London, 30 Jun - Earlier today, two European based Organizations, the Foundation for Middle Eastern Studies (FEMO), and Alliance for Public Awareness, Iranian Communities in Europe (APA), held three panels to discuss the future of the Iranian Regime.
These panels, which were held ahead of the #FreeIran Gathering in Paris on July 1, were hosted by politicians, human rights advocates, and national security experts who all wanted to answer the question: Where is Iran heading?
The first panel, chaired by Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield, the former US assistant secretary of state for military affairs, discussed how the Iranian Regime’s policies are destabilising the Middle East and repressing the Iranian people.
General Jack Keane, former Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army, said that the Regime’s policy is to drive US forces out of the Middle East, in order to take control of the region. He explained that the Iranian Regime is already building a Shiite Crescent from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean through Iraq, Lebanon and Syria.
While Joseph Lieberman, a former Senator and vice presidential candidate, said that the Iranian Regime is clearly an enemy of the US and cited the comments of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to back him up.
Bruno Tertrais, the Deputy Director of the Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique of France, said that the Iranian Regime has not shown any evidence of its good intentions following the 2015 nuclear deal.
The panel also took the time to praise the Iranian Resistance (NCRI and MEK), with Ambassador Robert Joseph, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control, explaining that he supported the MEK because of their commitment to a non-nuclear Iran.
All panellists seemed united around the idea that Regime change could not come from foreign military intervention but had to be the result of the Iranian people’s desire for change.
John Baird, a former foreign minister of Canada, said that the Iranian people do not support the Regime and that ordinary Iranians should be at the heart of any policy against the Regime.
Regime’s Role in the Middle East
The second panel, hosted by Alejo Vidal-Quadras, former vice president of the EU Parliament & current President of the International Committee In Search of Justice (ISJ), focused specifically on Iran’s role in the Middle East.
First off, panellists discussed the nature of the Iranian Regime and how it could not be trusted.
Sid Ahmad Ghozali, the former Prime Minister of Algeria, said that the panel as whole rejected the idea that the international community could negotiate with the Iranian Regime.
Last year, many MEK migrated to Albania, under the supervision of the UN, following years of abuse and attacks from the Regime.
Adam Ereli, the former US Ambassador to Bahrain and a spokesman for the State Department categorised the Iranian Regime as patient and opportunistic; merely waiting for the right time to strike back.
While Vidal-Quadras warned Western Governments against seeking cooperation with the Iranian Regime, remarking that constructive dialogue from the Regime was merely an illusion.
As for their role in the Middle East, the panellists agreed that all the Regime wants is power over the region.
Jean-Sylvestre Mongrenier, a researcher at the Institut Français de Géopolitique who has a doctorate in geopolitics, said that domination of the Middle East was in the DNA of the Iranian Regime.
One of the clearest ways that push for domination can be seen in the Syrian Civil War where the Iranian Regime, according to Keane, manipulated the Russians into fighting to support the Bashar Assad dictatorship.
Another way in which the Regime seeks to destabilise the Middle East is through terrorism.
Struan Stevenson, a former MEP for Scotland, said that regime change in Iran would in fact end all extremist Islamic fundamentalist groups.
While Joseph warned against businesses making investments in Iran, saying that the last thing the international community wants is to fund a Regime that supports terrorism.
Michael P Pregent, an expert in the fields of Foreign Policy, National Security, Intelligence & Terrorism, said that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) increased its operations in Iraq following the nuclear deal, because of the funds they received from sanctions relief.
He also thanked the NCRI and MEK for the valuable information (like Iran’s secret terror training camps and nuclear weapons programme) that they have provided to the International Community over the past few years.
Lieberman said that the kind of political unrest that is evident in Iran at the moment, will ultimately spell the end of the Iranian Regime.
The third panel, moderated by Ambassador Bloomfield, focused on the role of the Iranian opposition movement, particularly the NCRI and MEK.
Whilst it is illegal to support the MEK in Iran, and can result in jail time or execution, many Iranians still bravely support the Resistance.
These brave Iranians were commended by Ramesh Sepehrrad, the vice president of Cybersecurity Governance, Risk and Compliance at Comcast Cable, who spoke about the harsh punishment faced by political prisoners in Iran and Linda Chavez, the Chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity said that despite the backlash from the Regime, who spoke about the Resistance’s popular boycott of the sham Iranian elections.
The panel praised the brave work done by the NCRI and MEK.
Senator Robert Torricelli said that the MEK continues to work for change every day, and will continue to work until they see change. While Chavez said that change would come soon as a result of the NCRI/MEK work against the Regime.
The people of Iran are always the first victims of the Iranian Regime, but Kenneth Blackwell, a former US Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council said that US strategic interests in Iran are actually supportive of human rights issues.
He said: “Human rights struggles are not a spectator sport; you can’t sit on the sidelines; you have to engage.”
Tomorrow, the Free Iran Great Gathering (#FreeIran) will officially begin in Paris. For more information go the official website of the Free Iran Gathering