The Iranian nuclear programme underwent another major development a couple of weeks ago when chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani was dismissed, and Saeed Jalili, a protégé of radical hardliner President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was appointed as his successor. All indications point to a hardening in the regime’s stance over its nuclear aspirations and its desire to forge ahead with its plans for acquiring nuclear weapons.
Only days earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin had visited Iran in what many saw as a last ditch attempt to slow down the nuclear programme. Tactical but sharp differences had arisen between Larijani and Ahmadinejad when they made contradictory statements over whether Putin had come with new incentives or with solutions for Iran’s nuclear standoff with the international community. Thanks to the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI), which first revealed the existence of the regime’s nuclear programme, the world is now fully apprised of the mullahs’ ultimate ambition of obtaining nuclear weapons.
Domestically, Ahmadinejad’s constant calls for Iran to become a nuclear power increasingly fall on deaf ears. In truth, the Iranian people are far more interested in being paid their salaries in order to be able to feed their families. Unfortunately, the scores of public hangings in Iran, as well as the crackdown on students, trade unionists and intellectuals are perceptibly under-reported in the Western media and the concerns of the people do not receive the prominence they deserve. Countering the regime’s strap-line that “Nuclear energy is our indisputable right”, people from all walks of life who take part in various anti-government demonstrations are frequently chanting “Basic living conditions are our indisputable right” or “Democracy and freedom are our indisputable right”. Indeed, the mullahs fear domestic opposition more than anything else and that is exactly why we are witnessing more executions in public squares and the continuation of brutal punishments such as the public stoning of women and the amputation of limbs.
Furthermore, the mullahs’ regime is trying hard to follow Khomeini’s doctrine of exporting its own brand of Islamic fundamentalism and it clearly seeks to create a staging ground in Iraq for further domination in the Middle East. The evidence of the regime’s involvement in that country is now so overwhelming that even the most supportive of analysts can no longer dispute it.
Ahmadinejad’s vigorously aggressive policy in Iraq is now mainly focused on destabilising the country through the physical elimination of secular, democratic and nationalist Iraqi forces whilst at the same time manipulating his own proxies into important positions to advance his own goals.
When Ahmadinejad was appointed as the mullahs’ President in mid-2005, the NCRI’s President-elect Mrs. Maryam Rajavi described the appointment as a declaration of war by the regime on the Iranian people and the international community at large. Unfortunately, the appeasement policies pursued by the West, which have been variously described as “critical dialogue” or “constructive engagement” or “nuclear negotiations” has led to the current state of affairs.
The EU pinned all its hopes on an impossible mission, to reform the mullahs’ regime by hoping that a moderate would emerge within that regime and they gave the mullahs concession after concession to achieve that objective which has clearly failed. Sadly, the principles which Europe prides itself on, including universality of human rights, freedom of speech and opinion, and right to resist fascism and dictatorship were all sacrificed to that objective and as a result they proscribed the main Iranian opposition movement, the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI) and listed it as a terrorist organisation. Various EU officials, including our own Home Secretary, Jack Straw, openly admitted that this designation was granted purely for political reasons. Tragically it turned out to be one of the most important concessions made to the mullahs.
Those EU officials who still insist on giving more time to the regime whilst maintaining the status quo are not surprisingly the self same people who insist on keeping the PMOI on the proscribed list despite the December 2006 ruling of the European Court of Justice which annulled the ban. It is widely accepted that it was Britain that first persuaded the EU to blacklist the PMOI. Unfortunately our government thereafter also convinced the EU to defy the European Court ruling and we should all feel shamed by that action.
Here in the UK, an appeal tribunal will soon announce its verdict on whether the government’s decision to ban the PMOI was illegal. When confronted with the results of their appeasement policy, EU officials, who have defended it for many years, remain mute. In fact, their actions remind us of an Old Persian proverb which states that when an individual is faced with a wild wolf but doesn’t have the courage to fight it, he would say “God willing, it is a cat”. Lets be clear, what we now see in Iran is not a cat.
Our government must have the courage to admit that the appeasement policy has failed miserably and as a first step towards a new approach should recognise the aspirations of a great nation for freedom and democracy and reverse the concessions we gave to the mullahs by removing the PMOI from the terror list.
After all, internal dissent has brought about the downfall of many corrupt regimes in the past. To hamper those who wish to achieve internal regime change in Iran seems not only foolish, but also to be in direct conflict with our national interest. And that simply does not make sense.