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Giulio Terzi-Paris, June 2014 – The Grand Gathering of Iranians

Giulio Terzi-Paris, June 2014 – The Grand Gathering of Iranians

Giulio Terzi Former Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs

Madame President-Elect, dear friends, I have the pleasure to introduce tonight first of all a very distinguished and important delegation from the Italian Parliament, the Italian cities, Italian organizations, all friends that you have in Italy, and that are fighting for your freedom and human rights in Iran. The participation in this grand meeting of hundreds of Iranian association from all over the world proves the depth and the intensity of the struggle, a struggle for democracy against dictatorship.

 

A struggle for humanity and dignity. A struggle for pluralism and freedom against ethnic and religious discrimination. A struggle for a free Iran against an obscurantist and oppressive Iran. The vision of a future Iran enshrined in the ten point plan launched last year by President Rajavi should attract unconditional support by the whole international community. And we have to work altogether in that direction, the direction shown by President Rajavi.

 

Systemic violation of fundamental rights in Iran is a matter of grave concern. Last April, European Parliament passed a resolution calling on the European Union to mainstream human rights in all of its relations with the country. The negotiations of the nuclear program should not deflect our priorities from the need to restore freedom and democracy. It has been wisely proposed that sanctions should only be lifted when international obligation concerning human rights are fully implemented. Abuses of human rights cannot be condoned in any possible way. It is extremely alarming that the first year of President Rouhani leaves no hope for moderation. According to the UN Secretary General report to the Human Rights Council last March, the promises made by the new leadership have dramatically failed. Over 700 inmate shave been executed since Rouhani’s election, and the shocking death of Gholamreza Khosravi, one of your martyrs, one of your best people, hanged by the theocratic regime after 12 years of tortures is a horrible crime. We must call it as such, horrible crime. And as such every politically motivated execution should be considered by governments like the European ones which place human rights at the center of their foreign relations

 

Long live the memory of those who have given their lives for freedom, of those who have suffered in jail, of those who have been resilient under duress and torture. Their shining example strengthens our resolve. The UN Report for Human Rights Council and the grave concern for continuous infringement from international norms, for amputations, floggings, arbitrary detention, intimidation of political activists and journalists, and the UN special reporter has been left waiting outside the Iranian door for more than three years. This is unacceptable. Freedom of religion and belief has to be singled out as especially worrisome aspect. Severe restrictions, attacks on religious groups, politically motivated incriminations for crimes against God are some of the main tools the theocratic regime more and more frequently uses to deter opponents, to terrorize citizens, to consolidate its power. Faith in God can never justify violence or crimes committed under the banner of religion. And as a prominent Islamist leader said recently, and I quote, “The cure for a failed democracy is only more democracy. A dictatorship disguised in religion is the worst kind of dictatorship.” What happened and still is happening in Iran, Iraq and Syria is exactly the opposite.

 

The international community is still unable to find a solution for the Iranian refugees in Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty, the protected person by the UN and the U.S. An unprecedented number of executions and massacres, the most tragic last September 1st, has occurred with the obvious complicity of Iraqi authorities. Seven kidnapped PMOIs, your brothers and sisters, seven of them are still missing. Iran has requested the extradition of all residents in Camp Liberty, and General Shemmari is misleading any independent inquiry. All this must stop, but from the news that you are getting from the field perhaps it’s stopping already and justice is closer. And people who have been responsible can be brought to justice in the future, I hope very very soon.

 

Developments in Iraq are dramatically affecting the entire region. They make the need to protect and rescue all the residents in Camp Liberty more evident and urgent than ever before. These residents must be given refugee status in our countries and in European countries. The UN, the U.S., you bear legal and moral responsibilities. But the fate of PMOI members seems to be ignored in all talks and negotiations taking place with regard to the alleged ISIS threat against the Iraqi government. The Iraqi government attitude towards PMOI is and must remain the first credible test. Prime Minister Maliki is not really committed to an inclusive democratic Iraq respectful of human rights, of religious and political minorities. He has already stated the contrary. And Maliki has never spent time on political reconciliation. Even during the 2007 military surge and I listened with great attention to what General Casey said just a few minutes ago, Maliki does not spend any time now in addressing fundamental issues with Sunni and Kurd leaders. He only wants to please and serve Iran. The President of the United States has made clear that the U.S. would not provide military support unless Maliki engineered a drastic change, reaching out to Sunnis and Kurds in a show of national unity. That requires a newly found independence from Iran, whose expansionist policies and military interference, both in Syria and Iraq, are backfiring now into a generalized sectarian struggle.

 

Dear friends, the enormous energy of this gathering shows that the National Council of Resistance of Iran is ready to meet the steep challenges faced in Iraq and Iran. Only the freedom you are advocating will change Iran and the whole region. Thank you very much.

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Iraqi forces attack Camp Ashraf