Today, July 8th 2016, three conferences were held in Paris . The third conference entitled “Developments in Iran and the Role of Opposition”.
the Moderator was Lincoln Bloomfield and Panelists were Kenneth Blackwell, former Mayor of Cincinnati and a former Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commission, Linda Chavez, Founder and Chairwoman of the Center for Equal Opportunity, author, Fox News political analyst, Howard Dean, Chairman of Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2009, Democratic Party’s Presidential nominee in 2004, Struan Stevenson, President of the European Iraqi Freedom Association, former President of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Iraq
Excerpts from the Conference:
Bloomfield: It seems that Iran with 79 million population would benefit from lifting of sanctions. Practically, however, repression, protests, poverty have grown. Last the US delegation in this gathering proposed opening dialogue with the Iranian opposition.
What is your view on the role of the opposition in Iran?
Linda Chavez: One of the distressing things to me about the agreement of US with Iran was the human rights conditions as a factor. Even the condition of American captives in Iran were not taken into consideration in dealing with the Iranian regime. In the treatment of residents of Camp Liberty, we have concern about their safety. We’ve not seen US moving quickly. The conditions in Iran are not improving even under so-called reformers. It is a period of unprecedented executions in recent times, and persecution of women and denial of equal rights. We cannot be content that we have brought about change so long as the regime does not respect rights of religious minorities.
Howard Dean, Chairman of Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2009, Democratic Party’s Presidential nominee in 2004: Human rights should be an incredible part of our foreign policy. We need to save the lives of Camp Liberty residents, quickly. I think Hillary is going to be a lot tougher than President Obama. I think the Iranian regime is doomed. You can’t run an economy when it is corrupt. Centralized economies don’t work. Corrupt economies don’t work. And that’s what the Iranian economy is. You can repress people only so long. I’d like to see human rights higher on our list. When I first came to Paris, seven years ago, I was pleased to read the ten-point plan. The extraordinary ten-point plan could be the constitution of any country. I think the US should talk to anybody with the ten-point plan I saw seven years ago. The current regime in Iran stands for anything that is bad for humanity.
Kenneth Blackwell, former Mayor of Cincinnati and a former Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commission: The Obama Admin has been at minimum accommodating to the interests of the Iranian regime. I have engaged in three human rights movements in my life; the American Civil Rights movement. The efforts to give voice to Soviet dissidents, and in South Africa, when we sided with victims of apartheid. In Iran, the same pattern of human rights abuses, oppressing religious minorities are still in place. It would say that we need the same consensus and bipartisanship in dealing with Iran. NGOs are candle lighters around the world who shed light on human rights abuses in Iran. Our foreign policy needs to give voice to people inside Iran and outside to the diaspora. We should shed light on the legacy of Camp Liberty. It is time to light our candles and punch holes in the darkness of our times and of Iran. We are all heirs to the worthiness of our dignity - Martin Luther King. Each one of us on this planet ought to recognize others’ humanity and have our own recognized.
Struan Stevenson, Pres. of the European Iraqi Freedom Association, former President of the EP Delegation for Relations with Iraq: Maliki was a corrupt dictator who robbed his own people billions of dollars, funded by Iran, and encouraging sectarian war. The Obama Admin is in total alliance with the Iranian regime. Qassem Soleimani is leading at least 60 Shiite militia groups in Iraq wiping the Sunni population. These militias take over cities from Daesh, kill all the men and leave a small number of elderly women and children. The Iranian regime funds the Hezbollah in Lebanon and Houthi in Yemen. It is disgraceful that the West thinks they are cooperating in fighting Daesh but are actually helping genocide. Why is Mrs. Rajavi not invited to address members of the Houses of Parliament? I share with rest of my colleagues that no dictatorial regime would last forever. We need in the West to recognize the opposition that is willing to take over the country from that evil regime. We need a proper government working on the basis of democracy, human rights, gender equality , …
Bloomfield: If all of those residents could get out safely now, tell us what you want your colleagues to know about the Iranian Resistance
Chavez: I think the PMOI needs to have some more legitimacy, by allowing her to come to the United States
Howard Dean: The focus on hostages in Liberty is important because it has forced our admin to face the true nature of Iranian regime. As soon as we get everyone out, we need to expand education of people about what’s going on. We have to make an effort to elevate the ten principles to help people understand them. We need to keep the struggle up and educate members of the Congress
Ken Blackwell: It is going to take an effective, quick evacuation. Camp Liberty is a significant signal to people who want to resist terrorism
Stevenson: For 11 days, in 50 degrees C, Camp Liberty residents are denied food, fuel and medicine. The residents’ logistical trucks are turned back but flatbed trucks are with missiles are allowed in. We have to thank Albania for allowing Camp Liberty residents to their country
HowardDean: Iranian regime stands for everything evil & bad in humanity. Maryam Rajavi's 10 pt plan is the model for a Free Iran.
Stevenson: The 100,000 expats coming to the meeting in Paris, think of their extended families in Iran. People who support the PMOI are doing so at great risk of their lives
Howard Dean: There is a group in the US that is openly financed by the Iranian government that tries to undermine the PMOI. The Resistance has so much support that enables them to have accurate intelligence reports even before the CIA. I think this organization is not understood well by politicians. Policymakers are grossly underestimating the power of this resistance movement
Blackwell: PMOI is barked at by the Iranian regime because they are at the epicenter of opposition to the regime.
Bloomfield: I would ask the admin to do a counter-intelligence research on the Iranian regime’s influence in the US
Parviz Khazaii: The Iranian Resistance has prevented the regime from becoming an Iranian Soviet Union by invading regional countries.The Iranian Resistance has prevented the regime from making the bomb
Linda Chavez: I would like to see all PMOI members out of Camp Liberty within the next year.I would like to see PMOI treated as a popular opposition and its efforts encouraged over the next year
Howard Dean: I would like to see Khamenei and Rouhani prosecuted for their crimes
Stevenson: I would like to see the statue of Maryam Rajavi outside our parliament within the next year