Remarks by Franco Frattini at the Free Iran World Summit 2021 on 10 July 2021

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Franco Frattini, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy

Madame President Rajavi, ladies and gentlemen, dear members of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, thank you very much for allowing me to attend this very important world forum. Much has been said, nevertheless, I would like to start by saying, I’ve been listening to President Rajavi very carefully. Madam President, thank you very much for your words that I consider, as European, a wake up call for Europe. I can see a wake up call for the international community as a whole. Why? Because during the years, myself, as the foreign minister or vice president of European Commission, many of my colleagues in European Union, in America, in North America, and elsewhere, have been having contact with representatives of Iranian regime, sometimes so-called reformists, sometimes so-called conservatives. I can tell you, from my direct experience, no differences at all. I always found one thing, the Iranian negotiators are very good gamblers. They are very capable of trying to hide from their counterparts while sitting at the table like European councils of ministers, or the United Nation assembly. They are capable of trying to hide what they are doing at the expenses of the Iranian people. This is a clear point and this is why it’s so important. What you Madame President Rajavi, we just said, what you have in your heart in your mind, a country that is rich in nature, by now is tremendously poor. It is poor, economically, it is poor because when you don’t enjoy non-negotiable fundamental rights, that country is extremely poor. Because the basic rights, the right to be free to express your opinion, right to women and men to be equally respected, the right to profess a religion, these are basic rights in your country. Your beautiful country is tremendously poor. This is why it’s so important that you repeat your message that the National Council repeats a message, which is not only of, I would say, hope. I think you will succeed. I’m sure sooner, the better, but you will succeed in getting freedom and liberty for your country. But it’s important now to open the eyes of the international community. When the Iranian negotiators try to regain ground to bring on the table the European Union negotiators or the P5+1 member countries, they do– and this is my deep conviction only because they use the nuclear deal as the leverage for a recognition of their role in the region. They want to be recognized politically and this is the point where they should fail. They cannot be recognized as a viable partner, a viable negotiator. Nuclear is only one element of a general number of issues and the issues that bring me with my mind to the 30,000 political prisoners, to the executions, to the death penalties, and to the deprivation of fundamental freedoms. There is not only nuclear negotiation. And if we fall into the trap to sit around the table and to negotiate again, we just give the regime a legitimation, a recognition of their role. And their role is unfortunately also the one to destabilize the whole Middle East, especially now, after the election of Mr. Raisi. There was not an election, it was a designation– a designation from the supreme guide. And, frankly speaking, if this was the designation, in my personal opinion, this was a message of weakness, not a message of strength, because designating Mr. Raisi means the regime is going towards more repression, because it’s losing completely its reputation. It is a clear point in international relations. If a given regime is losing its reputation, it has to increase repression to silent the free voice. Fortunately, you are a free voice, a free voice speaking through a network worldwide, but you have to help people of Iran to regain ground and to be able to express their free voice inside Iran.

And when people talk about sanctions, again, in my personal opinion, sanctions are not affecting the free people of Iran, because lifting sanction would represent only to give more money to the regime, not to give more money to the free people of Iran, because it happened recently, during the moment where the sanction had been lifted, what was the result? Poverty, despair, no freedom, exactly the same as the period of time, where the sanctions are enforced. We had to clarify this point, because it is very often used as regime propaganda. You want the sanction to affect people. It’s not the people to be affected, it is the regime. They are the finances of the regime, it is the corruption of the regime, it is the imbalance distribution of wealth among the people, which is affected by giving more money to the regime. What to do about this increasing threat represented by an aggressive regime and led by a designated president that should be held accountable for having been responsible for thousands and thousands of people executed, people being political prisoners.

First of all, I would like to say thanks to your wake up call to my colleagues in Europe. Should seriously consider not sitting whatsoever around the same table with the Iranian dignitaries. This will be a clear message. I cannot recognize persons who try to sign an agreement, bloody hands. We have been doing things concerning other regimes. We have to be very frank, very strict in respecting our Constitution, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of European Union. Having been myself, also commissioner for fundamental rights, I’ve been made aware in that capacity of the tragedy involving human rights in Iran. And this was the time of the so-called reformist, not the time of Mr. Raisi. Imagine now, what kind of deterioration one could expect.

First message, Europe don’t sit together around the same table to negotiate, don’t legitimize, don’t recognize the legitimacy as a serious interlocutor of a country whose president deserves to be held accountable, tends to an investigation, which is, I would say, encouraged and promoted, but still did not become a reality. So, this is the first message.

The second message. Europe and the West should be absolutely clear on Middle East. Let’s be clear on this stabilizing role of Iranian regime in the whole of the Middle East, in the countries like Syria, by infiltrating the guard, the past around guard to Iraq to destabilize the old region. And these another element to be taken into consideration by those who believe that maybe one day Iran could be negotiating with Arab countries. This is not absolutely the truth. It’s impossible. It is again, the play of the gamblers. They try to hide what is really behind the scene. Behind the scene is sterile, is deprivation of rights.

In conclusion, I think what you are doing now is not only a wake up call. And the previous speakers already highlighted a number of very important points, but it is an appeal for respecting universal rights. These are not only the legitimated rights of the Iranian people. These are universal rights. A given country does not deserve to be considered a normal barner, a viable country if the complete denial of universal rights becomes the normality. This is a point. This is the added value of your struggle for rights. This is the message to us, to Europe, to the west, to those that consider your struggle for right a struggle for non-negotiable position. Never negotiate with those that make of repression, a wave of lives and make of repression in normality in the regime. I’m sure the sooner the better. In any case, since you are doing the right thing, the others are on the bad side of the history. They will lose. You will win. Thank you very much.