Alexander Azadgan, Sputnik International, May 11 2019:… Let’s be frank here, France holds one of the worst terrorist groups in modern times. They are called MKO or MEK (Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization). They are based in Paris; they are an anti-Iran terrorist group who have been known to kill American citizens in the 1960s and 1970s in Iran. France has hosted them and to me, it is appalling that Iran is not raising this question during their negotiations. France holds MEK Mujahedin-e Khalq terrorists
“There Is No Room for Wishful Thinking in International Relations” – Prof
On Wednesday, Iran announced its decision to partially discontinue its 2015 nuclear commitments a year after the US unilaterally left the accord. Tehran also threatened to enrich its uranium stockpile closer to weapons-grade levels in 60 days if world powers fail to negotiate new terms for the JCPOA.
Sputnik has discussed the latest developments of the JCPOA with Alexander Azadgan, professor of international policitical economy, a senior geopolitical analyst and Editor-at-Large with UWI (United World International).
Sputnik: Iranian state TV announced on Wednesday that the Islamic Republic would be suspending several commitments within the nuclear deal, adding that Iran is not exiting the agreement. What does this mean for the deal?
Alexander Azadgan: The deal for all means and purposes was really finished and over and done with when Mr. Trump reneged and got the United States out of it. What was left was a hodgepodge of European nations, [faithful] states to Washington. And of course, you have China and Russia on the other hand. Let’s go back and just briefly look at the sacrifices that Iran made in this deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. In July of 2015, Iran had almost 20,000 centrifuges. Under this JCPOA it was limited to 5,060. And this 5,060 are old and outdated centrifuges. Iran’s uranium stockpile was reduced by 98 percent, 300 kilograms only, from 10 tonnes or 10,000 kilograms. And according to the JCPOA, this figure cannot be exceeded; the 300 kilograms cannot be exceeded until 2031. It must also keep the stockpile’s level of enrichment at only 3.67 percent, low enrichment uranium which has a 3 to 4 percent concentration of Uranium-235. And that cannot be used to fuel the nuclear power plants; the weapons-grade uranium is 90 percent enriched. So basically they are telling the Iranians that you cannot even power your nuclear power plant in Bushehr, which was built by the Russians for Iran.
During this entire time, the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano has time after time verified and confirmed to the global community, the international community that Iran abided by all its commitments, in 13 consecutive reports, as a matter of fact. And the IAEA is the only legitimate body for nuclear regulations and inspections, not the US, not Germany, not France, and certainly not the UK.
Sputnik: So, let me get back to the European countries for a while. In your opinion, what agreements would satisfy Iran and prevent a further escalation of the situation?
Alexander Azadgan: After Rouhani got into power, he went to Italy and he went to France. He signed tens of billions dollars of lucrative contracts with the French; they have reneged from all of them. The (deal with) Renault, a strong car company, they reneged out of that. Total, the huge French oil company, reneged out of developing the Iranians’ South Pars natural gas field. They have reneged from everything. So JCPOA has been nothing but just a name, there is no substance to it. And the Europeans are just buying time. They couldn’t even implement their so-called Special [Purpose] Vehicle to bypass Washington’s draconian financial sanctions. They haven’t done a thing, and this was one of the easiest forecasts that my colleagues and I did. The Europeans always, their ships always, cast to the same direction as Washington. Nothing is going to disrupt the transatlantic alliance unless Germany shows more interest in [taking steps] closer to Russia. And we are already seeing that development happen.
Sputnik: You have already mentioned that about France. France has said that there is nothing worse than Iran’s exit from the deal and that the EU wants to keep the deal alive. What steps can we expect from Europe?
Alexander Azadgan: Nothing. We can expect nothing from Europe. And if anything, Europe is going to escalate their rhetoric as France has done during the past couple of days with Iran. Let’s be frank here, France holds one of the worst terrorist groups in modern times. They are called MKO or MEK (Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization). They are based in Paris; they are an anti-Iran terrorist group who have been known to kill American citizens in the 1960s and 1970s in Iran. France has hosted them and to me, it is appalling that Iran is not raising this question during their negotiations.
