Former U.S. ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commission Ken Blackwell told a panel session in Paris on June 12 that regime change was needed, and we must get there by any means necessary. “That’s the only way that you’re going to bring stability back to the neighborhood of the Middle East”, he said.
The event was organized by “Foundation for Middle Eastern Studies” (FEMO) on “Policy on Iran and Countering Islamic Extremism” and was chaired by Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield Jr., former US Special Envoy and Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs. It was attended by number of experts including Howard Dean, former Governor of Vermont and Chair of the US Democratic Party, Olli Heinonen, former Deputy Director General of the IAEA, Bruno Tertrais, senior fellow at the French Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS), Alireza Jafarzadeh, Deputy Director of NCRI US Representative Office, author of the book, The Iran Threat: President Ahmadinejad and the Coming Nuclear Crisis, James Woolsey, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency under President Clinton, Yves Thréard, Leader writer and columnist for the French daily Le Figaro, Frédéric Encel, Professor of international relations at the ESG Management School, Seminar Director at the French Institute of Geopolitics. Struan Stevenson, former president, European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Iraq.
The following are excerpts from Ambassador Blackwell’s remarks:
“Henry Kissinger once told me—and I’m not sure this was a Kissinger-ism or something that he borrowed—but he said ambiguity is the grease on the wheel of diplomacy. You cannot deal with the current regime in Iran with ambiguity. They exploit ambiguity. They only respect specificity and direct threat to their interest. The first panel I think said it all, so I’m going to say this: what they said can only be improved upon by saying that one of the elements that we in fact have to support and help give life to is the resistance of the diaspora. If there’s anything that I’ve learned from looking at the neighborhood is that the neighborhood has not become a safer place to live and to thrive under the canopy of the present administration’s disposition and negotiating posture with the regime. We must take measure of what they do to their own people to give us some indication of how sincere they are with us at the negotiating table. I would just ask the Obama administration to read its own administrations’ hum
an rights report. Summary executions, arbitrary arrest and detention, assault against basic and fundamental human rights. If we turn a blind eye and do not give voice to those concerns at the negotiating table and trust that this regime will abide by anything that it says that it has agreed to in these negotiations, we are fools.
And I would just suggest that we must give support to the resistance, both inside of Iran and across the diaspora. We in fact need regime change. I don’t know how to say it any more specifically than that. Regime change is what is needed, and we need to get there by any means necessary. That’s the only way that you’re going to bring stability back to the neighborhood of the Middle East, and it’s the only way that you can actually stop the assault on human rights and the existential threat that Iran represents within the nuclear context. I would just underscore that if we reach an agreement on June 30th, we will put back $150 billion into that government, into that regime. And if we in fact are so naïve to believe that it won’t go to support global terrorism, again, then we are complete fools. I know that one who speaks on human rights tries to stay away from talking about the stick. But Ambassador, you’re completely right, this regime only respects a bigger and more potent stick, not a smaller carrot.”