Regime Change - The third option
The theocracy ruling Iran has set new records in violating human rights. This regime poses the greatest challenge to the international community.
In the face of this challenge, two options have been raised: The make-a-deal approach to the clerical regime with the aim of containing it or including gradual change. For the past two decades, Western countries have subscribed to this approach.
The other option is to overthrow the clerical regime by way of an external war, similar to what occurred in Iraq. No one would want to see this repeated in Iran.
But I have come here today to say that there is a third option: Change brought about by the Iranian people and the Iranian Resistance.
No concession is going to dissuade the mullahs from continuing their ominous objectives. Let us recall the day after the 1938 Munich Pact, when Sir Winston Churchill said in the House of Commons, “You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war”. Let us not allow a repetition of the Munich experience by nuclear-armed mullahs. The regime ruling Iran is a medieval theocracy that lacks the capacity to reform. The principle of the velayat-e faqih (absolute clerical rule) is the pillar of the Iranian regime’s constitution and cannot be change even through a referendum. It forms the basis for its laws and practices and accords little value to the people’s vote. Election charades are only the means to solidify the Supreme leader’s control. Misogyny is inherent to the regime and a means to keep Iranian society in check. The ruling religious dictatorship needs the export of fundamentalism in order to survive.
Let there be no doubt: European policies such as critical dialogue, constructive engagement and human rights dialogue will not change anything as far as the regime is concerned. Appeasement is not the way to contain or change the regime. Nor is the path to avoid another war. Appeasement only emboldens the mullahs. The answer to fundamentalism is democracy.
As I said at the outset, we do not have to choose between appeasement and surrender. The equation of “either a military invasion or appeasement” is an exercise in political deception. A third option is within reach. The Iranian people and their organized resistance have the capacity and ability to bring about change.
Iran has an ancient civilization and a rich culture. It is the cradle of Islamic civilization. It has been home to three major revolutions in the twentieth century. Iranians would never submit to the medieval regime ruling them.
Despite brutal crackdown, uprisings have continued to erupt across the nation. The presence of protests in society reflects the Iranian people yearning for regime change. The presence of an organized resistance with 120.000 martyrs and more than half-a-million prisoners is indicative of the depth and the intensity of society’s rejection of the regime.
By forming a pluralistic alternative, a widespread social network and a liberation army, the resistance has sufficient power and potential to bring about change in Iran. It has led the Iranian people’s movement for democracy in the most difficult domestic and regional circumstances.
Politically speaking, such barbaric repression reflects only the mullahs’ fear of being overthrown by the Iranian people and resistance. Why in all their international interactions, the mullahs demand the exertion of pressure on the resistance movement? Are all of these not indicative of the mullahs’ paranoia over the third option?
The resistance movement has deeps roots in society. As the core of this resistance, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) has been fighting for freedom against the dictatorships of the Shah and Khomeini.
The PMOI extensive network across Iran organizes and gives direction to social protests, provides the movement with financial assistance and intelligence and reveals Tehran’s most clandestine nuclear, missile and terrorist projects.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran, the resistance’s parliament, is a coalition of democratic forces that seek a republic based on the separation of religion and State. Half its members are women. With the membership of religious and ethnic minorities as well as different political tendencies, the NCRI represents a majority of the Iranian nation and is the guarantee for Iran’s unity after the toppling of the mullahs and the peaceful transfer of power.
We have called for free elections under the United Nations auspices repeatedly. The mullahs, however, would never accept that. For us, democracy is not merely a political program, but an ideal for which 120.000 members of the resistance, including six members of my family have sacrificed their lives. The NCRI has committed itself to organize free elections for a constituent assembly within six months of regime change and handover the affairs to the people’s elected representatives so that society’s deep wounds that were caused by eighty years of dictatorship are healed.
By adhering to international covenants, interest in peace and coexistence, we want a peaceful Iran, free from all weapons of mass destruction. We want to rebuild Iran, which the mullahs have ruined, through the people’s participation, the return of our experts and friendship with the rest of the world.
We seek neither the West’s money nor weapons. We want them to remain neutral between the Iranian resistance on one hand and the ruling regime on the other.
European Parliament – Strasbourg -15 December 2004