One of the things that are very suspicious to the Iranian people at least in the wording of the JCPOA — some phrases –they call it the ‘spirit’ of the JCPOA. I think many of us believe that when they refer to the ‘spirit’ of the JCPOA, they are referring to Iran basically ending its revolution as it is: Iran no longer defending the Palestinian people; Iran no longer playing a real leadership role as it has been playing in defeating the terrorist in Iraq and in Syria. For all means and purposes, just sit back and join the trend of globalisation and become another client state for Washington in the region.
Washington is engaging in economic terrorism and it has taken a toll on the Iranians. And you know, that is how they are trying to foment regime change in Iran. There may not be a war, we are not forecasting a war, but they are going to economically crumble Iran and they are going to expect that. When that happens, the Iranian people will rise and have a regime change, very much similar to what is happening in Venezuela right now.
This is why the Venezuelan case is absolutely crucial. They just pick somebody to become the next president; Washington picks somebody to be the next president. They’ve actually declared him the president. If this precedent is set, the entire world, the entire non-aligned movement world is going to be in danger, because they are going to do the same thing in Iran. They are going to pick some lackey over there, some liberal lackey, they are going to announce: “He is the president”. And they are going to try to foment in Iran, as they did in 2009.
Sputnik: Is it possible to influence the USA to restart the negotiations?
Alexander Azadgan: It depends on who gets into power. The Democrats have openly said if they are back in power in 2020, they would want to rejoin the JCPOA. But I don’t think that the Iranian people and the Iranian militia would ever trust Washington again. How could you have international treaties, how could you be part of a multilateral treaty and then another administration comes in and within a few days does away with 20 years of negotiations between Iran and P5+1, right? And Mr. Obama was on record that “if Iran reneges, we know exactly where the crucial sites are so we can bomb them.” Mr. Kerry and Mr. Obama are on record, we can watch these videos on YouTube.
So there was never good faith. And restart what? How can Iran ever trust anybody? Iran is looking around, Iran saw how Trump was wooing the Korean leader. And we saw what happened with that. I mean it is absolutely ridiculous. There is no credibility left in Washington. International law, a big chunk of international law, and international relations per se rely on credibility, on trustability. Washington doesn’t have any of that left. And it is not just the JCPOA they are coming out of. They came out of the Paris Climate Accord and all sorts of other treaties that this man is trying to bring us out of.
Sputnik: What reaction can we expect from the US if the deal between the European countries and Iran is successful?
Alexander Azadgan: The second part of this question, “if the deal between the European countries and Iran is successful”, it is not, it hasn’t been. The UK’s political attitude, populism, is bringing it closer to Washington, which is 3,000 miles away instead of Europe, which is 30 miles away. In France, you have someone – you see what is going on in France with the trend of Mr. Emmanuel Macron. He has that Napoleonic tendency and arrogance. We have known for a long time about Israel’s tremendous influence within French politics. We look at Germany as a neutral power in this case, but they are going to stick with the European Union foreign policy apparatus. Mrs. Mogherini has been constructive in her rhetoric but nothing has come as a result of that rhetoric: nothing but cheap words, no abiding by contracts.
[Many are thinking] that Mr. Trump is surrounded by lunatics. But I think that another mistake, a miscalculation of the liberals in Iran is thinking they can drive a wedge between Mr. Trump and his closest advisors around him. This is another miscalculation that the liberals in Iran are making. Mr Trump cannot do anything right now. It is my personal belief that the neocon (associates) of Mr. Trump are blackmailing him in every which way. If he doesn’t go with war-expanding policies around the world, they are going to reveal even more information about him. And we all know Mr. Trump has quite a lot of skeletons in his closet, many of them of his own making. So he is stuck in this position.
