MEK: Ingrid Betancourt, Online Conference on Prospects and Policies for Iran to Mark Nowruz, the Persian New Year
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran), reported the online meeting on 27 March attracted politicians, elected officials, and leading figures from the legal, social, and religious spheres in France.
As the mullahs’ regime in Iran starts to flounder, our governments in Europe throw it a lifeline that lets it combat our values (Ingrid Betancourt)
The following is the full text of Ingrid Betancourt’s speech to the meeting.
Dear friends, dear Maryam,
It is such a pleasure to meet up again with other friends this spring, to see Rama Yade, William Bourdon, Gilbert Mitterrand, and so many others again.
As spring arrives and hope in life is renewed despite the pandemic that keeps us apart physically, we have come together to celebrate this Nowruz which marks the dawn of 1400 years in the Persian calendar. And just as the darkest hour of the night comes just before daybreak, so we already celebrate with hope the end of the terrible darkness of the Khamanei regime and the coming of light in Iran, the light of a Republic rooted in the determination and courage of all the Iranian people.
Nowruz of optimism
Because for me this Nowruz is a Nowruz of optimism. A Nowruz when I can already see a new republic in Iran, which can arise only after proper elections, free and fair elections, and not a mockery of democracy which, as is the case today, has been put in place to gag the Iranian people and soothe the world’s conscience. A secular republic.
The companions who preceded me have already mentioned it: where religion is not used to justify the barbarity and corruption of those who govern or to divide the Iranian people and subjugate them all the more by discriminating against women and ethnic minorities.
A republic in the image of that Iranian resistance we love so much, in which women and men work alongside each other to transform the devastation of Iran by the mullahs and their Revolutionary Guards into a garden of peace for the wonderment of the world.
We are seeing the end of the darkness cast by the mullahs
I know that some of you find the waiting interminable and the night endless. But I know from experience that it is precisely when everything is darkest, even to the point of losing hope, that the wheel turns and everything changes. It happened to me when I was in captivity, after seven years as a prisoner. Just when I thought I would be facing another seven years of horror, violence, and abuse, far from my loved ones, at that very moment I was spectacularly set free. That is why I am optimistic. That is why I want to celebrate this new year with you all. Because I know in my heart, in my intuition, but also as a result of my political observations and my analysis of the historical facts we have witnessed, that we are seeing the end of the darkness cast by the mullahs.
I remember for example that a few weeks ago, in February, Iran saw an unprecedented wave of protest in the south-east of the provinces of Sistan and Baluchistan, where the Revolutionary Guards had just killed 40 people, as always with the barbarous cruelty that is their calling card. But the people reacted with anger: they stormed the offices of the governor of the province and the headquarters of the Revolutionary Guard, for a whole day. In a new and significant development, after the 40 murders that followed the assault by the Revolutionary Guards, the people, instead of fearing repression and scattering, took heart. They came together and counter-attacked.
The mullahs always lying, always cheating
That piece of news is virtually unknown on our side of the world. It has had little or no media coverage. The information is hushed up because the dictators know that all these signs herald their exit. Making the situation worse, a few weeks ago, despite the offer from the Biden administration to restart diplomatic talks and put nuclear negotiations back on the agenda, the mullahs stepped up their belligerence in the region and multiplied breaches of the joint action plan in a sign of refusal. But the reality is that, looking beyond its vindictive rhetoric, the regime can no longer allow itself to authorize nuclear inspections within its borders because, contrary to the affirmations of the Iranian government, it has been shown not to have declared all its nuclear installations and has continued its policy of enriching uranium for military purposes. Always lying, always cheating.
It is now well-established that the regime’s nuclear infrastructure has not been dismantled, as stipulated by the agreement; on the contrary, it remains intact. Moreover, the Iranian government is continuing to build its centrifuges. So of course it is bound to accuse the United States of breaking the agreement, in order to wash its hands and divert attention, but above all, and unfortunately for us, to keep European governments on a leash.
Flagrant proof of the existential fragility of the Iranian dictatorship
For these events, flagrant proof of the existential fragility of the Iranian dictatorship, also shows how, like a dragon in its death throes, it can still have a powerful kick in its tail. It has managed to muffle consciences which, in Europe, speak out against breaches of human rights in Iran.
Europe has even swept under the carpet the attempted terrorist attack on Villepinte on 30 June 2018, targeting not just all of us who were there but also France, Belgium, and Germany. On the pretext of not endangering prospects for a new nuclear agreement, our countries have in fact given the mullahs’ international terrorism a free pass.
The Iranian emissaries justified their criminal activities on the grounds of self-defense by the regime against an unarmed political opposition which, believe it or not, and they say it themselves, intimidates them. Europe cannot endorse such cynicism. Killing innocents to silence the Iranians’ right to express themselves is the hallmark of the mullahs’ barbarity in their country. But it must not under any circumstances be tolerated in ours, and that Realpolitik of accommodation and silence is dangerous for all the world’s citizens.
Betrayal of the Iranian people
It is, of course, an affront to us, potential victims of the attack, but above all, it is a betrayal of the Iranian people, who fight with one eye on Europe, which still stands as a bastion and flagship of democracy and human rights in the world.
As the mullahs’ regime flounders in its bloodbath, how is it possible that our European governments throw it a lifeline that lets it combat our values on our own soil? How can they fail to take a firm stand after the Belgian court’s conviction of the Iranian diplomat and his three accomplices?
We must all call Europe, and France in particular, to order on this issue. Because the security of us all is at stake if we do not curb the murderous folly of the Iranian regime by dismantling its network of espionage and terrorism on our soil. Failing to do so would be a betrayal of the highest order. Each one will be held individually responsible by the verdict of our nations’ history.
And because they are interconnected and concurrent. The rejection of terrorism on our soil goes hand in hand with a policy of zero tolerance of Iran’s breaches of the nuclear joint action plan of which we are still signatories. Again, the security of us all is at stake. And Iran must understand that it can no longer carry on with business as usual, cheating and manipulating and using economic, political, and moral blackmail on the free people we are.
The signs that the Iranian dictatorship is crumbling
So yes, it is time to celebrate this new year and the signs that the Iranian dictatorship is crumbling. Yes, it is time to celebrate in the knowledge that we hold the banners of human dignity and freedom high in the sky of our determination, with all the members of the Iranian resistance, whether at Auvers-Sur-Oise or Ashraf 3 or anywhere else in the world, with Maryam Rajavi as their guiding star.
And with all those all over the world who fight for their cause, it is time to celebrate this new day, Nowruz, with our call for justice and brotherhood which echoes far and wide, as today we renew our commitment to contribute to the liberation and victory of millions of Iranians who fight undeterred against tyranny.
Thinking of them and remembering the Persian tradition of the seven S’s, which I saw were displayed next to Maryam and which stand for love, abundance, patience, renewal, prosperity, health, and fertility, at the beginning of this political and spiritual springtime I wish you all a very, very happy Nowruz.
Tags: coronavirus, Iran human rights, Iran Opposition, Iran Protests, Maryam Rajavi, MEK, Mujahedin-e Khalq, National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), People's Mojahedin organization of Iran, PMOI