Mohsen Makhmalbaf's address to the European Parliament on Wednesday 8 July 2009

Posted in Iran | 13-Jul-09 | Source: European Parliament

Mohsen Makhmalbaf

Ladies and Gentlemen; honourable members of parliament

I am here - as an Iranian, as an artist and as a representative of the protestors who are being killed in Iran for the sake of democracy - to ask you the following questions: "If the passengers of an aircraft were taken hostage by a hijacker, would the governments of the world side with the hijacker or with the passengers? Would the nations and governments of the world declare that the hijacking is an internal affair between the passengers and the hijacker, or take steps to rescue the passengers?"

We, the Iranian nation, have been taken hostage by the government of Ahmadinejad and Khamenei. We call on you, the nations and governments of the world, not to give official recognition to the hostage-takers. Ahmadinejad is not only staging a coup against democracy in Iran; as his next step, he will endanger world peace. If you forgive him for killing Iranian protestors today, what will you do when he starts killing people in other countries tomorrow?

Do not imagine that the Iranian people's movement has ended with the repression, killings, detentions and torture. Our movement against the coup d'etat government has become an everyday part of our lives. You will see that, through civil disobedience and non-violent struggle, the Iranian people will ultimately topple this government.

You know that:
Dozens of people have been killed. Thousands have been detained and tortured. And many reporters - even foreign reporters - have been arrested. Political figures who have objected to election rigging and dictatorship have been arrested. Even the local employees of embassies in Tehran have not been spared and have been arrested; although they were performing the same jobs that people do in the Islamic Republic of Iran's embassies abroad. And anyone who speaks to any independent news source is at risk.

Iranians have the right to look at the world and to view as their enemy anyone who helps this coup d'etat government and helps perpetuate it. The people of Iran must not be sacrificed for their oil. It must not be that, as long as there is oil and as long as there is a need for oil consumption in the world, other governments give themselves the right to negotiate and strike deals with those who hold the key to the flow of oil.

The rage that the last generation of Iranians felt towards the United States and Britain was because of the coup that they staged in Iran in 1953 against the popular government of Dr Mohammad Mossadegh, and because of their cooperation with the Shah's post-coup government. For more than half a century, this rage prevented Iranians from being friends with the West. It also allowed a demagogic State to rule over the people by exploiting this rage, thereby depriving the civilized world of a highly-cultured ally. Let us not behave in a way that will make the next generation of Iranians view Europe in the same light. You must convey the message to the people of Iran that today's world is a humane world, in which everyone is aware of other people's suffering and nothing can make them indifferent to this suffering.

The Iranian people will deal with the coup-makers themselves. They do not expect weapons or financial assistance from European governments. But expecting Europeans not to view the coup d'etat government as a friend and a partner is surely not an unusual expectation.

Iranians were wearing green wristbands and they only had one demand: announce who we voted for; not who you wanted us to vote for. This has been enough to earn them imprisonment and torture. Are you, the European people, going to remain calm and silent, so that, thanks to the revenue it continues to earn from oil, the Ahmadinejad government can continue to torture people? Do you want it to train terrorists for the entire region and threaten others with missiles?

Finally, let me summarize what Mr Mir-Hossein Musavi has been saying in the statements he has published:

"The declared election results are astounding. The people who voted know that they did not vote for Ahmadinejad. The Iranian people are vigilant and they will not submit to those who come to power by rigging elections."

"First, they used the government's endless resources to campaign for Ahmadinejad. Then, they turned the election results upside-down with extensive rigging."

Then, "they set upon the members of my campaign headquarters with electric batons".

Then, "instead of authorizing marches and rallies by the people who do not consider Ahmadinejad their legitimate president, they militarized the country's atmosphere and, as if they were taking part in a coup, they shot and killed some people in the streets in the most heartrending way. They wounded, detained and tortured thousands of people. And they did not even inform the families of those who had been martyred, wounded or detained of the fate of their loved ones."

And "they blocked all the media via which I could communicate with society".

And "even if anyone just wrapped a strip of green cloth around their wrist, they were beaten up".

"They asked me to forego my personal right. The election is not a personal issue and I cannot strike a deal or back down on the rights of the people and their trampled votes."

"What has happened is more than the imposition of an unwanted government on a nation. It is the imposition of a new kind of political life on the country. In short, Iran's situation today is as follows:
"People's votes have been stolen.
"There is a government without political legitimacy.
"The people have been ill-treated and insulted.
"Young people have been wounded, detained and tortured.
"Blood has been spilt.
"Pens have been broken.
"Newspapers have been shut.
"There is the kind of security atmosphere that follows a coup.
"People feel extensively and bitterly mistrustful."

We declare that:
1. "Most of Iranian society, of which I, Mir-Hossein Musavi am a member, do not accept the Iranian government's political legitimacy." And we call on the people of the world to join the Iranian people in not giving official recognition to the illegitimate Ahmadinejad government.

2. "We want to stop the military and security measures of the illegitimate government of Iran." And we call on the world's free nations and governments and political organizations and defenders of human rights to support the people of Iran in order to prevent the killing, detention and torture of a people who are being crushed because they wanted to determine their own fate via the ballot box.