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JOSE LUIS RODRIGUEZ ZAPATERO: FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE IN IRAN Paris, 22 June 2013

JOSE LUIS RODRIGUEZ ZAPATERO “FORWARD TO FREEDOM” ANNUAL CONFERENCE FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE IN IRAN Paris, 22 June 2013

Convention for Democracy in Iran, Paris, June 22, 2013 - It’s an honour for me to share this moment today with the Iranian Community outside Iran. I am here to share your aspirations, your dreams and your goals. The Persian people deserve no less.

The future of democracy in Iran is in the hands of the Iranian people. And that means, of course, that it’s in your hands. Your strength and conviction are the key to hope.

 

And I want to express my deepest concern for the lack of security in Camp Liberty and I support the residents’ demand to return to Camp Ashraf.

 

Democracy, Freedom, Human Rights, the Rule of Law and Peace. These great concepts symbolize the most advanced state of human civilization.

There are no excuses. Neither tradition, nor religious faith, nor internal security, nor the mistakes of other nations, can justify discrimination against human beings or the limitation of their rights and liberties.

Democracy is not a Western invention. It’s what humankind demands. There are different cultures, diverse religions, distinct philosophies... But we must always promote living together without dominations or exclusion.

Full democracy is never an easy road and sometimes it’s long and arduous.

Democracy is a relatively recent political form. Few nations enjoyed it a century ago. Even in Europe, this system of good government has only existed in some countries in the last few decades.

But there are reasons to think that democratic ideals are finally prevailing.

Just half a century ago, democratic countries were a minority. Today they are the majority.

We have seen the arrival of freedom to Eastern Europe, the consolidation of democracies in Latin America and, recently, a wave of political transformation and democratisation in the Muslim world.

Countries like Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and others are searching for their own destiny, with the International Community’s support. And that destiny can be no other than consolidating their young democracies.

We must insist that democracy include all ideas, all religions and all identities, for living together as equals. If one religion, ideology or nationality wants to impose its own rules, it will end up excluding democracy, making human rights impracticable.

Let me give you a decisive example.

The domination and discrimination against women is the worst expression of absolutism. Even today, millions of women suffer this intolerable domination. Nothing can justify women’s submission. No God, no beliefs, no faith. Nothing.

Therefore, to defend human rights and to advance democracy in the East and in the West, in the North and in the South, we must start working for women or, more to the point, with women.

The Spring won’t arrive until all women have a part in History.

That is why the important role that women have in the Iranian Opposition is a sign of your movement’s strength. This is really encouraging.

Congratulations Maryam Rajavi, for leading this movement.

Democracy and Human Rights create the most suitable societies for peace. And peace is the task ahead. The Twenty-First century must learn the lessons of the Twentieth century. Working for peace means reducing the space for fanaticism. The Middle East needs PEACE, not nuclear programs.

We need solid alliances so that in countries like Syria cruelty and terror will come to an end.

Ladies and Gentlemen, there are some fundamental certainties:

Faith in freedom, in human beings’ dignity, in fundamental rights and in our basic equality.

These certainties belong to all cultures, all religions and all identities. Working for them is the best option we have... Because History still has a large debt with us: the triumph of liberty for the great majority of men and women.

And if there is one place where that historical debt of Freedom and Democracy is long overdue, it is the ancient land of Persia.

Thank you very much, I wish you all the best.


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Iraqi forces attack Camp Ashraf