Ambassador Terzi opened the session by speaking about how Tehran has always acted as the guardian of the Shiite community in Middle Eastern countries such as Lebanon, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria and Iraq since the Khomeini revolution. He continued that Tehran has established a strong network of Shiite militias including the Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, the Badr Organization, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, Kata’ib Hezbollah and the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq.
He said that the Iranian regime, while controlling the Shiite clerical establishment and financial networks throughout the Middle East, and even in Europe and in Latin America, has also befriended Sunni actors in order to reinforce its regional status. He reinforced that the Iranian regime has now developed strong ties with Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza to make inroads into Sunni Sudan, with the aim of delivering Iranian weapons to Gaza.
Speaking about the current war against ISIS, he said we “should not deflect our attention from the Iranian priorities”. Teheran’s power grab in Iraq has assured the Shia political influence there, and also the role of Shiite militias in the war against the Islamic State. He gave the example of the campaign in the Anbar Province which was supposed to be Prime Minister al-Abadi’s show. His army, together with local Sunni tribes, and the support of U.S. air power, were expected to easily destroy ISIS presence without any help from Iran and Shiite militias. However, it is the opposite that is happening. After losing Ramadi to the Islamic State, the Iraqi Government has given a free hand to Iran and its proxies so that they can repeat the sectarian atrocities already witnessed in other provinces.
Many journalists had questions for Ambassador Terzi, asking for his views and perspective on the situation on the Middle East. One journalist asked about Tehran’s meddling in other countries in the region, which Terzi called a “strategic undertaking” which has the aim of compensating for shortcomings and pitfalls at home. He said that the popularity of Iranian clerics’ is ebbing at home, therefore Tehran is finding itself increasingly resorting to outside intervention. Especially when faced with more of the population – the youth in particular – becoming uneasy and demanding change. He said however, that this has put Tehran into a strategic quicksand because any retreat will be a huge and unmistakable sign of weakness and failure. Terzi said that this situation is very similar to the nuclear situation where Tehran has reached an impasse on the regional arena.
When questioned about the aims and outcomes of the June 13th gathering in Paris, Terzi said that moderate Muslim forces like the Iranian resistance led by Mrs. Rajavi advocate a tolerant and antifundamentalist Islam. He said that the West should decisively support forces of moderation in the Islamic world like the Iranian resistance.
When asked if the atrocities in Iran can be compared to Nazi Germany, Terzi said that it is very hard to compare the two situations, but it is nevertheless obvious that there are several similarities to be drawn. Most evidently, the breech of human rights in both situations is unacceptable, inhumane and atrocious. Terzi called on the UN to examine the situation in Iran as the number of executions, which is on the rise, is not acceptable. He also said that he was disappointed that European countries are not talking about the breech of human rights in Iran. He stated: “We cannot allow torture and executions.”