Iran at its worst under the ‘moderate’ Rouhani

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

vidal_quadras_creditfriends_of_europe_flickr.jpg [Friends of Europe/Flickr]

Today the Iranian people are facing one of the worst violations of human rights in contemporary times. Over 1200 executions in the past 15 months of Rouhani’s presidency, Government organized acid attacks against women for “mal-veiling” and the brutal hanging of 26-year-old girl Reyhaneh Jabbari, are terrible events that have shocked the world. 

Alejo Vidal-Quadras is the President of the International Committee In Search of Justice (ISJ). He was Vice-President of the European Parliament (1999-2014).

There is also the unsettled question of Iran’s nuclear program. Last month, the International Committee in Search of Justice (ISJ), a Brussels based NGO that I have been chairing since 2008, published a comprehensive report, showing that all the outstanding issues between Iran and the IAEA emanate from the military nature of Iran’s nuclear projects. We did predict that Iran would not sign an agreement that would force it to forgo the nuclear bomb. And on 20 November we were once again proven right.

In our investigations we reached the astounding conclusion that in the last 12 years the intelligence assessments, as well as the political analysis and predictions by the Iranian opposition on Tehran’s nuclear policy, have been more accurate than any other party. It was in fact this movement, the NCRI, who revealed the secret nuclear program of Iran in 2002. It is now abundantly clear that the mullahs will never give up their nuclear weapons program unless they are forced to do so by International pressures.

Last year, faced with international sanctions, Ayatollah Khamenei retreated one step and accepted the Geneva agreement. However, the subsequent easing of pressures together with West’s feeble policies conveyed the message to Iran that it still can buy time by averting a comprehensive agreement. Therefore, the future negotiations will be successful only if Europe and the US resort to heightened sanctions and tilt to support the Iranian people and the Iranian opposition in order to compel Tehran to retreat. Only in this scenario would Khamenei realize that the risk of continuing the nuclear project outweighs the risk of giving it up.

Another important issue we need to address involves the aggression and meddling of the Iranian regime in the region that has engulfed the Middle East in crisis. The dominion of the Iranian regime and its puppet Government in Iraq in the past years and the oppression and slaughter of a broad section of the Iraqi people, in particular the Sunnis, produced the fertile ground for the rise and expansion of the terrorist group ISIS.

In order to defeat ISIS we need a cultural and religious alternative to drive back a violent interpretation of Islam. This is exactly what the Iranian opposition PMOI as a progressive and democratic Muslim force represents. The present crisis has significantly increased the value and importance of this resistance to bring about peace and stability to this region and the world. Because in a planet with over a billion Muslims, an organized and popular force that has risen from one of the key Islamic countries and believes in a democratic and tolerant Islam that promotes equality between men and women as opposed to the fundamentalists, is a vital asset. This offers the best dynamism to turn the tide against the spread of violence and extremism in many Islamic countries.

There is also a big concern over the human rights situation of 2500 Iranian opposition members in camp Liberty in Iraq. These refugees have all been registered by the UN as refugees, but have been brutally repressed by the Iraqi Government at the behest of Tehran. Today, hundreds of patients in Camp Liberty are being denied access to proper health care while their health deteriorates. Some of these patients had been waiting for their medical appointments for the past two years.

Recently we initiated a joint letter to the Iraqi Prime Minister who was visiting Brussels. In this this letter, signed by over 100 prominent European politicians, we called for the recognition of Camp Liberty as a refugee camp under UNHCR supervision and urged Iraq to end the inhuman medical blockade and to allow the residents to be able to sell their movable and immovable property. We called on the Iraqi Government to end those dark days of Maliki and to respect the rights of these Iranian refugees in Liberty.

In 2008 when I visited Iraq I had the opportunity to meet many of these opposition activists, including some that later were killed in cold blood. It is the memory of them that strengthens my commitment to the cause of a free and democratic Iran.

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