Vice-President of the European Parliament Alejo Vidal-Quadras in a transatlantic conference on “Camp Ashraf and policy on Iran” January 25 in Brussels said, “There is a well-organized opposition movement, powerful and committed inside the country, which brings together hundreds of thousands of Iranians in exile and many more around the country.”
Excerpts from Mr. Vidal-Quadras speech follow:
It is a great pleasure for me to meet once again in Brussels Mrs. Radjavi, President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, together with my good friend and colleague Struan Stevenson and the rest of Members of the European Parliament attending this conference. With her powerful leadership and tireless endurance she has during these past years brought to the attention of the vast majority of European lawmakers, public opinion and many European officials the grave mistakes that the West has committed regarding Iran. Her work has indeed also paved the way for the right policy. My colleagues and I are deeply proud to collaborate with her and with the people of the NCRI. We admire them for the heavy price they are paying in terms of lives and suffering in their struggle for a free and democratic Iran.
And today we are very happy that prominent American personalities from both big parties have joined us in order to work sincerely and constructively to reach a new policy in relation to Iran and the democratic opposition. I welcome very warmly our distinguished guests; General James Jones, Governor Bill Richardson, Ambassador Bolton, Ambassador Daily, Mr Mukasey and also Ms. Irene Khan whose name and image is for us a reminder of the sanctity of human rights. I welcome you all to the Capital of Europe and hope that we can offer you hospitality up to the level you deserve.
I believe that after the disappointing outcome of the Istanbul talks, there is no need to insist on what a waste of time is to negotiate with the Iranian regime and how wrong is the policy of appeasement. The subject I want to suggest for our discussion today is the best approach to the Iranian problem in the present circumstances and after the considerable experience we have gained since Ayatollah Khomeini went back to Iran in 1979. When there are several courses of action to solve a problem and all of them except one have proven a failure, it does not seem inappropriate to try it. It is supposed that we humans progress through trial and error, but in case of the threat posed by the totalitarian regime of Teheran, it seems that the only conclusion Western Governments derive from their errors is to persist in the same mistakes in a complete ignorance of reality, which frankly does not look very productive. I was not born yesterday and life has told me that when someone does something that is neither logical nor morally correct nor consistent with his of her supposed main interests, it becomes very interesting to find an explanation for such strange behavior. Of course lack of intelligence could be one, but after ten years now working in close partnership with Mrs. Radjavi and our friends of the NCRI and having met and talked to many people at different levels of responsibility involved in the matter in Europe, in the US and even in Irak, I would not discard other possibilities.
Going back to the central point, let me put things plainly in this way: a) Appeasement does not work and it only provides the regime with the time to continue its promotion of terrorism all over the world and come closer to the nuclear weapon b) Direct intervention in Iran is not financially affordable nor politically prudent c) there exists a well-organized, powerful and committed opposition movement that gathers hundreds of thousands of Iranians in exile and many more inside the country, highly motivated, promoting a political program for Iran that any one of us could sign right now and blessed with a strong and inspiring leader who we know and who we fully trust. Based on these three clear facts, the optimal strategy stands out almost automatically: we must support Mrs. Radjavi and the NCRI as much as we can by means of diplomacy, communication, strategic advice and political backup and by making the life of the regime difficult in the international scene. If we agree in this picture, then two immediate and urgent priorities emerge:
The first is to protect Ashraf residents from being massacred and the second is to remove the PMOI from the US Department of State black list. We must concentrate our efforts in these two objectives in the short term because if Ashraf is lost, apart from the humanitarian catastrophe implied, an irreplaceable symbol of hope, courage and dignity would disappear and in a fight against the evil forces we face in Iran, symbols are essential to uplift the morals of the Iranian people. As for the black list, it is recommendable not to impose on one’s allies to confront a merciful and criminal enemy with their hands tied to their back. These are simple and I hope that convincing messages I wanted to convey to you all this afternoon. We, Europeans and Americans, have always been, are and will be on the same boat committed to the same principles and values. And this boat is the one that Jameiny and Ahmadineyad and their fanatic followers want to sink. Our friends of the NCRI have shed enough blood to make clear they deserve to be also onboard.
In my last visit to the NCRI headquarters in Anvers-sur-Oise I could speak by videoconference to a bright young man, BehroozKazemi, resident in Ashraf and he expressed to me his faith and that of his mates in the camp in our work to help them. I have known horrified yesterday that his father, a prisoner in the dungeons of the regime, has been executed.
This sacrifice and those of dozens of thousands of victims of the regime cannot be in vain. We have a duty and this duty is to bring Iran back to democracy and freedom. If we want to accomplish it effectively we need our friends of the NCRI as much as they need us. We must work hand into hand, back to back and heart with heart. And we cannot fail.