By Iran Probe staff
Saturday, 18 March 2017
French President Francoise Hollande presented Gilbert Mitterand the Order of Légion d'Honneur, the highest decoration in France in gratitude for 44 years his services as mayor, member of the National Assembly, provincial council advisor and President of the France Liberte – Danielle Mitterand Foundation. Hollande was the first president in 24 years to visit the city of Libourne in southern France to present this honor, French media reported. The last president to visit this city was the late Francoise Mitterand.
Prior to receiving the Légion d'Honneur, Gilbert Mitterand had travelled to Albania to visit the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) who are old friends of the Mitterand family. During this visit Albanian media interviewed Mitterand, including the Gazeta Shqiptare, a renowned newspaper in this country.
Gazeta Shqiptare, 5 March 2017
Son of François Mitterrand, the former President of France for 14 years, visited Albania for the first time these days. In an exclusive interview with the Shqiptare newspaper, Gilbert Mitterrand, who was an MP for two terms in the French Parliament, said Albania has a pleasant and hospitable people.
He is president of the Foundation "France Liberte", a foundation established many years ago by his mother, Danielle Mitterrand, with a mission to protect human rights throughout the world, especially the PMO/MEK case.
Gilbert Mitterrand raises Albania for housing the PMOI/MEK, calling them "his friends".
In response to a question about his acquaintance with the PMOI/MEK he said, “I personally came to know them 10 years ago. However, my mother knew Iranian Resistance President Maryam Rajavi very well. My mother and Maryam Rajavi were very close friends. I had this opportunity to meet Maryam Rajavi in our home in the foundation.”
In response to a question about France Liberte Foundation focusing on protecting the PMOI/MEK, he said, “The PMOI/MEK and people in similar conditions. It has been 35 years since France gave the PMOI/MEK asylum in July. When President Mitterrand was elected head of state, he gave asylum to many people from Iran, victims of the regime’s persecution. Iran's center of resistance is located in Paris. Similar to General De Gaulle, who received asylum in Europe.”
“… During these years they have been under numerous tragic attacks. The goal of this foundation is to protect the Iranian people in the face of different attacks. In Iraq, however, protecting them was very difficult. International law is not respected there…” he said about the pressures imposed on the PMOI/MEK in Iraq and the attacks staged against them. He added his mother and the foundation condemned those attacks even at a time when French policy was in agreement with the Iranian regime.
“I visited different places where the PMOI/MEK are stationed in Tirana. I met many people and heard their stories… They said the support provided by Francoise and Danielle Mitterand gave them hope so that their efforts to save their country would render fruit…. They hope to return to their country one day, a country of freedom and democracy… Our relations with the PMOI is based on the joint values we share, and they defend these values, such as human rights, democracy and humanitarian values. Therefore, the PMOI/MEK are in the heart and foundation of our country,” he concluded.
Mr. Mitterand specifically welcomed Albania’s membership in the European Union, and generally supported the expansion of this union on the condition of strengthening the block.