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Belgiens tidigare premiärminister Verhofstadt efterlyser en ny djärv EU-strategi mot Iran

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In a powerful speech at the Free Iran 2024 World Summit, former Belgian Prime Minister and Member of the European Parliament Guy Verhofstadt urged the European Union to adopt a drastically new approach towards Iran. He called for an end to the EU’s failed strategy of appeasement and complacency towards the Iranian regime.

I ett tal till den tillträdande presidenten för Irans nationella motståndsråd (NCRI), Maryam Rajavi, sa Guy Verhofstadt: 

I will take this opportunity, Mrs Rajavi, to give a clear message today. A clear message to the new leadership of the European Union. As you know, after the European elections, on Thursday, last Thursday, a new leader of the European Union was appointed. There is also a new High Representative, Mrs Kaya Kallas. And I want to use this platform, this conference, together with you, to make a really urgent appeal to her and to the new leadership of Europe to drastically change the European Union’s strategy towards Iran and the mullahs in Iran.

The European Union’s strategy towards Iran over the last decade has been a failure. It has been a strategy of appeasement. It has been an attitude of complacency. And it has failed. Because the mullahs’ regime is actually continuing its evil activities, its criminal activities, not only against its own people, but also against the world. And the list of their atrocities, dear friends, is long today.

Det finns förtryck, särskilt av kvinnor. Varför kvinnor? Eftersom kvinnor i Iran är ryggraden i det demokratiska motståndet i Iran. Det förekommer brutala avrättningar, särskilt av politiska oliktänkande. Nästan varje dag sker en avrättning av en modig iransk man eller kvinna.

We have seen a steady proliferation of nuclear weapons under the mullahs’ regime. And they are almost ready to have a nuclear bomb. And there is, let us not forget, the destabilisation of the whole Middle East. There is not a single terrorist organisation in that part of the world that is not being supported and financed by Iran today. That is the reality.

Annons

Be it Hamas, be it Hezbollah, be it the Houthis. And finally, it is the mullahs’ regime that has also begun to supply weapons to Russia in its brutal invasion of Ukraine. Now, such a regime, which oppresses women, which executes dissidents on a daily basis, which is responsible for nuclear proliferation, which destabilises the whole Middle East, and at the same time fuels another autocratic regime, because Russia no longer has any legitimacy. And it never had any legitimacy.

Så min vädjan i dag till ledarna för de 27 länderna i Europeiska unionen, och i synnerhet till den nya ledning som har valts och till den nya höga representanten, är att vi behöver en ny strategi. En ny strategi som är djärvare, som är mer modig, som är mer effektiv. Jag skulle faktiskt säga att vi behöver en strategi som är lika djärv och modig som det iranska folket själva. Det är vad vi behöver.

And that means, dear friends, a strategy based on what I call four different pillars. The first pillar is the evidence itself. And it’s cruel that our political leaders are unable to provide this immediately. And that is the recognition of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organisation. What are they waiting for?

Secondly, the second part of this strategy must stop, which is to try, as some are doing, to revive the nuclear deal. Such a deal leads nowhere. The Iranian mullahs’ regime cannot be trusted. So no deal on this issue.

Thirdly, we need a new strategy, especially in the European Union, to free the hostages. And why? Because what is happening now is outrageous. Individual deals by countries with the regime. And instead of that, we need a more collective approach, by launching a coherent sanctions strategy against the whole regime, by increasing the sanctions package if every month the hostages are not released. And it is really scandalous that today the European Union is only able to sanction a few hundred, no more, responsible people within the mullahs’ regime.

Och slutligen, fru Rajavi, den fjärde pelaren i en sådan ny strategi, förhoppningsvis för Europeiska unionen och förhoppningsvis för hela världen, måste vara erkännandet och samarbetet med en demokratisk opposition som ses som det enda alternativet, särskilt NCRI, dear friends. It’s outrageous that we are unable to do this because the current regime has no legitimacy.

You talked about the 12 per cent who took part in the presidential elections. Let me put it another way: 88 per cent didn’t participate and boycotted the elections in Iran. And that’s more or less the same as the last parliamentary elections, because there, if I’m not mistaken, only seven percent participated. So that means 93 per cent boycotted the election. How can you have any legitimacy in our world when 93 per cent of your people are boycotting your regime?

That’s the reality on the ground. And that means we, the Western leaders, have to stop pretending that the mullahs are the normal representatives of the brave Iranian people. They are not and will never be the representatives of the Iranian people.

So, Mrs Rajavi, it’s time for the Western leaders to start engaging with you, with the NCRI, with all the democratic forces in Iran, and to start preparing for the future. Because there is a future for Iran, but it will be a future without the Shah, without the Mullah.

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