I don’t think he can act independently in this situation. Well, I think the Iranian liberals that are still in power for the next two years I think are miscalculating once again, thinking they can separate Mr. Trump and they can influence the US to restart a negotiation. I don’t think that’s a possibility, I think it’s wishful thinking. And in international relations, there is no room for wishful thinking.
*The views and opinion expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.
Iran: France is still harbouring MEK
Iran Front Page, April 15 2019:… Zarif pointed to the presence of the MKO terrorist group on French soil, and described it as a problem between Tehran and Paris. The Iranian foreign minister also announced the Islamic Republic’s readiness to hold talks and have cooperation with the French officials to solve the problems of the region. Pointing to the dangerous developments that recently unfolded in North Africa, including Libya and Sudan, FM Zarif noted they were the result of the intervention of some Arab countries in the region.
Iran Says Ready to Work with France to Settle Regional Woes
France holds MEK Mujahedin-e Khalq terrorists
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Islamic Republic is prepared to join hands with the French government to resolve regional issues, especially those in Libya and Sudan.
Zarif made the comments in a Sunday meeting with the new ambassador of the French Republic to Tehran, Philippe Thiebaud, during which he presented a copy of his credentials at the beginning of his mission
In the meeting, FM Zarif referred to the historical and long-term relations between the two countries and the positive attitude of the people of Iran towards France, and called for the removal of the barriers in bilateral relations relying on the wisdom and prudence of the two states’ authorities.
Zarif pointed to the presence of the MKO terrorist group on French soil, and described it as a problem between Tehran and Paris.
The Iranian foreign minister also announced the Islamic Republic’s readiness to hold talks and have cooperation with the French officials to solve the problems of the region.
Pointing to the dangerous developments that recently unfolded in North Africa, including Libya and Sudan, FM Zarif noted they were the result of the intervention of some Arab countries in the region.
Elsewhere in his remarks, FM Zarif criticised the recent statement by the Group of Seven and the French ambassador to the United States regarding the peaceful nuclear activities of Iran, saying that such positions would destroy the 2015 deal between Iran and world powers.
For his part, the French ambassador referred to the recent talks between the presidents of Iran and France, underlining that Paris is willing to continue talks with Tehran on regional and international issues.
“The position of France, as underlined in the telephone conversation of the French president with President Rouhani, is to remain in the JCPOA and support and fulfil both sides’ obligations,” he noted.
Thiebaud referred to Iran’s fulfilment of its obligations under the JCPOA, and highlighted the efforts made by France and the role it played in the establishment and introduction of INSTEX, the European special purpose vehicle aimed at facilitating trade with Iran under the US sanctions.
France, Yellow Vests and the MEK (Mojahedin-e-Khalq, Rajavi cult)
France holds MEK Mujahedin-e Khalq terrorists
Robert Fantina, Counter Punch, January 28 2019:…And what of French support for MEK? This follows the hypocrisy usually demonstrated by the United States. France, one of the signatories of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), condemned the U.S. withdrawal from this international agreement, and French government officials are looking for a means to circumvent the threatened U.S. sanctions if its corporations continue to do business with Iran. Yet they support a terrorist organization whose sole purpose is the overthrow of the Iranian government …
France, Yellow Vests and the MEK (Mojahedin-e-Khalq, Rajavi cult)
No one today is surprised at the foreign policy of the United States. War, violation of international law and disdain for human rights are all characteristics of the criminal enterprise known as the U.S. government.
Most of the U.S.’s allies display some or all of these same vices, but some are often considered above such activities. One that is mistakenly believed to be better than the U.S. is France. A look at some of its current policies is instructive.
At present, there are two groups active in France. One is known as the ‘Yellow Vests’ an informal organization that started to protest an increase in fuel taxes, and expanded to oppose a wide range of practices of the government of President Emmanuel Macron that are seen as detrimental to the public. There was no well-established plan and no recognized leader.
