If “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” must be employed, so be it. It’s time to recognize the Iranian Opposition as an ally against Islamic extremism.
The Arab Islamic American Summit held in Riyadh marks a historic initiative against Islamic extremism. Since the mullahs’ regime in Iran is the leading state-sponsor of terrorism in the world, no effort to fight terrorism stands a chance without addressing Iran and its numerous proxies. The Iranian people and their organized resistance movement has for long taken this responsibility and lead the fight against the greatest source of terrorism in the world.
Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), welcomed the positions adopted by the Arab Islamic American Summit vis-à-vis the Iranian regime’s conduct. The NCRI should be included in the initiative launched at the Summit and become a part of the regional coalition against Islamic extremism.
For the first time, fifty-five Muslim-majority countries are officially involved in the fight against these terrorists as their common enemies. The initiative is long overdue. As President Trump rightly emphasized in his address to the Summit, “Muslim-majority countries must take the lead in combating radicalization.” The issue has a local origin and most victims are Muslims; hence, the nations of the Middle East must be at the forefront of the global effort to eradicate Islamic extremism.
There is no doubt that the Iranian regime is responsible for most of the terrorist activities related to Islamic extremism. President Trump was right when he spoke of Iran as “the government that gives terrorists all three—safe harbor, financial backing, and the social standing needed for recruitment…From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms, and trains terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region.” By the same rationale according to which the involvement of Muslim nations in the fight against Islamic terrorism is justified, addressing the threat of the Iranian regime should be the responsibility of the Iranian people.
In fact, the first and foremost enemy of the Iranian people is the regime that has deprived millions of Iranians of the right to live a decent life with dignity and freedom. In response, Iranians were the first to recognize the threat posed by the regime, and the need to rise up against its extremist ideology starting in 1979, with the massive demonstrations of brave Iranian women protesting compulsory hijab. Two years later, Iranian pro-democracy forces united against the regime under the umbrella organization, the NCRI, for the cause of regime change and democracy.
The Iranian resistance movement has launched successful campaigns against the regime’s human rights violations, its regional ambitions, and its nuclear program. Regarding the mullahs’ drive to spread their extremist ideology throughout the region, the Iranian resistance called for the end of the Iran-Iraq war which served the regional ambitions of the mullahs to export their “revolution” beyond Iran’s borders. The Iranian Resistance after fighting the regime’s forces ultimately compelled them to accept a ceasefire and end the war in 1988. That was a major blow to the mullahs’ expansionism.
Another example in which the NCRI has been an indispensable actor has been in confronting Iran’s nuclear program. Starting in 2002 with the disclosure of Iran’s secret nuclear sites in Arak and Natanz, it has been a reliable source of crucial information about Iran’s nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs. The NCRI has sought been to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran that would be a disaster for the Iranian people and the region.
Most importantly, the Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) as the pivotal group in the NCRI, has fought the regime on the ideological front by offering a tolerant and democratic interpretation of Islam, cognizant that countering the regime and its vicious extremist ideology is the responsibility of Iranians. In this endeavor, it is estimated that 120,000 dissident Iranians, mostly affiliated with the MEK, have been executed by the mullahs’ regime.
Iran is the most active state sponsor of terrorism in the world. For the Arab Islamic American initiative against Islamic extremism to achieve its goals, countering the Iranian regime should be the number one priority. To make it even more effective, the NCRI should be included in this campaign.