The text of remarks by Giulio Terzi, former Foreign Minister of Italy – June 13, 2015:
Let me first of all welcome very warmly the Italian Parliamentary delegation which is with me tonight and welcome in particular a very distinguished personality from the Italy and the European Parliament, the honorable Marco Pannella, who is campaigning very strongly for bringing a transition towards the rule of law in countries like Iran which are suffering because of despotic and extremist regimes.
The message that this extraordinary gathering should be sending tonight must be one of the strongest support to Muslim organizations like the Iranian resistance, which advocate a tolerant, antifundamentalist, democratic vision of Islam, perfectly reflected in the ten points contained in the political program of the National Council of Resistance of Iran. Especially in the Middle East, peace and stability can succeed only if extremism and fundamentalism are defeated.
The forces of moderation, freedom, and democracy should, therefore, be helped not only by Western Governments but also by all democratic nations throughout the world, and by the individuals who care for human values and freedoms. The majority of States belonging to the Arab League have been supporting over the last four years a democratic transition in Syria, a political settlement in Yemen, an inclusive system of Government in Iraq. But all these efforts have failed, mainly because of the expansionary and sectarian strategies of the Iranian theocracy.
Since Khomeini’s revolution, Iran has always acted as the guardian of the Shiite community in Lebanon, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, and Iraq. The regime has established a strong network of Shiite militias: the Hezbollah in Lebanon; the Houthis in Yemen; the Badr Organization, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, Kata’ib Hezbollah and the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq; it has also befriended Sunni actors in order to reinforce its regional status and it has developed strong ties with Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza.
The war against ISIS should not deflect our attention from Iran’s objectives. Tehran’s power grab in Iraq has assured the dominance of Shiite militias, reinforcing dramatically the appeal of fundamentalist organizations like ISIS among Sunni regions.
Prime Minister al-Abadi’s appointment was welcomed last year by western countries as an inclusive leader capable of ending the sectarian policies of Nuri al-Maliki. But the contrary has happened. The Paris Conference last week on fighting ISIS has provided the latest, telling evidence.
In Paris, Prime Minister al-Abadi didn’t spell a single word against Iran’s sectarian policies in Iraq and Syria. Instead, he stressed time and again that he needs weapons, money, and boots on the ground to encourage Shiite militias’ ethnic cleansing. The very same day President Rouhani stated that never ever he will give up his support to Bashar Assad.
Is this the “responsible role” in the region that many people in the West expect from the Iranian regime, or the reward that the “5+1” wish for the nuclear deal?
Tehran’s meddling in the region aims at compensating shortcomings at home. By exporting fundamentalism and terror under the banner of Islam the mullahs want to preserve their power in Tehran, overcoming the regime’s weakness and inability to address domestic problems. Fundamentalism can only survive by being on the offensive.
However, more of the population – in particular, the youth – is becoming restive and demands change. For the new generation of Iranians, the State should be far less Islamic than its rulers want. The ambitions of the youth go in different directions – not through making mischief or muscle–flexing, but through higher education, ideas and hunger to be citizens of the world. More and more Iranian women are a force of social change. They look at the example given by Madame Rajavi and her marvelous commitment to democracy and social justice.
Under these circumstances, a firm policy of Western powers and in particular the US, the EU and the Arab countries is needed to put an end to Iranian meddling in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. A clear policy is needed to remove Tehran’s heavy interferences in Baghdad, to assure a democratic transition in Damascus without Assad, and to support Yemen’s stabilization by preventing Iranian proxies’ actions.
In order to succeed such a policy needs to be linked with the Iranian people, with their desire for change symbolized by the Iranian Resistance and the Mojahedin of Iran.
Millions of Iranians inside the country and abroad praise the sacrifice of their heroes fallen in the quest for freedom. Those who have been killed and are still suffering in Camp Liberty should be remembered. And the situation in Camp Liberty must – again – be firmly denounced. We must be proud to stand with them. Thank you.