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Election proves failure of appeasement: Iranian resistance leader

ImagePARIS, June 25 (AFP) – The victory of hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran’s presidential election is proof of the failure of western governments’ policy of "appeasement" to the Islamic republic, the president of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) Maryam Rajavi said Saturday.

"Western governments have some soul-searching to do after the clear failure of years of appeasement. They must ask themselves the question what has happened so that now we have extremists in control of all the levers of power," Rajavi said in a telephone interview from her headquarters outside Paris. "The complete consolidation of power in the hands of the most extremist elements is the direct outcome of the policy of appeasement that was supposed to encourage so-called moderates to emerge … There is no longer any excuse to continue that policy. Appeasement must end now," she said.

"Continuing the policy would only encourage the mullahs in their oppression of the Iranian people, their bid to acquire nuclear weapons, and their export of Islamic fundamentalism," she said.

The NCRI is the political arm of the People’s Mujahedeen (MEK), which has been fighting the Islamic government in Tehran since the mid-1980s. The MEK has been branded a terrorist organisation in both the US and EU, and Rajavi is leading the campaign to have the label removed.

Describing Ahmadinejad as a "terrorist, a torturer and an executioner," Rajavi said the former revolutionary guard had been charged with leading a team to assassinate the British author Salman Rushdie after a fatwa was pronounced against him in 1989.

"The coming to power of a terrorist and known assassin shows the world that the long and tortuous story of so-called reform (in Iran) was no more than a journey from Islamic fascism to more Islamic fascism," Rajavi said.

"But the least that can be said of an ultra-conservative like him is that western governments can no longer maintain their illusions about the nature of the mullahs’ regime. The regime cannot change and will not change," she said.

"It is time for western governments to stop siding with the mullahs and to start siding with the resistance," she said.

Ahmadinejad, 49, is mayor of Tehran. He had a convincing victory over former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in Friday’s second round of the presidential race.