14 June 2015
Speech by Maryam Rajavi at “Middle East Burning in the flames of Religious Extremism, Iranian Regime’s Role, Roots and Solutions” conference
Dear sisters and brothers,
I welcome you and salute, through you, all the nations of the Middle East and North Africa; from the beloved Palestine, to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Libya, Morocco, Jordan, Algeria, Syria, Iraq Afghanistan and Pakistan.
As Ramadhan approaches, let me congratulate in advance all Muslims on the advent of this month of virtue and emancipation.
I pray to Almighty God for the establishment of peace, brotherhood and freedom in the region, and for our nations and countries to be free of the evil of religious fundamentalism and the velayat-e faqih regime ruling Iran.
We are holding this meeting with tearful eyes and bleeding hearts because of the agony and pain endured by our people in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and the brother nation of Palestine that has been suffering for 70 years.
Today, the most vicious anti-Islamic crimes are committed in the name of Islam, which is a faith of compassion and deliverance: over three decades of daily atrocities and executions in Iran; 300,000 martyrs in Syria; millions of displaced people in Syria and Iraq; suppression of Yazidis and Christians; and the slaughter and ethnic cleansing of Sunnis in Iraq at the hands of the Iranian regime.
The Martyrs Yasser Arafat told me in 1996, “I expected that the fall of the Shah’s regime would accelerate the Palestinian Revolution. But the mullahs, who stole the revolution, were from day one the most serious obstacle against and undermined the Palestinian revolution. And they finally imposed this ominous influence on the nation and the revolution in Palestine. Today, one of the outcomes of the crimes the mullahs have committed in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, was to overshadow the Palestinian revolution and prolonging the pain and suffering of the Palestinian people.
Indeed, the events transpiring in our nations fill our hearts with pain and sadness. But such sadness and pain must be turned into a motivation for a more decisive struggle to attain peace and brotherhood for the region.
We need to glean lessons from the developments of recent years and find a proper solution. I will try to summarize my remarks under five main headings.
First – the shortcomings of the international coalition in Iraq and Syria:
The fact is that the U.S. strategy to confront ISIS in Iraq and Syria has not achieved much after ten months of bombings and formation of a broad coalition because the U.S. overlooks the main source of fundamentalism, which is the Iranian regime. The U.S. has either turned a blind eye to Iranian regime meddling in Iraq and Syria or has accompanied it. It has also remained silent regarding the genocide of Sunnis by Iranian-backed militias and surrogates.
At the same time, the U.S. and the international coalition have not recognized Iraqi Sunnis as a force that is able to and must stand up to ISIS. Instead, they have undertaken a damaging policy that seeks to deploy the Shiite militia against Sunnis.
The fact is that Iran’s ruling regime believes that arming and empowering nationalist and tribal forces in Iraq is a hundred times more dangerous for its existence than ISIS, and therefore it tries to prevent it through all possible means.
The Iranian regime and ISIS both want to establish an Islamic Caliphate and their differences are minor relative to their common goals. While there are no fundamental differences between Shiite and Sunni extremists, Shiite fundamentalists are much more dangerous because they rely on a regional power that is the Iranian regime.
Similarly today, the so-called Shiite militias pose a greater threat to the existence of Iraq and to peace, security and stability in the entire region, because they act as tools in the hands of a regime that is deeply engaged in committing crimes and terrorism in countries around the region.
Secondly, the velayat-e faqih regime is tangled in a whirlpool of three wars in the region.
Iran’s ruling dictatorship is extremely weak despite its hollow show of force. This was very conspicuous over the past year and everyone saw that the regime is engaged in three wars in Syria, Iraq and Yemen while it lacks the necessary economic, social or military capacity. In fact, the Iranian regime’s perceived power is due to the weak policies of the United States and other western countries as well as the countries of the region.
By occupying Iraq and gradually handing it over to the Iranian regime, the U.S. effectively opened the region’s gates to the Iranian regime. For example, it disarmed and consolidated members of the Mojahedin, the main opposition force to the clerical regime and the only organized anti-fundamentalist Muslim movement in Iran. Subsequently, they were handed over to Maliki. Also of great importance was the inaction of these governments vis-à-vis repeated slaughters of the PMOI in Iraq.
As far as it concerns the countries of the region, they committed two miscalculations which greatly aided Tehran’s rulers.
The first was the misconception that the regime’s meddling could be curbed through tolerance and, therefore, they should avoid any provocative action like allying with the Iranian people and resistance.
The second was the misconception that any initiative to confront the Iranian regime must be led by the U.S.
