As the Trump administration tightens the economic screws on Tehran, an interesting event took place at the National Press Club this week in Washington, D.C. The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) held an event highlighting 40 years of Western governments perceived appeasement of the murderous regime in Iran and the predictable consequences of these actions.
The NCRI is the overseas representatives of the People’s Mujahadeen of Iran, or PMOI/MEK, a resistance group born under the late shah’s regime and which continues today to fight in-country for freedom for the people of Iran.
The event began with remarks by U.S. Ambassador J. Adam Ereli, who reviewed the difficult history the MEK has had with the American government, as administration after administration threw the MEK under the bus chasing appeasement of the mullahs. While introducing the upcoming speakers, he commented, “The best thing the United States can do is just get out of the way and let the people of Iran do what they’re inclined to do, which is take their country back.”
The group’s U.S. representative, Soona Samsami, then discussed at length the current weakness of the Iranian government saying, “The Iranian regime is weak and vulnerable. It lacks internal legitimacy. Its primary enemies are the Iranian people and their organized opposition. The regime’s internal policies, its human rights violations and economic mismanagement have depleted its strategic capital. It has no solutions to these massive crises and no way to curb the uprising. At the same time, its regional designs are not going anywhere. Put simply, the regime is at a strategic dead-end. However, there is an alternative, the NCRI. The Iranian people, relying on the Units of Rebellion, and the organized opposition will be able to lead the true democratic change within Iran without foreign interference. However, for this change to happen, it is essential that the West recognize the right of the Iranian people to unseat their repressive rulers.”
The NCRI’s foreign affairs committee member, Ali Safavi, who was recently targeted by Iranian intelligence operatives who were arrested in the United States by the FBI, furthered the discussion by outlining in his view the waves of miscalculations American presidents have made in thinking they could somehow buy the mullah’s entrance into the civilized world, only to taste the bitter consequences of increased terror and death in the Middle East.
“When we talk about the West’s 40-year policy in dealing with the Iranian regime, we can find a common thread throughout the past four decades: An attempt to work with ruling theocracy, whether thru carrots or sticks, in the hopes of moderating its behavior. Everything begins with the regime and ends with it. Lost in this approach has been the Iranian people. In other words, the way the West has reacted to the regime’s repressive policies at home and its export of fundamentalism and terrorism abroad has been ineffective and counterproductive. Appeasement has actually helped prolong the mullahs’ rule.”
Mr. Savafi detailed the similar policies under Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama which have emboldened the Iranian regime to reach the peak of its power and the associated quest for nuclear weapons. He ended by outlining the historic opportunity the West has to bring about regime change in Iran by helping the MEK.
“[What] is what is needed to reverse the tragic course of events over the past 40 years and support a firm and realistic approach that leads to Washington’s stated policy objectives of freedom and democracy as well as peace and security in that part of the world.”