Saturday, 5 March 2016
Senator Ingrid Betancourt, a former Columbian presidential candidate and the most famous hostage of the 21st century, conducted an interview with the German-French RTE TV station where she spoke about Iran and why she supports the organized organization led by Iranian Resistance President-elect Maryam Rajavi.
Here are excerpts of this interview:
Figaro reporter: You are a Christian. Pope Francis, who belongs to your continent, is politically active in his own way?
Betancourt: Yes, he is politically active.
Figaro reporter: Good politics?
Betancourt: Yes, but in my opinion there are things that need to be corrected… for example on Iran who I saw he [shook hands] with Rouhani… we have to pay attention to what we do because one cannot shake hands with an individual like Rouhani.
Figaro reporter: But isn’t Rouhani a moderate president whom they usually present in the West in the face of extremist mullahs?
Betancourt: The Bible says we should recognize a tree from its fruits. This formula is the same for Rouhani… 2,000 executions in 1 year, expanding extremism and fundamentalism throughout the region… he is seeking to further isolate women from political life, and I believe it is very dangerous. When a leader of a country is able to say half of the population will be in such a situation, and we must understand that in Iran the mullahs’ sharia laws imposed as they are today allow for women to become slaves, be mutilated… with a record of women having acid splashed on their faces because of improper hijab, all this is very extremist and horrible. How can we say they are reformists? No, they are not.
Figaro reporters: How did you become interested in the issue of Iranian women?... Did you meet an exceptional woman?
Betancourt: Yes, [Maryam Rajavi]. She is the leader of the Iranian Resistance movement. She is a woman with a very difficult past and an extraordinary destiny. She is a friend.
I became committed alongside her because I believe this is a very tough struggle and she has an answer for fundamentalism…. In the organization she has established I see a movement providing women their true position. They are Muslims. She speaks as a Muslim woman, challenging interpretations of the Quran put forward by Rouhani and Khamenei. She is providing a true possibility for women, not just Iranian, but Muslim women living in the modern world. Living in the 21st century to enjoy the equal rights that we enjoy. I believe we should support her because she is standing against a beast. In my opinion the regime ruled by the mullahs’ in Iran is the worst type of dictatorship.
When we look at Iran we see a very restive society… there is truly a call from Iran’s society demanding more freedoms and a true democracy. And I become very upset when in our countries we keep on repeating that there are reformists who have won the elections, while it is all a farce, a sham that we all fall for, even with our eyes open. Because the fact is. it is in our interest to support the mullahs, as we supported the Shah, for the same bad reasons. However, when we take a look at the fate of these women, if they want to have hijab, no problem, they can have it. But where is their freedom? We need freedom for women at all levels. These are women who cannot freely make decisions about their children, cannot testify before judges and cannot be elected.
Figaro reporter: On the economic situation, the end of sanctions decided by the Americans and their allies, is it positive? For more democracy?
Betancourt: I don’t believe so. What needs to be understood is that in Iran there is a system with a state-run economy. Meaning there is an atmosphere for small trade, but the major deals are conducted through the government, and most of the companies in Iran are controlled by the Revolutionary Guards… I don’t believe the people will benefit [from sanctions reliefs]. This is a faction that is filling its own pockets.
Figaro reporter: You take a risk in making such remarks.
Betancourt: Not really, because I am here. But I know that this must be said, because over there they cannot make such remarks. And they need our support. We must think about a solution for change and a democratic alternative.