1. What is His Excellency’s role in supporting the Iranian opposition’s struggle and shedding light on Iran’s activities?
I began my association with the Iranian democratic opposition from the early days I was in the European Parliament, over 17 years ago. I realized that the People’s Mojahedin of Iran-PMOI (Mojahedin Khalq) and the political coalition of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) under the leadership of Mrs Maryam Rajavi, are a truly democratic force who want nothing for themselves. They only want freedom and justice for the Iranian people who have been brutally repressed by the mullahs.
I also realized that the Iranian regime is not just the enemy of the people of Iran but a major troublemaker in the region. Islamic fundamentalism, which has become the main threat in the world today, began when Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in 1979. Many Islamic extremists get their motivation from Iran, which has become the major exporter of terrorism and instability in the Middle East. So supporting a progressive Muslim force such as the Mojahedin Khalq, which believes in a tolerant and democratic Islam, is very important if we are to challenge effectively the threat of the mullahs in Iran.
Due to its position opposing the regime in Iran, this resistance movement is currently defending peace and security in the Middle East and across the globe. Therefore, any measures democratic governments take in support of the Iranian Resistance will help to shed light on this regime’s domestic brutality and its meddling across the region and throughout the world. I believe the Iranian regime is the number one threat to world peace and therefore anyone thinking about the future of humanity must support the Iranian Resistance, now known to be the only key challenger to this brutal regime.
2. Have these activities resulted in any reaction from European governments and London?
Unfortunately due to the appeasement policy adopted for many years by the West vis-à-vis Iran, including the British government, the Iranian regime has been able to take huge advantage of this policy to inflict blows on its opposition. One such example was the black listing of the PMOI that was only annulled after numerous court rulings in Europe and the United Kingdom, which forced the governments in Europe and London, to delist the Iranian Resistance.
3. How possible do you view the prosecution of Iranian officials for crimes against the Iranian people?
The truth is that the Iranian regime has during the past four decades imposed the worst and most horrific type of crackdown and dictatorship against the Iranian people. Fortunately, thanks to the Iranian people’s organized Resistance and a large number of its international supporters, we have successfullty gathered evidence of this regime’s murders, killings, crackdown and torture. This can be presented in any international court. For example, in 1988 the Iranian regime massacred more than 30,000 political prisoners under orders issued by the Iranian regime’s founder Ruhollah Khomeini himself. The victims were mainly of the PMOI/MEK and all the executions were carried out in the span of just two months. Currently, thanks to the efforts of Mrs. Rajavi, this issue has become a major international human rights campaign aimed at forcing the perpetrators of these crimes to face justice in international courts. I am very optimistic about this and determined to see the regime’s senior officials brought to justice in the international courts for their crimes.
4. In your opinion, will the new U.S. administration have a role in increasing pressure on the Iranian regime, especially on its nuclear program and stopping its criminal methods inside the country and abroad?
The truth is that Obama’s strategy in the Middle East was based on a policy of engagement with Iran. Therefore, he provided all the concessions possible to Tehran, covering everything from Iraq to the Iran nuclear deal itself. The horrific events in Syria are a prime example of Obama’s disastrous policy.
It is too early to say what the policy of the new US administration will be regarding Iran. But I can at least say that there is greater chance of adopting a tougher line on the Iranian regime’s aggressive policies in the region and the internal repression and human rights abuse they impose on the Iranian people. The Iranian regime’s reactions following the election of Donald Trump represents its fear regarding this subject. Recently the Iran Sanctions Act was extended for another 10 years by the US Congress, representing a major move against this regime.
5. Following the British PM’s participation in the GCC conference, in your opinion will the UK play an important role in supporting the security of Gulf States in the face of an Iran threat?
This is in the UK’s national interest. It is only natural that the UK would strive for the security of the Gulf Arabs against Iran, in order to preserve its strategic interests. On the other hand, the UK’s closeness to the Gulf and the stance taken by Prime Minister May in her visit to the Gulf shows the times have changed and Iran can no longer continue its expansionist policy as it has for past decades.
Gulf leaders and the British PM in the GCC summit announced a strategic political/security/trade alliance and committed to working together to confront Iran’s aggression. Prime Minister May, in her speech before the Gulf leaders, emphasized that this alliance must continue its activities against those parties who strive to destabilize the region. She also underscored to the Gulf leaders how completely aware she is about Iran’s threat to the Gulf region and the entire Middle East and it is therefore upon our shoulders to work to prevent Iran’s aggressive behaviour in the region.
For years the EU and US continued with their appeasement policy vis-à-vis Iran, wrongly claiming that giving in to the mullahs’ demands will guarantee lasting peace, whereas, Tehran continued its crimes in Arab countries from Iraq to Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and others. Now, these crimes have reached an intolerable level and the world is forced to step in.
6. There are reports of the Revolutionary Guards taking part alongside the Hashid al-Shabi, or the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq, taking part in massacring civilians in Sunni areas of Ramadi and Mosul providing excuses for Daesh (ISIS/ISIL). What is your role in taking action against this plot that has targeted the entire existence of Sunnis in Iraq?
The truth is that the Iranian regime has been taking advantage of the issue of Daesh to ethnically cleanse the Sunnis in Iraq. It was former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Iranian regime’s puppet, who surrendered Mosul to Daesh without a fight, and it was Maliki himself who released the Daesh prisoners in order to boost their military strength. These days we are witnessing people in southern Iraq, all being Shiite, expressing their hatred of Maliki in their demonstrations and protests. They have banned him from their cities and are not allowing their cities to stage sessions that he or his factions could exploit. They are telling Maliki that he was the one who surrendered Mosul to Daesh. Many years ago I tried extensively to make the international community understand Iran’s strategic goal in oppressing the Sunnis while trying to establish a puppet state controlled by its supporters in Iraq. To this end the presence of Daesh provided the perfect excuse for Iran to carry out any and all crimes, being far worse than Daesh, against the Sunnis. Iran is repeating the brutalities it implemented in al-Anbar, Diyala and Salahadin now in Mosul. The Hashid al-Shabi is killing Sunnis under the pretext of battling Daesh. Right now I am using all my efforts to expose this plot and to prevent the annihilation of the Sunnis by the Iranian regime.
7. What is your role in preventing the IRGC killings in Syria, especially in Aleppo?
Iran’s role in destroying Syria and the killing of more than half a million Syrians, bringing displacement to more than half the country’s population is crystal clear. All freedom loving people in this world are against the destructive war launched by Bashar Assad, Iran, and Russia. Like others, we are placing all our efforts and pressure on international organizations to recognize the Syrian people’s right to overthrow Assad and for these global entities to support the Syrian people and the Free Syrian Army.
8. Finally, what is your opinion about the scope of Iran’s plan in the region, and how can this plot be confronted?
Meddling in the region is part of the Iranian regime’s nature, as is domestic crackdown, murder and killing. If we seek to achieve a stable and peaceful Middle East and to have murders and killings and crises come to an end, the overthrow of this regime must be placed on the agenda. And the overthrow of this regime can only be accomplished and made possible with the NCRI and PMOI as the main Iranian elements. They are really the main organized opposition and certainly feared by the mullahs. Neglecting this Iranian democratic opposition will only further support the regime’s meddling in the region.