|Ambassador John Bruton – The only Alternative for Democratic Transformation of Iran|
|Thursday, 09 February 2012 15:55|
HIGGINS: Ambassador to the United States, somebody who has a huge career in politics, elected to our Irish Parliament in 1969, has senior ministerial positions and of course, as I said previously, was Irish Prime Minister from 1994 to 1997 and gave Gay Mitchell, who was there previously and myself, the only flavor that we ever got of seeing the inside of government when Gay was Minister of State with responsibility for European Affairs and I was what you call Chief [0:31] matters on [0:36] the three party very successful rainbow government. It gives me great pleasure to call on John Bruton. [applause]
BRUTON: Thank you very much, Chairman. [applause] Madame Rajavi, ladies and gentlemen, first of all I’d like to say how impressed I am by the very representative and large group of members of the European Parliament who’ve been participating in this session. It’s a clear tribute to the work that you have done yourself, Madame Rajavi, and that your supporters in the European Parliament have done that there’s such interest among members of European Parliament who have very, very busy agendas to be present to support you at this critical time. Secondly, I’d like to pay tribute to you if I may for the extremely skillful and diplomatic and difficult leadership that you’ve shown over the recent months. You have had to ask your own supporters to do things that they did not want to do, that were difficult for them to do, and that I think is a true mark of leadership. And I endorse what Struan has just said about his hopes for the future role that you will play in the country to which you have devoted your life.
I think it is important that we should put what we’re facing here in the broader context. We are all very worried here in Europe about the threat of war in the Gulf, the possibility of a military strike and it’s clear that once warfare is commenced nobody knows where it will end. It ceases to be something within human control once military methods are used to resolve a problem. And there are some who will say there is no alternative but military force to the threat of a nuclear armed Iran. I think what is clear from this meeting is that there is an alternative and that alternative is the democratic transformation of Iran. And if we want to find that alternative, a democratic transformation of Iran, it makes no sense whatsoever for the largest power in the world, the United States, to maintain on a list of terrorist organizations the one organization that is capable of mobilizing a democratic transformation in Iran and giving that country the quality of leadership that it needs in the very difficult challenges it has to undertake. Let us not forget that 80% of the people of Iran are currently living below the poverty line notwithstanding the fact that this is one of the richest countries in the world with huge resources. The current regime in Tehran is not serving the interests of the Iranian people. It is not serving the interests of one of the world’s great civilizations. It is failing its people. So the ingredients are there for a democratic transformation and countries like the United States should not stand in the way of that transformation by maintaining one of the organizations that is capable of bringing that transformation about on an entirely bogus terrorist list.
I think it’s also very important to underline the fact that the Western countries including European countries have been more than willing to support less well organized and less coherent democratic alternatives in other countries such as Libya, such as Egypt, and such as now Syria. Why not do the same in the case of Iran where you have an organization that is coherent and that has the capacity to provide the country with the sort of leadership that it needs? I would also like to underline that with the leadership of President Rajavi the residents in Camp Ashraf have shown a commendable willingness to compromise. In fact, they have gone more than one could have possibly expected them to go, further than one would have expected them to go in reaching out towards a compromise. They are willing to move from a location, Camp Ashraf, of 36 square kilometers with reasonable facilities although these are being constantly restrained by Iraqi actions, to an area of 0.6 kilometers in Camp Liberty, a huge constriction in the space that would be available to them. But they have been willing to do that in a spirit of compromise, in a spirit of finding a solution, finding a transition towards refugee status where they will be capable of being received into other countries in Western Europe and the United States.
To assist them in that process it is vitally important that each member state of the European Union and the United States and Canada and other countries which have been mentioned by you, Chairman, say now, say now that they are willing to accept individual residents from Camp Ashraf into their countries. That would make it much easier for the UNHCR to undertake the process and for the Iraqis to cooperate with the process if they had clear indications in advance that people will be received. We are looking to you, Madame Rajavi, to show leadership when it’s time for Europeans to show leadership themselves. And I believe that the governments of the European Union should show more leadership in this matter of indicating that they are willing to accept the people from Camp Ashraf or from Camp Liberty into their own countries.
To sum up, we need to support the democratic transformation of Iran by removing the PMOI from the terrorist list. We need to support a humanitarian solution to the problems of the residents of Camp Ashraf so that they are accepted as refugees by removing the PMOI from the terrorist list. One solution for two problems. I call on Secretary of State Clinton, who is a woman of great humanity, to act on this matter at the earliest opportunity. Thank you.
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