- - Friday, July 26, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The Iranian regime is, currently, high among the most trouble-making regimes of the world if not the highest in terms of pure nuisance value.

It sabotaged, contrary to the accepted diplomatic norms, a tanker carrying oil to Japan on the very same day that Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was meeting Ayatollah Khamenei; it sent its own oil-tanker to Syria in violation of the EU sanctions and then seized a British oil-tanker at the direct order of the ayatollah in an illegal and destabilizing behavior in alleged retaliation at Gibraltar’s legal detention of its oil bound for Syria. 

When its IRGC offensive drone was recently destroyed by the United States, it denied that it ever had any drone. Iran’s foreign minister blatantly criticized a BBC interviewer who told him that Iran gave millions of dollars to Hezbollah every year by saying “Who says that Iran gives money to Hezbollah?”

Apparently, he had forgotten his own presence with that cynical smile on his face in a meeting where the terrorist leader of Hezbollah threatened the West that they could by no means cut the organization’s funds through sanctions of bank transactions — “because we received cash money from Iran for everything.”

One can produce an endless list of such behavior by the Iran regime which has proved, beyond doubt, its shameless mastery of sheer lies and deceitful acts. Surely, there can no longer be any question remaining as to why think of resolving any matter with such a regime through talks and dialogue? 



How could the world’s democracies ever trust a government which,for four decades, has demonstrated that it recognizes only its own right to violate others’ rights and freedoms — most obviously those of its own citizens? What forces us to do so?

People like Jack Straw who dedicated his political career to diplomatic dialogue once encouraged fellow citizens to appease and rescue the mullahs at a time of their severe international isolation, but even he must now, despite his sincerity, recognize the impossibility of being able to approach the mullahs of Iran in a positive and constructive manner.

However, some may argue that, nuisance though they may be, we must be careful with a very important Middle East country and we are not going to remove them anyway. But that is exactly where they are mistaken.

One can never convert an evil nuisance through being careful and sending a signal that one is frightened by its threats. Instead, one should highlight, as one better understands the language of force and power, one is not taking those threats seriously.

Iran does have an Achilles Heel. That is a well-organized resistance movement — the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), led by the courageous and constructive Maryam Rajavi. 

This movement has a large network of supporters in exile who in their great numbers echo the voice of the voiceless Iranian people inside the country — those who have been brutally oppressed by the mullahs for four decades, as well as a sizeable support base that has become more discernable in light of the regime’s more public acknowledgement in recent months.

Iran’s regime was, initially, successful in demonizing the NCRI to make sure that it would not receive any attack from that side. They had it deemed ‘a terrorist organization’ but history has largely answered that. The NCRI’s erstwhile forebearers, the MEK, has proven to be responsible and viable. 

Sadly, our politicians and media have been fooled and duped for long enough to take the demonization seriously and even to echo it. But now it is time to stop echoing the mullahs, not least within the United Kingdom.

France, Austria and the United States, to name but three nations, have openly welcomed the constructive Maryam Rajavi and given shelter to her followers. But, shamefully, the United Kingdom has been tardy, failing even to acknowledge the mullahs 30,000 pogrom of 1988.

We must confront our outdated and ill-informed prejudice and begin to listen to Maryam Rajavi and her brilliant super-democratic 10-point plan for future Iran; we must recognize the Iranian people’s legitimate right for regime-change and, bluntly, move our misinformed prejudice into the 21st century. The NCRI wants nothing more from us.

On Saturday, Maryam Rajavi’s supporters marched in the streets of London in big numbers after they did so in Brussels, Washington, Berlin and Stockholm. Our politicians and media should grasp the opportunity to stand with them. Let those of us, who value our freedom, support such events and listen carefully to the message. It’s time to listen to the Iranian people and the opposition. A different Iran is not unthinkable. The Iranians have made up their mind to bring about change. The question is on whose side we want to be? 

• Lord Maginnis of Drumglassis a prominent member of the British Committee for Iran Freedom and member of the U.K. House of Lords

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