Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Strasbourg, October 23, 2019—Several Members of the European Parliament, joined by other dignitaries from across the Green Continent, attended a conference in the EP headquarters in Strasbourg, calling for a strong European approach vis-a-vis the Iranian regime’s human rights violations and warmongering. This session, organized by the European Parliament Friends of a Free Iran Intergroup and held on Wednesday, October 23, also called for accountability of Iranian regime officials in regard to the 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners in Iran. Most of these victims were members and supporters of the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
Polish MEP Anna Fotyga
Polish MEP Anna Fotyga
The conference was chaired by Anna Fotyga, MEP from Poland. “All of us are aware of the situation in Iran. We’ve been monitoring it for many years,” Fotyga said. “We’re in touch with the members of the Iranian opposition and learn about the fate of the people who fight for freedom, for human rights and for the prosperity of their country.”
MEP Petri Sarvamaa
Petri Sarvamaa, Finnish MEP from the EPP Group, Vice-Coordinator of the Budgetary Control Committee, Full Member of the AGRI Committee
Every visit by Mrs. Rajavi here is important because it is important for the Iranian people and for freedom.
My message is about the EU’s role so far in these years and that we have to work to change it because it ignores the terrorism of the mullahs for the sake of continuing trade with Iran. It is a privilege to have Mme. Rajavi with us here.
Iranian opposition President Maryam Rajavi
Iranian opposition NCRI President Maryam Rajavi
“Today, I would like to introduce an extraordinary document to the representatives of the people of Europe. A book containing the names of more than 5,000 prisoners massacred by the mullahs in Iran. The book is the story of a nation who has been suppressed in Iran, and abroad, her human rights, freedoms and resistance have been overlooked,” said Iranian opposition President Maryam Rajavi in her opening remarks.
“Western governments and the United Nations closed their eyes on this crime. Enjoying impunity for such a horrible crime, the regime spread its war to the Middle East which is still ongoing,” Mrs. Rajavi continued.
The book is the story of a nation who has been suppressed in #Iran, and abroad, her human rights, freedoms and resistance have been overlooked. #1988Massacre #NoImpunity4Mullahs #FreeIran pic.twitter.com/bPZ5Tiqwdd— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) October 23, 2019
“The only answer to a regime that has deliberately foiled the initiatives of Europe, particularly of France, is a firm policy which obliges Europe to support the Iranian people’s resistance to establish democracy and popular sovereignty,” she added.
Maryam Rajavi is the President-elect of the Iranian opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
Today, it is expected that the European Parliament undertakes a fresh initiative for the adoption of a firm policy vis-à-vis the Iranian regime. #1988Massacre #NoImpunity4Mullahs #FreeIran pic.twitter.com/Uo3P4nj9gW— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) October 23, 2019
MEP Milan Zver
Milan Zver, MEP from Slovenia.
The Iranian regime has been the source of instability as the doctrine for its survival. The Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and its terrorist proxies fight in different Middle East countries. The mullahs have formed close alliance with Russia, North Korea, and the Bashar al-Assad dictatorship in Syria.
The majority of people in Iran live in poverty. More prisons are built full of dissidents. Europe is largely responsible for this sad situation. The situation must stop for the sake of the people in the region. We must press the European Union to adopt a firm policy toward this regime.
MEP Ryszard Czarnecki
Ryszard Czarnecki, MEP from Poland
The Iranian Resistance, under the leadership of Maryam Rajavi, has undergone many hardships. In the 1988 massacre, more than 30,000 MEK members were executed in Iran. Many of the perpetrators continue to hold top positions in Iran.
Many MEK members are now in Albania. I visited them and I look forward to seeing them again. They are symbols for the Iranian people. We should call on European governments to recognize the Iranian Resistance as the true alternative.
Let us send a strong message to the people of Iran that we are with you until we have a free Iran.
MEP Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar
Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, MEP from the Canary Islands (Spain)
The suicide of a woman who entered a stadium disguised as a man is a sad tragedy, but it is just an example of what is going on in Iran. The European Parliament should make the case for women’s rights and human rights in Iran. It is time to call on EU diplomacy to make sense to its founding values and make the case against the death penalty wherever it takes place.
We have a duty towards the Iranian people. We will not give up our moral responsibility to bring about change in human rights elsewhere, particularly in Iran.
MEP Jan Zahradil
Jan Zahradil, MEP from the Czech Republic
What we see today is a change in balance. We see Iran and its fundamentalist regime having the appetite to become a regional hegemon and occupy other countries such as Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen.
The EU is not willing to recognize the real threat stemming from the regime. If we allow the regime to become a regional hegemon, it will be a real security threat. The former EU foreign policy chief was promoting the appeasement policy and looking for economic deals with Tehran. It did not work. We should look for a firm and principled position.
Your movement is the best-organized opposition. Your ten-point plan includes the abolition of the death penalty and equal rights for men and women. The EU must support your goals. For the sake of our own interests and security, we in this room must be able to send this message to all those who are unable to listen to this message.
