Sid Ahmed Ghozali, former Prime Minister of Algeria, addressed a panel discussion on the subject of “Protests in Iran and the Role of the Opposition” in a Paris suburb on June 29, 2018. The event was jointly organized by FEMO and APA. His remarks follow:
“There are more of us now to explain the reality of the fight of the Iranian people, the reality of the Iranian resistance and what is at stake, not only for the Iranian people but for all of us as members of the international community committed to peace and justice.”
After 17 years of support for the Iranian resistance movement, Mr Ghozali believes that the cause concerns all citizens of the world. This is what he said.
“80 years ago, in 1938, two governments, French and British, led respectively by Daladier and Chamberlain, if I am not mistaken, went to Munich with the best intentions in the world. They believed they could appease Hitler, Germany’s dictator at the time, by conceding Austria and the Sudetenland to him, because he had told them, promised them “If you give me that, I will not go to war”. And a few months later Germany invaded Poland and we had the Second World War. What I mean by this is that the western powers can make tragic mistakes and that history is stuttering and repeating itself with this Iranian business.
As Churchill said, there was the Weimar republic which came after the First World War, which was the finest and most democratic of republics, but it did not stop Germany from falling into the hands of the Nazis. And Churchill, when war broke out, said to the two governments “You thought you could trade honour for peace, now you have both war and dishonour”.
We need to re-establish the truth of the Iranian problem
What we have to do now is absolutely to re-establish the truth of the Iranian problem. The problem is this: there is a dictatorship, and you all know that dictators, in order to keep their hold over their people, seek to expand, seek to extend outwards. Iran has stated its goal loud and clear, it wants to dominate the Arab and Muslim world. Iran, the mullah regime, wants to dominate. How? Through destabilisation. Look at what is happening: who is behind the four centres of warlike violence in Iraq? Iran. Who is behind Syria? The mullah regime. Who is behind Lebanon? The mullah regime. Who is behind Yemen? The mullah regime. I served myself as head of the Algerian government under president Boudiaf, the most eminent leader of the country’s national liberation movement. Mohamed Boudiaf broke off diplomatic relations with Iran in 1992. Why? Because we found out that Iran was giving material, political, financial and military support to terrorism in Algeria. Yves Bonnet knows something about that, as head of counter-terrorism in France, he was one of the few senior officials to take Algeria’s side during the terrorist episode. One of the few. At that time, the French government fell silent. Algeria was left, even by the American government, to live in the shadow of terrorism for 10 years because it’s something that only happens to others. You turn a blind eye, hide your head in the sand like an ostrich when there’s danger. The fact is that the mullahs wrote it into the constitution as “exporting the Islamic revolution”, it’s there in their constitution, they want to export the revolution they call an “Islamic revolution”, though there is nothing Islamic about it, all over the world so as to dominate it better. And that is what is happening even as we speak in the Gulf region, they want to exclude the Saudi family from Hejaz, the most prestigious site of Islamic religion, in order to dominate the world by taking control of Hejaz, of Mecca.
The regime recognizes that the PMOI can trigger a revolution in Iran
So, we would do well to remember that what is called the People’s Mojahedin of Iran, the PMOI, is firstly a resistance movement, not just a political party which is there to challenge the ruling authority for power. For the PMOI’s action dates not from 1979 but from the time of the Shah and it is mainly they – as Yves Bonnet said – the successors, the spiritual sons of Mossadegh, who toppled the Shah. But I can tell you, I was too young at the time, the president of the union of Algerian students during the Algerian war of liberation went to visit the Shah’s Iran. He met Khomeini there. And who introduced him to Khomeini? The Shah.
This is an example of what are called tragic mistakes, where people who seem to be enemies are in fact hand in glove. Our duty is to re-establish that truth. The Iranian opposition – what is called the opposition – is the Iranian resistance. People say they are not representative, but when 120,000 of its members have paid the price of its political struggle, that is hardly insignificant…
Look at the audiovisual records up till now, there are films, audiovisual documents which show meetings organised by Massoud Rajavi in 1980. He attracted half a million Iranians to Tehran. And it is only now that this movement, regarded as non-representative, that Khamenei innocently says it is behind the demonstrations in 142 of Iran’s largest cities and towns. The PMOI is behind them. What sweet recognition of the fact that the PMOI can trigger a revolution in Iran. And that is why Mrs Rajavi, for years and years, well before the Iran nuclear agreement Yves Bonnet talked about, well before, said that negotiations are not the solution to the problem because you cannot trust a dictator, he can promise you everything but will give you nothing. Nor is war, because that would serve the existing regime and turn it into a victim. That is why she has talked, has never stopped talking, about a third way: letting the Iranian people get rid of the regime. And only the Iranian people. And the Iranian people, there is only one organisation that represents them and is capable of offering an alternative. Because it is not enough to topple the regime, the regime can fall and the country tip into chaos, that’s what happened in Libya because Libya did not have the equivalent of the PMOI. The Iranian people have the good fortune to have the PMOI. Tomorrow, if the regime crumbles, the people are there who can act and prod the movements towards positive outcomes.”
Now, economic matters: there again, the west is mistaken. The “criminal takeover” that Yves Bonnet mentioned.
Iran is incapable of trade because dictatorship is by definition incompetent
If we really want to talk economics, what is the economy? It is trade and the importance of trade between the west and Iran. Iran is incapable of trade because the dictatorial political regime is by definition incompetent. All the money has gone into the pockets of the leadership. But tomorrow, when there is a democratic movement that seeks the interest of the people, that could develop the country and generate 100 billion in trade instead of the current 10 billion. So even the economic argument is wrong. That’s not what justifies appeasing the mullahs. I congratulate you because 15 or 16 years ago there were two or three Americans with the PMOI. There were already several dozen Europeans, a good number of Europeans, members of parliament, officials elected by the people of 28 countries while their governments kept the PMOI on the black list, peace-lovers, one of whom is sitting here beside us, Mr Struan Stevenson.
Thousands of officials elected by the people gave their support and continued to do so while their governments placed them on the list of terrorist organisations. And now the Americans, and I congratulate you for it, there are now fifty or so of you, having held positions of very great responsibility, and that reassures me because there are more of us now to explain the reality of the struggle of the Iranian people, the reality of the Iranian resistance and what is at stake, not only for the Iranian people but for all of us as members of the international community committed to peace and justice.