|Dr. Gunter Verheugen - Respect all human rights, including property rights of residents|
|Sunday, 08 January 2012 20:23|
In the international conference held in Paris on Friday, December 6 2012 in defense of Ashraf Dr. Gunter Verheugen, who is currently a professor at the European University Viadrina campus in Frankfurt and was formerly a European commissioner made the following remarks:
Madam President and the distinguished participants, dear guests, I want to make only two points this afternoon from a strictly European perspective. I think there are two issues here at stake. The first is why we as Europeans should not, should not accept the situation that we have on the ground in Iraq after the 21st of December and why we must make it crystal clear that a Memorandum of Understanding does not satisfy us and is not acceptable as it stands today. And the second point is that we as Europeans need finally to understand the real nature of the Mullah regime as the biggest single threat to peace, not only in the Middle East, but for the whole world. And that we have to make a choice whether to cooperate with those people in Tehran or whether to support those who are opponents and want to create a democratic and civilized Iran. It is true that the United States government has very special responsibility here, but knowing from long experience I say that American policy makers do not want to listen to lectures from, from Europeans. And in this special case, I must say, no lectures are needed. Absolutely not.
We have here such an impressive group of outstanding, of outstanding Americans and if a person would have told me two years ago that I would see a coalition that goes from Howard Dean to John (Bolton), I would say this is a little bit, it’s a little bit, it’s a little bit unlikely. But it shows, it shows [applause] but it shows that this is a question of personal, of personal character determination. So I’m actually convinced that this group of outstanding Americans is powerful and convincing enough to succeed and to change the American policy. So I leave that to you. You will do that and I can concentrate on what we have to do on the European side.
Some people in European capitals call it a success that as a result of strong international pressure organized and orchestrated by Madam Rajavi the deadline was lifted. I would be careful with the use of the term success because as long as we do not know whether the safety and security of the residents of Camp Ashraf is really, is really guaranteed, lifting the deadline means only that a killing is postponed. And that risk is still there. I do not believe in the good intention of the government of Iraq. This government cannot be trusted. We have enough evidence on the ground and we must not only refer to the massacres, which we have already seen. The actions of this government during the last months showed to everybody that this government does not want to protect the residents of Camp Ashraf, but what this government wants is to put them in jail and to have them under control. That is what they want. We must now, that is my conviction, keep the momentum that was achieved. There is a momentum that is true. At least we could buy some time. And therefore, I fully support what was said here already, that a Memorandum of Understanding must be renegotiated and that it must contain the most important elements, safe and, safety for all the people from Camp Ashraf moving to Camp Liberty, safe transportation; safety and protection in the camp itself and no harassments. No police presence within the fenced part of the, of the camp. Respect of all the human rights, including property rights of the residents. And of course, creating decent living conditions according to international standards. I feel it is important here to organize an international conference that would discuss and negotiate and would come to a binding agreement. It has to be an internationally binding agreement that can be enforced if there is a need to do it.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is an interesting question why the member states of the European Union and the are so reluctant to take action, why they are more or less sitting on the fence. I know that there are some governments who wanted to take actions, but then also there are some governments who make the point that we should take new actions which could negatively affect our relationship with Iraq. This is something that must be discussed in an open and transparent discussion. As far as Iran is concerned, Europeans are now indeed discussing sanctions. I must say that I fail to see the logic here. If you feel a need to impose sanctions on Iran, sanctions on that regime, how can you support the same regime if it tries to get rid of its opponents? Because exactly what happens, if you do not stop them to get rid of the opponents, you support them. And how can you support, how can you not protect those who are already set to be the next victims of these bullies? I know that people in different foreign offices stick to a certain way of [inaudible] which does not understand the real strategic situation here. It is a misunderstanding that you can discuss with and talk to such a regime. The only thing you can do is to stop it before it is too late and the best way to stop it is to give full support and protection to those who want to get rid of it and who want to create a free, modern, and a civilized state of Iran instead of the regime that we have. Thank you. [applause]
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