Leaders of Iranian and Syrian opposition movements meet in Paris
On May 23, 2014, Mrs Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the NCRI (National Council of Resistance of Iran), and Mr Ahmad Jarba, the President of National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary, met in Paris to discuss common goals regarding the struggle of the Syrian and Iranian people for freedom in their respective nations.
Both leaders underscored the detrimental role that the Iranian regime has played in the three-year-long Syrian crisis, which has so far seen the death of 162,000 people, and has spilled more than 3 million refugees into neighbouring countries.
Mrs Rajavi called on the international community to support the Free Syrian Army and the National Coalition for Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces as the legitimate representatives of Syrian people. She also condemned the role of the Iranian regime in the massacre of the Syrian people and its all-out support for the Assad regime.
“Through our struggle,” Rajavi said, “we can rid our countries from dictatorship and the rule of Velayt-e- faqih (absolute rule of clergy) and bring about freedom and democracy for the people of Syria and Iran.”
President Jarba praised the solidarity and fraternity of the Iranian Resistance with the Syrian revolution, and stressed that the Syrian and Iranian people are fighting in a common front against a common enemy for the same objective. Mr. Jarba stipulated that the fate of Syrian people and the Syrian revolution are intertwined with that of the Iranian people and its legitimate representative, the Iranian resistance movement led by Mrs. Rajavi.
Visibly shaken by the meeting and the nascent alliance between the Syrian and Iranian oppositions, the Iranian regime tried to downplay the momentous event through its officials and state-run media and dismiss it as minor and unimportant.
Amir Abdollahian, Iran’s deputy foreign minister, called Mr. Jarba politically weak and inappropriate for the future of Syria, whereas many western states, including the U.S. and members of E.U., have unequivocally voiced their support for the National Syrian Coalition, and have hosted Mr. Jarba as the legitimate representative of the Iranian regime.
The meeting between Rajavi and Jarba took place while the Iranian regime, which has proven to be the staunchest supporter of the Assad regime and has much at stake in the Syrian conflict, has increased its efforts to shore up Bashar al-Assad’s position against the Syrian resistance movement.
While Iran itself is engulfed in an internal economic crisis, the ruling regime refrains from cutting back on the billions of dollars’ worth of military and financial aid that it bestows to the Assad regime, and Iranian authorities have time and again expressed their full support for the Assad regime and have underscored the vital role that Assad plays in the survival of the clerical regime ruling Iran.
Recently, Rahim Safavi, former head of the IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps), delivered a speech in an IRGC center in Isfahan, admitting to the thick Iranian presence in Syria and Lebanon, and the role Iran plays in preventing the toppling of the Assad regime by the Syrian people. Safavi, who now serves as the military advisor of Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Iranian regime, said, “Iran’s influence has been extended from Iran, Iraq and Syria axis to the Mediterranean.”
If the Assad regime fell, he noted, “… it will be the turn of Hezbollah of Lebanon, the Islamic government of Iraq, and finally the Islamic Republic of Iran ….” Safavi’s formulation best explains why the Iranian regime’s intervention in Syria is linked to its own survival.
Earlier, in a meeting with senior officials, Khamenei had emphasized, “Syria is a red line for [the regime]. Therefore, despite difficult and complicated conditions, one must not lose hope and must support Assad to the very end.”
Ghasem Suleimani, head of the IRGC’s Quds-Force (IRGC-QF), told the state-run Hamshahri newspaper, “We will defend Syria to the end.” Suleimani, who is the main coordinator of Iran’s terrorist activities abroad, recently made a secret trip to Syria and met with regime officials.
The meeting between the potential future leaders of Iran and Syria marks a new chapter in the relations of the two people and their resistance movments. Mr Jarba expressed his sympathy for the Iranian people’s struggle for freedom, stipulating that the mullahs ruling Iran enjoy no legitimacy.
He also voiced his support for Iranian opposition members in Camp Liberty, Iraq, and condemned the suppressive measures that have been taken against them by the Iraqi government at the behest of the Iranian regime.
Camp Liberty, located near the Baghdad International Airport, is home to some 2,900 Iranian opposition members affiliated with the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). The conditions of the camp, which is run by the Iraqi government, has been classified by international bodies as synonymous with those of a detention center and in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Mr. Jarba called for the rights of the camp’s residents to be guaranteed by the international community.