MEP Radka Maxová
Radka Maxová, MEP from the Czech Republic
I believe that MEPs should no longer stay silent. We should raise our voice and speak for the suffering people of Iran. Do not hesitate to knock on my door. I will be here to help you.
MEP Stanislav Polčák
Stanislav Polčák, MEP from the Czech Republic
Anyone who has attended your gatherings knows how strong your movement is with tens of thousands of supporters attending each event.
We are seeing the world finally waking up to the threats of the regime not only to its citizens but also to the people of the region and the world. It is time for the EU to wake up as well.
Former MEP Struan Stevenson, Coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change
We need a new policy on Iran and an end to the business-as-usual appeasement. This is a regime that boasts about its missiles and is racing to build nuclear weapons.
This regime has slaughtered 120,000 people since 1979 and 30,000 people in the summer of 1988. The executions were carried out based on a fatwa by regime founder Ruhollah Khomeini. One of the key players was the current Iranian regime Justice Minister Alireza Avaei. He was appointed by Iranian regime President Hassan Rouhani, which the West regards as a moderate president.
In the past 12 months, 270 people were hanged in Iran. Eight of them were juveniles. The medieval conditions in the prisons of Iran continue.
This is a regime whose policy is based on the strategy of expansionism. They support Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the Houthis in Yemen, and the brutal Shiite militias in Iraq. They are attacking ships in the waters of the Persian Gulf. They are using their embassies to coordinate terror attacks here in Europe.
Iran is also one of the most pro-western countries in the region. But they are ruled by corrupt mullahs who only want to further enhance their own lavish lifestyles. The people are sick of a regime that has bankrupted their country.
Europe must show that we support the Iranian people and the MEK and NCRI. We must show support for Maryam Rajavi and her ten-point plan.
MEP Ruza Tomasic
Ruza Tomasic, Croatian MEP from the ECR Group
More than 40 years of torture and execution and the export of terrorism by the regime of Iran leaves no question to the nature of the problem. Let us find a solution.
One approach is trying to get along with this regime. It has proven not to be a solution at all. This is playing into the hands of the regime. All that is happening now in the 21st century. The EU’s policy has seriously damaged its reputation in Iran. The only solution is to support the serious opposition that the regime fears, which is the NCRI and Maryam Rajavi.
MEP Patrizia Toia
Patrizia Toia, Italian MEP from the Democratic Party
We have adopted a firm resolution against Iran’s violations of women’s rights. The regime is blackmailing the EU. British and French nationals are held hostage in Iran. We must face this regime in a much stronger way.
We must adopt a firm policy to fight for freedom and democracy and the establishment of a legitimate regime in Iran. We have heard the numbers of women and minors being executed in Iran. We must be united on this.
Maryam Rajavi, you have our full support in your struggle to achieve freedom and democracy for your people.
MEP Anthea McIntyre
Anthea McIntyre, British Conservative MEP for the West Midlands
We MEPs speak as representatives of the people of Europe. The people of Europe have great empathy with the people of Iran. The 1988 execution of prisoners in Iran is a horrific crime, but it is not an isolated event. Suppression of women’s rights, arbitrary of arrests, a total lack of civil liberties, are hallmarks of Iran today.
Iranians took to the streets on several occasions. In the last uprising, the hostility to the regime was very clear and the people called on Iranian regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to go. The people do not want this regime. The EU policy must be based on this reality.
The people of Iran are looking on with despair as they see the champions of western values turn a blind eye on their rights.
There is a democratic alternative to this regime. It is led by Maryam Rajavi and your ten-point plan. Many members of this parliament support her. I look forward to the day when we are all able to go to a free Iran with Maryam Rajavi as its elected democratic president.
Former Columbian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt
You are representing the voice of the European people, but you are also the voice of 30,000 victims of the 1988 massacre, whom you’re bringing back to life.
I talked to the survivors of the massacre, and the families of the victims. As victims, we want to forget, but we can not have it at the price of avoiding justice. We need justice to make sure what happened to us will not be repeated. What happened in 1988 is the scene today in Iran.
The president of Iran, Rouhani, was part of the decisions that resulted in this massacre. The justice minister of Iran was one of the people responsible for making decisions to kill the victims. It was a genocide, an industry of killing.
Why is it important for us today to revisit what happened in 1988? Two years ago, after a very enormous effort to bring the people of MEK to a safe place--they were living in Iraq, in dangerous situations, and the government of Albania accepted them.
Two people posing as journalists came to Albania with the aim to target the MEK members in a terror attack. No one knew what happened. The Albanian government released the details last week.
In 2018, we were in a big conference in Paris to support the Iranian Resistance and express our opposition to the lack of justice and the corruption of the Iranian regime. The Iranian regime wanted to kill us all. On that day, two people were arrested with a bomb they wanted to install in the premises we had gathered to kill all of us. An Iranian diplomat was detained by German authorities because he was the head of this terror plot. He was an Iranian official, part of the government of Iran, on orders to kill us.
