Panel of experts discusses policy on Iran
On the eve of the Free Iran Gathering, a panel of experts discussed the current policy of the U.S. and Europe toward the Iranian regime and policy recommendations to support the cause of freedom and democracy in Iran.
“President Obama extended an olive branch to Iran and five years later there was a nuclear deal,” said Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield, who moderated the panel. He then asked the participants to weigh in on the challenges of dealing with the Iranian regime and the new policy declared by the U.S., which was summarized by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s 12-point demands toward Tehran.
policy on Iran
“Every one of those 12 demands have to do with Iran’s aggressions at different levels,” Bloomfield said.
“The policy of appeasement at all costs that European governments are carrying on are based on false assumptions,” said former Italian foreign minister Julio Terzi. “[Iranian regime president Hassan] Rouhani is part of the leadership with [Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei and hasn’t changed the [Iranian regime’s] vision of dominating the world of Islam.”
Terzi also stressed that under Rouhani, there has been no modification on the economic structure of Iran. “The regime is focused on strengthening the power of IRGC,” he said.
“Continue to pressure the regime,” Terzi recommended as the solution to dealing with Iran. “It is completely wrong to pursue other ways such as increasing cooperation across the board, such as cultural fields, or intelligence cooperation, as the Italian government is pursuing.”
“No one can genuinely believe there’s a future… with the Iranian regime at the table,” said former U.S. Senator Robert Torricelli. “That simply is not possible.”
Torricelli emphasized that after the events in countries like Syria and Iraq, and the Iranian regime’s involvement in chaos and strife in those countries, it’s genuinely wrong to believe that there’s an alternative to the current tougher policy that the new U.S. administration has adopted.
“Trump has done with Iran, all that we hate to admit that has to happen,” Torricelli said. “If we’re going to deal with the mullahs, it’s only now.”
In response to criticism that Pompeo’s 12-point policy toward Iranian regime is not aimed at reconciliation, Torricelli said, “Iran should not be given a separate deal. This is how you have to act,” underlining that if the Iranian nation was functioning properly, it would be a great regional—if not international—player.
policy on Iran
“We are in a state, even if unacknowledged, of attempting regime change,” Torricelli said, stressing that Europeans and the U.S. must unite to support the Iranian people’s demands for change in their country.
“The regime has to go. Is it going to succeed? Inevitably.”
“If we’re going to have change, it will going to have to come at the top in Iran and it will have to be by the Iranian people,” said former Director of the White House public liaison Linda Chavez, who spoke after Sen. Torricelli. “It’s not a military response. It has to be a democratic revolt by the Iranian people.”
Chavez emphasized that the international community needs to reach out to the Iranian resistance, talk to the PMOI and understand what this organization stands for and the democratic principles that Madame Rajavi stands for. “That to me is the only acceptable future,” she said.
“Under this regime, hundreds of thousands of people have been executed,” said Maria S. Ryan, President and CEO of Cottage Hospital, Woodsville, New Hampshire, shedding light on the suffering of the Iranian people, especially the women.
Ryan expressed hope at the uprisings of the Iranian which started in December and January and has continued since. “They are going to need help,” she said. “We can take a very bold stand and support Madame Rajavi. “
Ryan expressed her support for Mrs. Rajavi’s 10-point plan, stressing that it represents everything that free nations stand for. “We want all those things the Iranian people want,” she said.
“Sanctions are working. We need to take that as a key point of reference,” said former U.S. State Department spokesperson Adam Ereli, stressing that the U.S. needs to double down on sanctions and pressure on the Iranian regime. “That will bring the regime down and create a better future for the people,” he said.
Ambassador Ereli made three key policy recommendations:
Enforcement of sanctions: Cut off Iran from international banking systems such as SWIFT and central banks. Also enforce secondary sanctions on companies that do business with Iran. Cut off Iran from the oil markets as well.
Expand the international coalition and the Middle East coalition to isolate Iran.
Support the people of Iran. “As we see these protests growing in every city and hamlet, a well-timed statement of support by prominent in Iran means a lot,” he said, reminding that had Obama supported the 2009 uprisings in Iran, things would have been much different.
“The 12 points of Secretary Pompeo are brilliant and culminates all the good recommendations given over the years on Iran,” said Paulo Casaca, Executive Director of the South Asia Democratic Forum, adding that reconstructing a common European and American front is vital. “Iran’s GDP does not justify the amount of investment done on the part of Europeans.”