by Professor Lord Alton of Liverpool
On June 15, thousands of Iranians marched in the streets of Brussels in support of anti-regime protests in Iran and the popular call for regime change in the country. And yet this was only the first of several marches that will take place in different parts of the world in coming weeks. The next one will be in Washington DC on June 21, followed by others in Berlin, Stockholm and London.
The Iranians conveyed a clear message giving voice to the demand of the heavily oppressed and widely impoverished people of Iran, who are protesting for genuine change and increased rights and freedoms since the beginning of 2018. They declared that Iranians deserve a much better future and competent government – an alternative that is best represented by the country’s pro-democracy Resistance movement and its leader, Maryam Rajavi.
The marchers also rejected the Iranian regime’s regional meddling, hostility and warmongering. Like millions of their countrymen in Iran, they made it clear that they want Iran’s national assets to be spent on the welfare of the people and not on exporting terrorism, supporting the dictator Bashar Assad in Syria, or financing terrorist groups like Hezbullah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen.
Make no mistake neither the activists in Brussels nor the Iranian people want Europe, the US or anybody else to bring them democracy.
They see this mission as their own duty and they claim that they are capable of making it happen with the strong leadership of Maryam Rajavi.
They only expect the EU to stop their appeasement policy because it is tilting the balance of power inside the country to the regime’s favour, resulting in its repressive security forces having greater leeway to continue to assault the Iranian people’s basic rights and dignity. They expect European discussions of Iran’s future to consider the legitimate uprising of the Iranian people and their desire for regime change and quest for a free and democratic Iran.
The regime in Tehran has failed to engage in a fair dialogue with its own people for the past 40 years. It has responded to legitimate popular demands of increased rights with oppression, torture, massacre, arbitrary mass arrests and killings. How can the European Union expect such a regime to engage in logical and honest dialogue with foreign policymakers?
Fortunately, some EU member states have seemingly begun to ask that question on their own. President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel have both stated that they find the regime’s ballistic missile programmes, its meddling in the region, and its human rights violations absolutely unacceptable. And the British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt has called for a strong response to the regime’s malign activities, especially in the wake of recent attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. In this sense, the EU does not appear to represent its individual member states. Far from echoing their statements of condemnation, the international body maintains a soft approach and merely calls for restraint from all parties.
In Brussels on Saturday, thousands of Iranians and their political supporters from Europe demanded that the European Union External Action Office explain why it did not condemn Tehran after four of its terrorists were arrested for planning to bomb the grand gathering of Iranians in Paris last year. The EU should have taken a strong position on the theocratic regime’s terrorist activity after several of its member states, including France, Belgium, Germany, Holland, Austria and Denmark, were either targeted by its operatives or helped to disrupt their plots. In absence of a strong statement on this or on the tanker attacks, the EU cannot be said to be protecting and representing its member states.
The message of Iranians to the EU and all those who are trying to appease the vicious regime is: Wake up! Stop the appeasement policy. Close down Iranian embassies. Expel all their terrorists from European soil. As Mrs. Rajavi said in her video message to the rally in Brussels, “the IRGC and Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) should be blacklisted throughout Europe to make it clear that the mullahs’ malign activities will not be tolerated”.
Today, the Iranian people’s demand for freedom converges with the interest of UK and EU in the region. Thus, we in the UK and the EU must stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the brave people of Iran and their Resistance as it struggles to bring freedom, democracy and justice to their homeland and to get rid of this tyrannical, theocratic regime.
It is time for the UK and the EU to open their eyes to what the Iranians want for their country before it is too late, as they are the ones who will change and shape Iran’s future. They are clearly telling us that they do not want the theocratic regime and they will get rid of it.
And if the UK and the EU abandon the people of Iran now in their difficult quest for freedom now, how will they answer to the Iranians when this regime is gone?
This article first appeared in Euronews View