This is why we can not submit to the lies and the blackmail of the Iranian regime. It affects all of us. This year, a French citizen went to see her family in Iran. She never came back. She was arrested and imprisoned on charges of espionage. The same has happened to a British woman.
Iran has used these people as hostages, illegal hostages, abducted by the regime to have the leverage to force our governments to comply with their demands. It is time to say that we want them out. We do not want any more of this complacency with this regime.
We need people we can confide in, who represent our values, freedom, and equality. Without equality for women in Iran, there is no freedom for anyone. We must use our voice to have their plea heard across the world.
MEP Franc Bogovič
Franc Bogovič, MEP from Slovenia
I support your movement. You are brave to do this for your people. Our duty is to support the people of Iran. We have a new parliament. We need more friends for the democratic movement of the Iranian people. It is necessary that we see this book and see the faces of the people of your movement.
It is happening in Iran today, but it can also happen in Europe. We must take care of our societies and help the people in Iran. Sanctions against the regime that steals money for the people, pockets it and spends it on terrorism. This is something we can do.
MEP Alessandra Moretti
Alessandra Moretti, MEP from Italy
Iran is a country where fundamental human rights are trampled because the regime does not give any rights to the people. I have heard a lot about the strong role of women in Iran’s protests and their talents in the society. I understand the heavy price that has been paid for freedom. We have to push for an end to the death penalty and the punishing and imprisonment of activists.
We are here to push the European Parliament to condition any deals with the regime on the conditions of respect for human rights and an end to executions, which does not comply with international standards and values for justice.
MEP Gianna Gancia
Gianna Gancia, MEP from Italy
The number of executions in Iran is very high and it is very difficult for us to imagine. During the presidency of Rouhani, 4,000 people were hanged. No country kills its own citizens in such numbers. Women are hit even harder. They have no freedom.
We see the brutalities in Iran, but our representatives in Europe are only interested in trade with Iran. Our parliament has a duty to speak out and call on the European Commission to stop their relations with Iran and impose sanctions on this regime for its human rights violations. We want democratic change in Iran.
MEP Petras Auštrevičius
Petras Auštrevičius, MEP from Lithuania
We should agree among ourselves that we have to invest in this action as long as it will be needed. We are here because we disagree with the ayatollahs in Iran.
We make statements, rallies, meetings. It is the right thing to do. But we should also commit ourselves to continue this until we see a democratic Iran. We should keep our hopes for Iranians. They should not be left alone.
Once you see even a small sign of hope, which brings to you confidence and belief in the future, all of those obstacles become nothing. Walls are sometimes destroyed by the will of people. We are with you for a different future for Iran.
MEP Assita Kanko
Assita Kanko, MEP from Belgium
We totally follow this situation and will continue to keep attention. I am very attached to this notion of freedom. We must press for action. The situation of dual nationals in Iran is concerning.
Alejo Vidal-Quadras, former European Parliament Vice President
In previous years, the policy of appeasement was the dominant trend. The Iranian regime benefited a lot and the Iranian people suffered. The PMOI was unjustly included in the Europan and American blacklists. The opposition was besieged in camps Liberty and Ashraf in Iraq, and many of them were killed.
The Iranian opposition under the leadership of Maryam Rajavi managed to win its case in courts and remove both designations. After this, the Iranian Resistance started rebuilding its network in Iran. According to regime officials, Iranian Resistance Units played a prominent role in uprisings in 2018.
Today, the situation is different. More people have started to see the cruel nature of this theocracy. Maryam Rajavi said in her speech about the report by the Albanian government about the Iranian regime’s terrorist plan against opposition members in Tirana. Another plot was stopped by European authorities against the 2018 Free Iran gathering.
European governments need to realize the only effective policy against the Iranian regime is to deal with it for what it is: a mortal enemy that we can not neutralize. What are we waiting for to designate the regime’s IRGC and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) as terrorist organizations? What are we waiting for to expel its officials and close its embassies? I hope our new foreign policy chief will answer these questions.
Rama Yade, former French Human Rights Minister
The pain of the mothers of the 1988 massacre is still alive. What we need is the establishment of an independent inquiry into the 1988 massacre to shed light on this crime. There must be justice.
Appeasement will not reduce the regime’s ballistic capabilities and its terrorism. What is important here is to give up this blank check and adopt a clear condemnation of the regime’s crimes.
Women have paid an especially heavy price in the past two years. We must do more. We owe it to this great nation and people. We must support the desire of the Iranian people for regime change and the establishment of a secular government based on the separation of church and state, and gender equality.
We are here in the heart of the European Parliament, whose members have just been renewed. You have a chance to rewrite history in the way that your predecessors could not. The global focus of today’s tensions is in Iran.
It’s not easy. The Iranian Resistance has suffered it for so many years. So many Iranian citizens have lost their lives in the past years.