Remarks by Matteo Renzi at the Free Iran World Summit 2021 on 12 July 2021

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Matteo Renzi, former Prime Minister of Italy

Good afternoon to everyone. I’m Matteo Renzi, the former prime minister of Italy. And I’m so happy to be with you in this particular event. Very emotional, a lot of people in different parts of the world in a time of great troubles and discussion about the future of your country. Your country is not simply a country with tensions, politics, struggles, fights. Your country is first of all a country rich in history.

Let me be very frank with you. I’m the former prime minister of Italy. I know what it means to be a great country with an unbelievable story and unbelievable past and difficulty to use this past to give a future. And that is particularly true for Iran because you are a pillar of our civilization. The history of our countries created the great pages of success, great pages of difficulties, of course, great pages of hope. Now, we have a terrible moment for a lot of reasons. My opinion is that we live in a world that will change very, very, very strongly in the next few years. Let me be very frank. The new global order will pay in the next few years, totally in discussion. The relationship between the USA and China will be particularly interesting and maybe difficult in the 20s. The relationship between your country, the Middle East, and in general, the EU, and the rest of the world will be particularly interesting, because in that area, we will play a crucial role for the future of humanity. And at the same time, the innovation from digitalization from globalization from the world of the pandemic will be necessary to write a new page in the history of humanity, but we cannot write a new page without that message. The countries with great history have to be part of writing a new page for the future only if we recognize what is the priority today. And for that, I think Iran is a crucial point. I tried with my colleagues, European, to write a new page when I was Prime Minister. I visited Tehran as a member of G7. I tried to discuss, to write the way the people really were involved in the processes of six plus one, the role of European countries, USA, and Iranian regime to finally arrive to an agreement against the nuclear bomb, nuclear bomb against the tensions of the past, and we work very strongly in that direction, but that is my very sad remark. We failed. That is the truth, we failed, because the idea to arrive at a very important point of change in Iran was unfortunately, the year to arrive at this goal was, unfortunately, a failure– and I recognize that now.

And I think we have to admit three very important points. First, without a clear message, our refusal of theocracy, and dictatorship in Iran, without that refusal, it will be impossible to arrive, to write a page of freedom and value of liberty, really. So, the only way for European Union today is to learn from our past and also from our mistakes, because we try really very strongly to achieve a good result of peace, but it is impossible and not our responsibility. That is the first message I want to give to you. The people who fight for freedom in Iran, really, a lot of European people tried. Also, against European, a lot of you told me, “Matteo, it’s impossible. You cannot arrive at this result.” But we tried and we failed.

Second point. If that is true, we have to accept the idea of the European Union, to refuse that approach and try to give hope for the people who fight against the regime. I think we have a very good message. This is a good time, despite the situation in Iran, in the rest of the world, that is the time to try to use every type of power: soft power, hard power, to permit us to surround the Iranian regime from our desire to change the model. We cannot accept in 2021, we will continue with an approach against the rights, against freedom, against the possibility for Iran to come back in the global community because it’s clear that message, the people of Iran needs global community. But let me be very frank, my friends, the global community also needs Iran for the values of your country, for the history of your country, for the passion of your country. Without Iran, the word is the poorest, word that is without a pillar. The past is not important only for the memory, for the book of history, the past is important to build today and perspective for the future. And without the Iranian values, without Iranian history, without Iranian tradition, the word of tomorrow will be weak. So, that is the time to write a change, to write the page of a radical change, and support the people who fight to cancel the theocracy and come back to be in Iran, a part of the new world.

Also because– and that is the third remark– that is not the time to fight for a nuclear bomb in Iran. That is a time to fight against poverty in Iran, because it’s an acceptable account to reach not only of history but also of assets as your country was considered responsible for the responsibility of the regime– a country unfit for global investment. We tried, again, to encourage the Global Exchange. I personally tried in 2015-2016 to encourage companies to make a dialogue between the countries, between their areas, but unfortunately, their regime blocked that and the real priority today is only one fight to give to your country the possibility to cancel poverty, not to build a bomb, not to build a nuclear program.

So, in my life. I wasn’t a part of a traditional opposition. I tried to make every effort as a pragmatic politician to encourage the dialogue. But I have to admit today, this situation is really difficult and we have to accept that message. If we want to create a new page of hope for that area, we have to cancel theocracy, we have to cancel that approach, and we have to write a page of freedom. Page of real creation of nouvelles.

I conclude with these personal opinions. We live in a world with artificial intelligence, where the internet of things, with digitalization and new personalized medicine. We will live in a world in which the plan will be with the pandemic in the last century, but you do not open with a great repression as the last century, about the great growth. To arrive with this great growth, we have to invest, of course, in the startups, in the labs, in the new ideas. That is absolutely correct. But exactly for that, we will name them in the next year’s heritage of common values. And that heritage of common values comes from our history. And the word without the tradition of your people will be weak. We have to come back to open the doors of Iran to the global community, and the global community to Iran, but the only way and that is my truth. I tried to make every type of dialogue. There is not a possibility without a change of regime. And also the situation of today after the votes, after the politics about the votes, after the polemics of the president elected for his role in 1988, after a lot of things you described very well in that event, I think I’m absolutely persuaded there is not a way to give peace, prosperity, and future for Iran if we don’t accept the idea to radical change in the regime.

So, my personal wish is that we will be able to continue this fight. I will be part of that in my role in the European community. But please, consider that. The radical change is not simply an economic or a value on the human necessity for Iran, it’s a necessity for the world. Because the world, without you, is a world more we can, they think that will be a great problem for the Middle East, for the relation with you. And for the relation of the rest of the world. Europe today is a little part of a global discussion between the USA and China. We have to come back to prayer. But to play a role, I believe the way is exactly that. Come back to have a great vision for the future of the area and not accept our regime with a dangerous approach not only for Iran, but for the rest of the world.

Thank you so much.