Ex-Marine Corps general: ‘US no longer playing softball with Iranian regime’
An international conference titled “Mullahs’ regime in crises, explosive situation in Iran, meddling in other countries” was held in Paris, where several dignitaries from the US, France, Canada, EU and the Middle East addressed the Iranian situation.
Among the speakers was General James Conway who was the Commanding General of the US Marine Corps from 2006 to 2010. He was commander of 90,000 US and British forces in Iraq and served two tours in Iraq. During his time there, some of the most important officials in the Trump administration were his subordinates.
Maryam Rajavi, the President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran was the keynote speaker of the conference. Rajavi said as the international community is recognizing the need to stand up to the Iranian regime’s malign activities, the mullahs are besieged with crisis at home and public discontent is expanding, putting the regime’s overthrow within reach.
According to Rajavi, the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) has kept the mullahs in power through unbridled suppression, devouring the Iranian economy and increasing its meddling in the affairs of Middle East nations.
“The IRGC is tasked with protecting the mullahs’ medieval religious dictatorship through absolute suppression… it has tightened its grips on the lion’s share of the Iranian economy,” Rajavi said.
She added, “instead of making investments in the country, it is pouring Iran’s wealth and revenues into the inferno of repression and terrorism. The IRGC’s special role, however, is confronting the Iranian people’s uprisings that are waiting in the wings.”
Some of the key speakers at the conference included John Baird, former Foreign Minister of Canada, Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield, former Assistant US Secretary of State, Rama Yade, former French Minister for Human Rights and George Sabra, President of the Syrian National Council among others.
Al Arabiya conducted an interview with General Conway during the conference.
On some of the key officials of the current US administration working with him in Iraq:
General James Mattis, the current Secretary of Defense was my division commander in charge of about 20,000 Marines. His assistant was Brigadier General John Kelly at the time. He went to four stars and is currently the President’s Chief of Staff and General Dunford was a Colonel at the time. He is now a four star general, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
On US and Saudi relations getting warmer:
I think this is by design. I don’t think the Saudis and most of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the people of the Middle East did not think the last US administration had their backs. It seems we discounted our friends and valued our enemies during the last administration and that all has changed.
On the blacklisting of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) by the Trump administration:
I think this was absolutely the right thing to do. As I said at the conference a few minutes ago, it is a signal from our new administration that we are no longer playing softball with the Iranian regime. The game now is hardball. And I have lots of hope that it will have far reaching effects in terms of the economic aspect. It is not truly sanctions but it is a sanction-like activity, when you look at all the activities of the IRGC in trade and banking and similar activities.
On prospect of European and US allies to follow the US lead and will blacklist the IRGC:
I hope so. I just heard from the former Foreign Minister of Canada, John Baird, that Canada has already done so. I saw some signs today from Europeans in the conference that there is serious talks on considering the blacklisting of the IRGC.
On the Iranian opposition and its role and prospects:
The enthusiasm, motivation, intensity, and endurance of the Iranian opposition is amazing. I see them as an ally to the US and the West. I know the Iranian opposition from a long time ago when its members where based in Iraq in Camp Ashraf. I visited them in Camp Ashraf. I know them from a long time ago.
Regarding prospects for a coalition against the Iranian regime in the region alongside the US:
I think some sort of a coalition already exists. US has great friends and allies in the Gulf Cooperation Council and I think I can safely say Turkey, in Egypt and in Israel. In dealing with subversive activities, we give them moral and material support in some cases.
Regarding the signs of restiveness among Iranians at home and growing dissent inside of Iran:
Enthusiasm and momentum for change by the Iranian people seems to be in good direction. I really think Iranians were close to bring about regime change in 2009 and they probably learned a few lessons from that. What will happen in the next year or two, I don’t know. I hope it happens and if it happens, I hope it happens before the nuclear deal with Iran (that was signed in 2015) reaches to its close.
On Iran violating UN Security Council resolutions by sending weapons to its proxies in Yemen?
Absolutely. There is no authorization for the Iranian regime to be there and doing these sort of activities.