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JUAN GARCÉS: The Right of Iranian People to Resistance and Opposition

JUAN GARCÉSDecember 19, 2012 - Thank you; Ms Rajavi and distinguished personalities at this table. I agree fully with the brilliant speeches I have heard earlier, I am honoured to be a guest at the Casa de América, and I wish to say – after MP Xuclà’s speech on a return to history – to the Iranians visiting us I want to tell them that history is very deep in the country were they now are. Córdoba is just some kilometres from Madrid, where one of the most illustrious philosophers of Al-Andalus developed the theory of dispute and discrepancy in the interpretation of religious texts, an issue which is still very contemporary in the Islamic world, and where your movement is still at the forefront. We are at a place which is called Gabriela Mistral, who was not only a great writer, the only female Nobel Prize in Spanish; she was also a great fighter for Women’s Rights and equality of treatment for women. You are also in the land of Juan de Mariana, who was a thinker, a theologian from the 16th Century, from Aragon, which is also a few miles away from Madrid, who developed and conceived the idea of resistance versus oppression, against Absolutism, to such a point that recently a professor of the University of Paris, Françoise Guillaume, has explored the relationship between this theory on absolutist and tyrannical power in the works of Juan de Mariana, through Natural Law as a basis, and the thought that leads to and underlies the values of the French Revolution, and how that principle materialises in documents not only of the French revolution. The right to resistance and opposition is a right appearing in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen of 1789 and also in the Charter of Virginia and the founding documents of the United States. This is so to such a point that, this professor of La Sorbonne continues, the symbol of the French Revolution – and those of you living in Paris know it – is Marianne, the translation of Mariana, as in the midst of the revolution the counterrevolutionaries described revolutionaries as Marians. This is an example of how much the fight for resistance that you represent and that you are a part of is linked to a part of the action, the battle and thought of Spain and also to Al-Andalus in the case of Averroes, the philosopher I was describing at the beginning.

For the Spaniards who are here today I also wish to explain the extraordinary importance of an event – a tragic event for Iran - such as the overthrowing of the democratic government of Dr Mosaddegh which sunk the country into a long dictatorship which lasted over 25 years. The movement in which Ms Rajavi and all those in attendance are fighting, fought against that oppression, exercising the right to resistance and opposition against the dictatorship of the Shah. Regrettably, the period of freedom that started after the end of the dictatorship did not last long and a new tyranny with other principles is now in power in the country and we are all aware of the level and the depth of the repression. But, at the same time, we must also consider that resistance in Iran is not only deeply-rooted as I have explained in my brief outline, there is also a strong backing in current International Law in force.

More recently, we find the situation of Iraq following the US intervention, in 2004, the refugees of Iranian resistance in Iraq were granted the status of protected persons under the 4th Geneva Convention, by the intervention troops that were acting at that time under the authority of a mandate of the UN’s Security Council. This classification is very significant from a legal viewpoint, because it means that failure to recognise basic rights protected by such Convention: the right to life, the right to freedom, the right to healthcare, the right to basic nourishment, the right to property… The failure to recognise such rights is considered a War Crime, and regrettably the refugees in Ashraf - since 2009 when the Iraqi government took over security in that city – one of the most beautiful cities in Iraq – built entirely from scratch by the Iranian resistance – have been subjected to constant violations of the guarantees set forth under the 4th Geneva Convention and this means that the final culprits of these violations have incurred in a crime classified as a War Crime with the aggravating circumstance that they can be prosecuted under the principle of Universal Jurisdiction by any signatory country of the Geneva Convention.

Regrettably this situation which started in 2009 has continued to date, most of the inhabitants of a very beautiful city built by them have been forced into a sort of concentration camp, being enclosed in a very small perimeter, in conditions which can barely be described as human, as was recognised recently by a committee of the United Nations mentioned by Ms Rajavi. And this situation is the result of various causes: Vidal-Quadras mentioned it, one is the influence of the Iranian regime on the current Iraqi government, to keep the refugees in circumstances which are completely unacceptable from the viewpoints both of Iraqi internal law and international law, but this is also the result of wishing to attach a symbol of the resistance such as Ashraf, and at this time this wish to attack is not merely incidental on freedom of people it is also reflected in the will to take possession of assets, of lands, buildings, the infrastructure of a great city, a beautiful city, built by the Mujahedin movement.

Against this situation – as mentioned already, I am not going to reiterate this – Iranians in Iraq are not alone, nor are Iranians inside Iran offering resistance against oppression;the best wish I have and the best contribution I can make is to wish that Iranians find the way of facing this situation and establishing a democratic government, a plural government, and as Ms Rajavi said, of freedom, equality and democracy based on popular sovereignty and on the separation of the Church and the State. In that effort undoubtedly they will find many friends and, in particular, in Spain.

Thank you.


Juan E. Garces, International Lawyer, advisor to the late Chilean President Salvador Allende

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Iraqi forces attack Camp Ashraf