The second organization is the MEK (Mujahideen-e Khalq), a terrorist organization that seeks the overthrow of the Iranian government. MEK members have been responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people.
One would think that a responsive government would react positively to protesters opposing government policies. Government officials would look at those policies; acknowledge the problems they cause, and work with the opposition, in this case, the Yellow Vests, to fully understand their concerns. Then they would work to resolve the issues.
One would also think that any reasonable government would condemn a well-organized and well-financed terrorist group, and offer no support to it in any form.
Unfortunately, this is not the case with the government of France. The reverse, unfortunately, is true. The Macron government works tirelessly and violently to end the Yellow Vest protests, while it welcomes and supports the MEK.
Why would this be? The explanation is not difficult to see.
Like most world leaders, Macron isn’t beholden to the people of France, but to keeping the rich where they are, with little or no consideration for those less fortunate. As in the United States, it is the middle class that bears the largest tax burden, while the poor lose entitlements such as assistance with buying food and paying for housing. The tax overhaul that was passed in the United States last year overwhelmingly benefited the rich, at the expense of everyone else. France seems to follow this model.
And what of French support for MEK? This follows the hypocrisy usually demonstrated by the United States. France, one of the signatories of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), condemned the U.S. withdrawal from this international agreement, and French government officials are looking for a means to circumvent the threatened U.S. sanctions if its corporations continue to do business with Iran. Yet they support a terrorist organization whose sole purpose is the overthrow of the Iranian government.
What has Iran done to incur the wrath of France? The government of Iran worked with the Syrian government, one of its close allies, to defeat U.S.-backed rebels who were attempting the overthrow of the Syrian government. Iran also develops defensive weapons to protect its people from a possible attack by the U.S. or apartheid Israel.
Yet Iran hasn’t invaded another country since 1798; it occupies no countries, and its bombs only fell on terrorist-held sites in Syria, at the request of the Syrian government. Why would France object to a nation that honors international alliances, develops an effective defense system, and basically minds its own business on the global stage? And why would France work so diligently to destroy legitimate protests in its own cities?
The United States differs from Iran in many ways. Currently, the U.S. is bombing at least five countries. It continues to support anti-government rebels in Syria. Yet it gives unreserved support to the brutal apartheid Zionist regime, and has close ties with Saudi Arabia which, like Israel, has an abominable human rights record. Since the end of World War II, it is estimated that the U.S. has killed at least 20,000,000 people, by invading or supporting rebels in at least 30 countries. And the rebels it supports always oppose a democratically-elected government, and support a brutal and cruel dictator.
Domestically, the U.S. has the highest number of citizens per capita in its prisons, and hunger and poverty are among the highest for any industrialized nation.
Despite the clown-like Donald Trump inhabiting the White House, much of the world remains intimidated by the U.S.’s reckless use of its power. While Trump is bogged down in a ‘partial’ government shut-down, along with a variety of investigations into his questionable associations with foreign leaders and porn stars, he continues to control the most powerful military system, and the strongest economy, on the planet. France, like most other countries, bows and scrapes to the imperial U.S. master.
Yet all is not well on the French or U.S. fronts. The Yellow Vests aren’t showing any signs of going away anytime soon, and Trump’s bullying isn’t having the impact he would have liked. The fact that several nations are looking for ways around his threatened sanctions is in itself a good sign, one that is indicative of dwindling U.S. power and influence. While France praises the terrorist MEK, it also seeks ways of continuing to trade with Iran.
The United States is a world power in decline, as shown by the mixed signals that France is sending: support for an anti-Iran terrorist group, while also seeking to maintain the JCPOA. The leaders of any declining imperial nation will do all they can to stem the tide of their decreasing power, and this makes such nations even more dangerous, at least in the short-term. France’s government officials should be cautious about which other countries they align their policies with; short-term gains can result in disastrous long-term losses, and France, at this point, appears to be on the wrong side of history. It is hoped that it will soon change course, and seek domestic and international justice.