INTERVIEW WITH INTV
Question 1: This year the MEK/PMOI celebrates its 58th anniversary of its foundation.
You have supported the organization for many years since you were in the European Parliament and you have witnessed various conspiracies against the MEK by the Iranian regime as well as the appeasers, and you have been informed of many fake news and demonization by the regime. Indeed, you have been yourself targeted and put under pressure because of your support for the organization by the regime and appeasing governments. What made you support the MEK/PMOI in the first place and what makes you remain resolute in supporting them despite all these?
Shortly after I was elected as a Member of the European Parliament I received a request for a meeting with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s ambassador to the EU. When he came to my office, he began to boast about the achievements of the theocratic regime under their supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. I stopped him in mid-sentence and showed him a newspaper article I had read. It noted the hanging of a 16-year-old girl called Atefeh Rajabi Sahaaleh. She was hanged in public from a crane in the city of Neka. She had been raped and tortured for three years by a 51-year-old former IRGC member turned taxi-driver. He was sentenced to 100 lashes. For me, that was the tipping point. I ordered the ambassador to get out of my office and told him that I would devote my career to bringing down his repellent government. I have worked closely with the MEK ever since.
My support for the MEK has caused a lot of tension over the years. When, as an MEP, I agreed to attend and address a major MEK rally in Berlin, I received a telephone call from a person pretending to be from the UK Foreign Office, advising me not to go. Later, when secret transcripts of the telephone call appeared in a British court, it emerged that the call had actually been from MI5. I was outraged that the British security service had tried to interfere in my role as a democratically elected Member of Parliament. But the tentacles of the Iranian octopus stretch far and wide and I have been attacked in the media on countless occasions by pro-regime journalists and criticized by pro-appeasement politicians and others.
Question 2: If you don’t mind, can you explain during all these years that you supported the MEK & the Iranian resistance, what kind of pressures you were faced with and how did you pass through and overcome them?
I recall on one occasion being asked to meet a UK government minister in the European Parliament in Brussels. I understood the purpose of the meeting was to discuss international fisheries policy, as I was, at that time, President of the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee. It turned out that the Minister wanted to warn me against supporting the MEK. It made me very angry and I told him never to dare to tell me what to do as an elected politician.
In my role as President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq, I confronted the Iraqi government in Baghdad for their active role in the massacre of innocent, unarmed civilian members of the MEK in Camp Ashraf, exposing their lies and attempts to cover up this horrific crime. Back in Brussels I received a phonecall from an Iranian living in Hamburg. He said he was a friend of the venally corrupt and evil Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and wanted to meet me to pass on a message. When he came to my office he said “Mr al-Maliki wants to know what it would take to get you to stop attacking him publicly.” It was clearly an attempt at bribery. I said “What it will take is the arrest of Maliki and his indictment for crimes against humanity and his appearance in the international criminal court in The Hague.”
Question 3: You once in a speech at the University of Jean Moulin in Lyon of France described the MEK as an amazing asset. What made you describe them in this way and what reasons do you have for this?
When you understand that it was the MEK which revealed the Mullahs’ top-secret nuclear programme to the West, whose intelligence services had failed to discover it. When you realize it is MEK supporters and their resistance units inside Iran who risk their lives to provide the West with this type of accurate intelligence on a daily basis, then the asset value of this organization, led by the charismatic Maryam Rajavi becomes obvious. The MEK and the NCRI are the only hope for ending the theocratic regime’s nuclear threat and the only hope for restoring peace, freedom, justice and human rights to the Iranian people and to the wider Middle East.
Question 4: You have written a book about them titled “Self-Sacrifice- Life with the Iranian Mojahedin” as you introduced it in a conference in the University of Jean Moulin of France. What was your motivation for writing this book?
It seemed to me after two decades of close association with the MEK, that the wider story of their sacrifice, their suffering and their resilience needed to be told. That is why I wrote the book. Here is an organization motivated only to end repression and to restore freedom to their people and yet they have been demonized, viciously attacked, suffered a genocidal campaign that led in 1988 to the massacre of over 30,000 of their supporters in Iran and even, as an astonishing act of appeasement, listed as a terrorist organization at one time. The truth behind all of these atrocities and lies had to be revealed. That is why I wrote SELF SACRIFICE – LIFE WITH THE MOJAHEDIN.
Both the clerical regime and the remnants of the previous monarchist dictatorship of Iran attack the MEK. The mullahs say the organization has no role and root inside Iran. Monarchists repeat the same stating that there is no alternative to the current regime. In your view, what are these attacks on the MEK for and what does your experience of supporting the MEK during almost 2 decades tell about this?
Although there may be some in Iran who still believe in the monarchist system, yet there is no monarchist political movement inside Iran. The overwhelming majority of those who were alive during the revolution of 1979 have rejected the monarchy. There is no indication that the new generation has any tendency or wish to restore the monarchy in Iran. The most important indicator of the lack of support for the monarchist movement was the January 2018, and specifically the November 2019 uprisings, in which the Iranian people completely rejected Reza Pahlavi’s proposal for civil disobedience and cooperation with the IRGC. Isolated publicity stunts claiming support for the monarchy, that were mounted by agents of the regime to distort the demands of the demonstrators, backfired, failing to provide any credibility to the monarchists. It did, however, expose how the regime likes to play the monarchist card.
The monarchy in Iran was an illegitimate and autocratic institution that a popular revolution overthrew. The notion of the return of the monarchy to Iran is as historically anachronistic as the return of the monarchy to France or Russia, or even Iraq and Afghanistan. Such a fantasy is irrelevant and does not merit serious consideration. Only the Iranian regime plays up the monarchy card as a ploy to maintain its clerical rule and deprive the Iranian people of their right to self-rule and sovereignty. Iranian monarchists do not have any organizational capability in either Iran or anywhere else. During the past 40 years, monarchists have not played any role or paid any price in fighting the regime. Reza Pahlavi has no concrete plans for regime change other than talking up a fantasy of cooperation with the regime's repressive forces like the IRGC and Basij. He has no plans for the future of Iran. Even his official website does not purport to have a program for the future of Iran.
There is only one clear and competent alternative to the mullahs’ regime and that is the MEK and their ten-point plan for restoring freedom, democracy and justice to the Iranian people. It is a manifesto around which I would be proud to stand for election. That is why I support the MEK and that is why I repeatedly call on the West to stop appeasing this repressive clerical regime and instead, focus their support on the main, democratic opposition, the MEK.