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Italy: Iranian dissident leader calls for support for resistance movement

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Rome, 23 July, (AKI) - A leading Iranian dissident, Maryam Rajavi, said on Wednesday that the international community must support Iran’s resistance movement if it wants to deal with the country’s nuclear programme. Maryam Rajavi, who is the elected president of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, made the remarks at a media conference at Italy’s lower house of parliament on Wednesday. "It [Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government] is a 21st century dictatorship, so weak and so in contrast with the international community, that if it takes one step back, it will dissolve," Rajavi told Adnkronos International (AKI). Rajavi is also a member of the armed opposition People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran. The PMOI is banned in Iran, and considered a terrorist group by the European Union and the United States. She is in Italy in a bid to garner support so the PMOI is no longer listed in Europe as a terrorist organisation. She was invited by Italian MPs to make her remarks in parliament. She was in France earlier this month where she obtained the support for the group from 290 French parliamentarians . On Wednesday she received a document signed by a majority of Italian parliamentarians, from across the political spectrum, giving her support for the cause of democratic change in Iran. Rajavi told AKI that negotiations with Iran over its nuclear programme would not bring about concrete results. Iran says its nuclear programme is for entirely peaceful purposes, while the US and its allies believe it could be used to develop a nuclear weapon. On 19 July, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, and US official William Burns along with various diplomats, met with Iranian officials to convince Tehran to stop uranium enrichment, which could lead to the production of a nuclear weapon or produce energy. On Wednesday, Ahmadinejad said that Iran would not give up even "an inch" of its nuclear ambitions. He made the remarks in a televised speech to thousands of supporters in the southern town of Yasouj. Rajavi told AKI that the West’s negotiations with Iran "only served to prolong an unacceptable situation that allows the Ayatollahs to buy time (to continue their nuclear programme)". "Any form of negotiation with Iran is useless. The international community must take very serious decisions in regards to Iran," said Rajavi. "That serious decision does not mean a war, but it also does not mean negotiations. It means support the Iranian ’resistance’." Rajavi was referring to her NCRI group. She also made clear that political change in Iran must come from within. In her statementat the media conference in Italy’s Chamber of Deputies, Rajavi thanked the Italian parliament for its declaration of support for democracy in Iran. She thanked Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Pope Benedict XVI for refusing to receive Ahmadinejad during the Iranian leader’s visit in June to attend the summit organised by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization to discuss the global food crisis. "A formula of appeasement or war is misleading. There is a third way: democratic change by the people and the Iranian resistance. This is the only way to avoid war," she said. Rajavi also criticised Britain, China, France, Russia and the US - the five permanent UN Security Council members - plus Germany who have been negotiating with Iran. She said that they had Iranian clerics closer to acquiring an atomic bomb. She praised Italy, saying that the country can play an important and "unique" role in Europe in confronting these clerics. She also said the Iranian people are hoping for a new European policy that rejects appeasement.

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