Yves Bonnet, former Governor and Head of France’s Internal Security Service (D.S.T.), 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. Transcript of his remarks translated into English follows:
“There was what I called the great plot in 2003 when the United States and France came to an agreement with VEVAK, the political police in Iran, the purpose of which was to put an end to the activities of the People’s Mujaheddin of Iran (PMOI). The operation took place in two parts. First, the Americans who had invaded Iraq rushed into the camps of the National Liberation Army of Iran, the PMOI’s military wing. The move was not entirely damage-free because about 50 people were killed – not that many in the overall scheme of things, you may say, but all the same 50 or so PMOI members lost their lives – but if everything had gone to plan it would have put an end to the activities of the PMOI. Fortunately there were some in the American military smart enough not to obey orders. They realised that they weren’t dealing with a bunch of criminals but with people who had an ideal and an organisation, that the Iranian resistance’s views on political organisation in general and human rights in particular were the same as their own, so they held back, they stopped and they prevented the PMOI from simply being sent back to Iran, where we know very well what fate awaited them.
The French were even worse, because they were supposed to put an end to the PMOI’s activities at Auvers-sur-Oise. There were 150 people there, many of them women, and the French police covered themselves with glory by sending 1500 police officers and gendarmes – 1500! – to arrest those 150 people, take them to Paris, question them, detain them and expel them. The judicial system – the courts – refused on the grounds of the legal principles we adhere to. And that, perhaps, marked the end of that particular offensive, or more precisely the beginning of a new relationship and a new understanding of what the PMOI might represent. Why? For one simple reason: the PMOI had a leader, Maryam Rajavi, who did not bend, who showed quite extraordinary courage at that particular time. She held the fort, as the saying goes, and the fort did not crumble. Far from it, in fact: the movement started to regain ground. Why? Because at the same time, with the support of its networks inside Iran, among the Iranian population – even, and I can tell you this because I have proof, inside the Iranian government – taking advantage of their movement’s penetration deep into the very heart of the state apparatus, resistance people found that Iran was deceiving everyone and was making an atomic bomb – nuclear weapons. Among other reasons, other explanations, there was one which was abundantly obvious to absolutely everyone except the diplomats, who are of course a breed apart, which is that Iran’s nuclear activities were taking place in tunnels. As a rule, when you do something in a tunnel it tends to be in order to hide it. Any fool knows that, but our leaders clearly seemed not to take much account of it. At that point, when we had proof that Iran was making nuclear weapons, things changed. Unfortunately the incoming American president – a president who was awarded the Nobel peace prize in the first year of his presidency, an extraordinary occurrence, unique in the annals of the Nobel prize – Mr Obama wanted to have his moment of glory, which he achieved by negotiating with Iran. But that is precisely the kind of country you must not negotiate with, as Mr Trump fully understands. So things got a bit muddled up for many people but Mr Obama, followed of course by the French president and the British prime minister, concluded the agreement of 14 July 2015. I said from the outset, without waiting for Mr Trump, who I didn’t know anyway, that it was a bad deal. Why? Because when you want nuclear weapons you need two things: the device, the explosive, what people commonly call the bomb; but you also need the means of delivery. If you have no vector to deliver your nuclear weapon, it is useless. In today’s world, the vector is no longer piloted flight – aviation – but intercontinental ballistic missiles or nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines. The Iranian regime does not have any of those and is not about to get them any time soon, however much Mr Putin’s Russia might cosy up to it. But Iran does have vectors, it is making great strides in ballistic missile technology and, to help and support its efforts and cooperate with it, it has an excellent partner in North Korea, whose pacifist credentials are well-known to everyone.
So there you have it, the realisation, on seeing how obstinately the Iranians wanted to continue working on ballistic technology, they’re always going on about it, of course it was a eureka moment. Given that Iran wanted access to the capacity to use vectors in the form of intercontinental ballistic missiles, it was clearly not to carry cargoes of cheese but weapons of mass destruction. There you have it. Fortunately America held elections, fortunately Mr Trump won, fortunately Mr Trump explained that the policy of appeasing the regime was bound to end in failure. It was easy for him to point to all the ways in which the regime has deceived all the countries that have held discussions with it, and so now we find ourselves in a situation where, for the first time in 65 years, we have in the United States, the most powerful country in the world, a president who understands something about Iranian affairs.”