On the one hand, these two mistakes deprived the region of a tangible and indispensable unity of action with the Iranian Resistance. And, on the other hand, they neutralized regional capacities and capabilities for confronting the Iranian regime’s aggressions. This needs to be remedied through solidarity and creating a coalition of all countries in the region against the Iranian regime.
The third topic in this regard is the formation of a coalition of Arab countries.
In the past quarter of a century and especially since 2003, the Iranian regime has not encountered any obstacles from the world or regional powers for its invasions and meddling.
The Arab countries’ initiative in forming a coalition to counter the occupation of Yemen was an obstacle of such magnitude that the regime and its surrogates faced for the first time. This time, Arab countries took the lead themselves instead of looking to the United States to take the initiative. They rose up to confront a danger that could create conditions akin to Syria and Iraq in the whole region. This experience proved that the solution for the regional crisis is exercising firmness against this regime.
This policy, of course, needs to be implemented across the entire region and sustained until the complete expulsion of the regime and its puppets. Pushing the regime back into its own territory will tremendously expedite its downfall.
The fourth topic is the need for a cultural alternative to fundamentalism.
You know that when confronting extremism, one needs to have a religious and cultural antidote in addition to military, intelligence and political measures, because the principles of genuine Islam must be made clear and the fundamentalist exploitation of Islam, especially in Iran, must be exposed in order to remove the basis for extremist infiltration.
You are aware that the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) has tirelessly endeavored over the last half of a century to explain that fundamentalists are the greatest enemies of Islam and their practices and viewpoints have nothing to do with it. The PMOI explained that Islam must be taken back from fundamentalists.
In opposition to the velayat-e faqih regime and Islamic Caliphate, we cite the Quran and say, “There is no compulsion in religion.” As it is said in the Quran, Islam has come to free people of bondage and to break their chains. What the fundamentalists present under the name of Shari’a has no objective but to gain and maintain power through force. The PMOI has had a significant role in dealing an ideological and cultural blow to the velayat-e faqih regime as well as for the regime’s social isolation within Iran as the ringleader of Islamic fundamentalism. This is part of the ultimate solution for the main problem in the region.
And the fifth topic is the strategy of overcoming extremism.
What we say is this: So long as the mullahs rule Iran, Islamic extremism will continue to thrive in various forms and to threaten other countries in the region.
The ultimate solution, therefore, is the overthrow of this regime at the hands of the Iranian people and Resistance. In order to reach this goal, however, countries in the region should take three steps:
First – Toppling the Syrian dictatorship, a goal that today is ever more attainable.
There needs to be a practical initiative in Syria similar to what was done in Yemen. This must be done by arming the Free Syrian Army and creating a no-fly zone. If the United States had adhered to its declared red line on the chemical massacres in Syria, there would not have been such an extent of human and material damage during the Syrian conflict. Now, the Arab countries are in a situation that they can repair this enormous damage.
Second – Eviction of the Iranian regime from Iraq as the greatest blow to fundamentalism.
The Quds Force and Shiite militias and other agents of the clerical regime who had infiltrated deep into the political, military, security and economic apparatus of Iraq under Maliki, must be uprooted and evicted from Iraq.
Third – Another important step is supporting the Iranian Resistance and the main opposition to the clerical regime.
A very important link in this chain is ensuring the protection and rights of the PMOI residing in Camp Liberty.
Events that unfolded in Iraq against PMOI members since 2003 has entirely benefited the Iranian regime and paved the way for extremist infiltration into that country.
As 5.2 million Iraqis announced in their declaration in 2006, and three million Iraqi Shiites declared in their 2008 statement, the PMOI has been the most important political and cultural barrier against the infiltration and expansion of fundamentalism, and has called on everyone to form a united front against the source of terrorism and fundamentalism, the clerical regime of Iran.
Dear sisters and brothers,
Last year, I used this same podium to call for the formation of a united front against the velayat-e faqih regime and fundamentalism in order to rid the region of this ominous phenomenon.
Today, this need is much greater. And we, as representatives of the nations of this region, have a grave responsibility to reinforce and expand this front.
We must not allow any diversion of attentions from the main source of the crisis in the region, which is the Iranian regime.
Today, the clerical regime is engulfed in deep crises. In fact, the people of Iran demand regime change.
The likes of Rouhani who claim to be “moderates” within the regime are in fact no different from other factions when it comes to social repression, export of terrorism, and the rule of the velayat-e faqih.
I must say that saving the nations of our region from these dreadful and gloomy conditions is possible and completely conceivable.
The time has come for all nations and countries in the region to join hands with the Iranian people and Resistance and to rise up to end the catastrophe that has afflicted the Middle East and Iran.
Victory is ours.