“IRGC and the religious foundations are controlling most of Iran’s economy”

June 29, 2018

Remarks by Paulo Casaca, Executive Director of the "South Asia Democratic Forum" based in Brussels and former member of European Parliament, in a panel on "Policy on Iran" in Paris, 29 June 2018, organized jointly by FEMO and APA.

Paulo Casaca:

Well, it's really a great honor to be among this magnificent panel, and in front of such a qualified audience present here. I know that this has been also transmitted by social media. And try to get exactly to the point, I think getting to the beginning, to the honorable Prime Minister, former Prime Minister of Italy that to reconstruct a common European Euro-American front is vital. On what basis can it be done?

I think not a point less, not a point more than the 12 Points of Secretary Pompeo. They are brilliant. They really materialize the ... that a lot of people, a lot of people that, both United States and Europe have been advising up to now. Of course, one of them is obviously American, but could not be done. Otherwise, there is the hostages, the American hostages ... United States could not put it in a different perspective.

And so I think we should not go absolutely nothing to destroy it, and of course, rationally as Congressman Torricelli already explained, obviously, that this regime cannot do it. And the implication is clear for all of us. I do not think, however, that this implication shall be put as such on the table, since the last thing we should be giving is this excuse that, well, after all it's all about doing what was done in 2003 with Iraq. It is not, we are not offering any way out. We just want to crash whatever, whatever happens.

One thing is to know rationally what the outcome is. The other thing is to say, "Well, have you anything to object to any of these 12 Points? And they, the minimum of normal relations in, for that we have to demand for whoever to be in the Council of Nations. That's the question I think has to be raised.

Paulo Casaca
Paulo Casaca

The second issue is really this trade, this interest that came to the point, well, the case of Italy was obviously already put here, but in Portugal the same happened. I mean I just saw that, you know, the photograph from last year, the former-the present-the present leader of the credit security which by the way is a lady ... ridiculous way of dressing, you know, and ... or respect to the Tehran leadership. It's completely ridiculous that a lot of money has been put there. Actually, I do think more than what we know about. And I think that we have clearly to put one question on the table.

After the United States has announced their way out of a nuclear deal, one very important personality in the Iranian regime said the following, "Well, it's now time to say to our European friends, 'Either you find a way to keep this agreement on or we will ask back the money we gave you.'" He said that on record. It is transcribed. And there was a silence for the European side. Actually just afterwards, the Foreign Affairs Minister came to Brussels. He saw Mrs. ... I mean no explanation was given. I made a complaint to the fraud authorities in Europe about that. They said, "Oh, we do not have evidence to launch an inquiry." I mean what more evidence do you need? So this issue is vital. I mean it's the corruption, the deep corruption in the European political establishment that we have to face and there is no way back to it, because what is-why is Iran so important in economic terms? I mean if you look at the figures, of course Iran has a lot of potential. It's true. Certainly, if it gets rid of it. But in terms of GDP, it does not justify the political investment that the European leaders are doing. There must be a reason to do it. Of course, IRGC and the religious foundations are controlling most of the economy, and of course, this makes a deal more effective than with a market economy, but there must be some reasons that are under the table and that we should demand to go over the table for us to understand what is going on. And this also makes with one, I think it is a very understandable Italian concern, which is this issue of these policies of having tremendous ... surpluses for years and years. This actually makes part of the so-called neoliberalism, and well, actually President Trump is questioning this state of affairs. And I think he's right. I mean not really on the way that he is finding solutions, but raising the issue, it is very important, and it is, and it can help Europe redress itself. It might not be a reason for European ... quite the reverse. So especially Italy here, you are in a crucial position to change the debate in Europe, and you could make, combine in a virtuous way instead of catastrophic way that is also a risk these two debates and make it something that can approach us to the United States, and at the same time to say, "Well, for Europe to continue, we must rebalance our economic trades between our countries, because otherwise it's going to explode."

It's, I mean we had Somalia ... that sorted out the issue for five years, six years, but it's not going to last forever. And we must find a solution.

And last, but not least is this issue of appeasement. I think that for those of us who saw that way that Miss ... well, and actually Miss Angela Merkel during the campaign, what she said about the Iranian and the Korean nuclear deals, I mean it is lunacy. I mean what can you say? It's lunacy, pure lunacy. It goes beyond any sort of capacity to make a rational discussion. It's so lunatic and that these people are in their-they are the leaders in Europe should ashame all of us and we have to do something about it. I mean it is, it's not a matter of left or right or whatever. It's, they are lunatics and they are dangerous for our future and we have to find a way to confront them. The sooner, the better for the sake of ourselves, and of course, for the sake of the Iranian people that Maria better than anybody else, you said it. You said exactly what is in our hearts and the reason why we cannot deviate a single meter from this cause.

Thank you very much.