Saturday, December 3, 2016

Decades-old appeasement policy vis-à-vis Iran must end - Heshmat Alavi

by Heshmat Alavi

The solution to the Syria crisis, and that of the entire region, lies in the West, and especially Washington, adopting a responsible policy of standing firm against Tehran’s meddling.

The West, specifically the United States, must close the book on over three decades of appeasement with Iran, said Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi at a conference in Paris on Saturday, November 26. If the international community is serious about bringing an end to Daesh (ISIS/ISIL), it must first end Iran’s role in Syria. The nations of Iran and Syria are brothers, standing shoulder to shoulder, deploring the devastating war raging for nearly six years now in the Levant.

The conference, titled “Call for Justice: Ending Impunity for Perpetrators of Crimes Against Humanity in Iran and Syria,” hosted an impressive slate of distinguished political personalities and jurists from across Europe, others representing Middle East countries, alongside a delegate of Syrian opposition officials.

The Iranian people and nations of the region have suffered from a disastrous U.S. policy, and the entire Middle East in the past 16 years has witnessed the mullahs in Iran profiting the most, Rajavi explained.

The entire region, especially the Iranian people and their organized opposition movement, led by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), expect the new White House to significantly revise this utterly botched policy. One such result is the nearly half a million and counting innocent Syrians killed, with more than half the country displaced from their homes.

With the Iranian regime encouraged by the West’s weak approach, nearly 3,000 people have been executed during the tenure of “moderate” Iranian president Hassan Rouhani. Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon have suffered havoc as a result of Iran’s meddling. The people of Iran truly detest the filthy war fueled by Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei as he sends more troops and militia forces to absurdly “defend the Holy Shrines” in Syria and Iraq. Under the banner of fighting Daesh, Iran has been specifically targeting the Sunnis of Iraq and Syria in lethal sectarian massacres.

The solution to the Syria crisis, and that of the entire region, lies in the West, and especially Washington, adopting a responsible policy of standing firm against Tehran’s meddling. This will render a realistic platform to also take on Daesh, without the Iranian regime having any role in such a campaign, as sometimes weighed during the tenure of President Barack Obama.

The conference also called for a firm stance regarding Iranian nuclear policy, and for the new administration in Washington to not allow Tehran take any advantage. It is high time to bring an end to the unjustified concessions provided to Tehran in light of the atrocious human rights violations inside the country and further meddling across the region.

Internal disputes are currently flaring among the regime’s own factions. A few months ago, Iran and the world were shocked when a sound bite related to the late Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, successor to Iranian regime mullah Ruhollah Khomeini, was made public. This revelation shed light on how the Iranian regime ordered and carried out the summer 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners, mostly related to Iran’s main opposition, the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

In response, Tehran’s so-called judiciary has sentenced Ahmad Montazeri, the son of Ayatollah Montazeri, to 21 years behind bars. This signals a major turning point in Iran’s domestic politics, ultimately resulting in a serious decrease in Khaemenei’s powers as the regime’s senior leader.

A colorful array of prominent dignitaries put their weight behind this conference, including the likes of former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt; former International Criminal Court judge Fatoumata Diarra; Irish senator David Norris; former Warsaw mayor Marcin Swiecicki; and Sir Geoffery Robertson, president of the U.N. Court for Sierra Leone, joined by a significant delegation from Arab countries and especially Syria.

A warmly welcome segment of the event featured former political prisoners and young MEK supporters who managed to flee Iran in the past few months. They provided shocking tales about their experiences and observations in Iran under the mullahs’ regime. They also shed light on the support the MEK enjoys inside the country.

The international community should respect the thirst for freedom seen in all the nations of the Middle East. The new White House can begin by setting aside the failed appeasement policy and stand alongside those striving for democracy in this region.

Heshmat Alavi


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