02.10. 2012 Iranian Opposition Is Finally Free to Act
Statement by Tunne Kelam, Member of the European Parliament (Estonia)
On September 28, 2012, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the official US Government decision to remove the Peoples’ Mujahhedins of Iran (PMOI) from its list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. As the best organized Iranian opposition movement, the PMOI, unjustly and to the great satisfaction of the Iranian mullahs, has been on this black list for 15 years.
„This is a long-awaited step which follows a similar decision by the European Court of Justice in 2009 and deals a severe blow to the Iranian clerical dictatorship“stated MEP Tunne Kelam, one of the vice-chairmen of the Friends of Free Iran Intergroup (FOFI) in the European Parliament. Over 200 Members of the European Parliament belong to FOFI which has for many years supported the PMOI and its umbrella organization, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in their efforts to present a democratic alternative to the current dictatorship in Iran.
„For the last seven years we have tried to help solve one of the most unnatural international paradoxes,“ added Kelam. According to Kelam, the most effective opposition to the Iranian mullahs was neutralized for a long time by this terrorist designation which was achieved as a result of the intrigues of the Iranian terrorist regime and the short term financial interests of Western nations.
In 1997, President Clinton sought to improve relations with Iran during talks in Washington with President Khatami who was then expected to be a moderate among Iranian leaders. Many former US government officials and observers believe that Iran’s precondition for better relations was the paralyzing of the PMOI activities abroad. Tehran’s achieved its goal when the US labelled the Iranian democratic political opposition a terrorist organization. At the end of the nineties, the UK and most EU nations followed the US example.
Following innumerable court battles and the active involvement of parliamentarians from many nations, the British Appeals court nullified the decision designating PMOI. Then, in 2009, the European Court of Justice rendered a final and irreversible decision on the status of the organization. The decision states that there is no basis for connecting the PMOI, which stands for a democratic, secular and nuclear-free Iran, with terrorism.
„Nevertheless, even after the European Court of Justice decision, many European nations still looked toward Washington while weighing their policy on Iran,“ added Kelam. „It is a real irony that while the nearly whole world continues looking for a way to halt Tehran’s nuclear weapons development and the export of terrorism, most Western nations were literally keeping the hands of the PMOI tied as well as freezing their bank accounts by using the excuse of possible ties to terrorism.“ They chose to ignore the fact the PMOI was the organization which first exposed to the world the secret military nuclear program of the mullahs.
Tunne Kelam believes that the new US decision opens the way for PMOI to resume its place among normal organizations, strengthening its international standing and also its role in Iranian internal politics as the movement offering a „third way“ between a nuclear armed Iran and possible foreign intervention. „PMOI wants the Iranians themselves to bring about regime change from the current aggressive dictatorship, “said Kelam.
Tunne Kelam also expressed the hope that the US decision would help save the lives and bring freedom to 3300 Iranian opposition representatives in Iraq, where the authorities have yielded to Iranian pressure, forcing these brave people to leave their long-time location in Ashraf Camp and exposing them to unbearable conditions as well as the threat of being turned over to the Iranian mullahs.
„Catherine Ashton and UN representatives have recommended that European nations provide temporary asylum to these people,“ concluded Kelam. „So far the US official position has deterred the implementation of this recommendation. Now there is no excuse for governments not to provide assistance in solving this humanitarian crisis. “
September 30, 2012