United States to try to negotiate with Iran, and it’s clearly been a political listing, not a legitimate listing. So finally, there was a recognition that we cannot see a political change in Tehran and yet hold the main opposition to political change hostage to a political listing by the FTO.
What is your recommendation to the US President regarding the Iranian regime and the Iranian Resistance?
Well President Obama has helped organize a multi-lateral coalition of the world in order to isolate Iran. The reason the sanctions have been so detrimental to the economy is because they aren’t just United States sanctions. They are European sanctions, they are sanctions that international sanctions. And so ultimately the only way I believe the US is successful and President Obama is if we continue to make this an international effort. It’s the whole world’s interest to have a free Iran, mostly the people of Iran itself, have the greatest interest. So I don’t think it’s something for the United States to negotiate because it’s not the US’ future, it’s the Iranian people’s future. And so I believe that what we ought to do is support the Iranian people through the organization of the diaspora as seen through the political organization of the MEK, and allow them to take their country back, and that should be the policy of the United States, to support the PMOI, the MEK as they try to restore liberty and democracy for the people of Iran.
You referred to the role of Ashraf and Liberty residents. What is the role of the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General Martin Kobler on Ashraf and Liberty?
We knew that the listing of the MEK allowed for the murder of so many innocent Ashrafis. It was the pretext that the members of Camp Ashraf were terrorists, which is what the listing allows, that allowed the Iraqis to murder the people of Ashraf on two different occasions.
So now that we have the delisting and the world community recognizes the people of Ashraf and Liberty as asylum seekers, it’s incumbent on the United Nations to say that they are refugees, and protect it under refugee status. It is inconsistent with the mandate of the United Nations to have Martin Kobler harassing the transfer of property and impeding the ability for that to take place. So, Martin Kobler needs to either get out of the way and allow someone to do the job that the United Nations is supposed to do, or he needs to just resign his commission because he is hindering the ability for the US and the world to see a resolution of the challenge of the people of Camp Ashraf and Liberty. He is not helping matters, he is hurting matters, and either he should get out of the way or he should start adhering to the UN mandate to seek the resettlement of these people. That will not happen if he prohibits the transfer of their personal property and the sale from happening.
What is your message to Ashraf and Liberty residents, and the Iranian people?
Well as I have said many times, this fight is not just Ashraf’s fight, it’s not just Liberty’s fight, it’s not even just the Iranians fight. It’s the fight for Syria, for the people to be free from Assad. It’s the fight for people throughout the Middle East to be freed of the terrorism of the mullahs in Tehran, and frankly it’s a human rights battle because nobody, whether they live in the United States or in Camp Ashraf, wants to be terrorized. Nobody wants to be deprived of freedom, let alone physically threatened like the people have been threatened. No one wants to grow up in a country like the people have grown up in Iran where the government tortures and murders people innocently in order to maintain power. This isn’t just Iran’s problem, it’s the world’s problem, and its everybody cares about human rights. So that why I say “I am an Iranian” (in Persian), because we are all in this together. If it were happening to me, if it were happening to my family, I would hope people in Iran would speak up for me because I am a human being, they are human beings and as human beings we cannot allow this kind of torture and murder to continue either in Camp Ashraf and Liberty, nor in Tehran and the rest of Iran. So that’s why I’m dedicated to this cause.