Written by NCRI-US Staff, August 9, 2020
For years, the Iranian regime and its cabal of sycophants and apologists abroad have attempted to discredit the Iranian Resistance and its main component, the Mojahedin e-Khalq (MEK), by claiming the MEK was a “cult-like” “fringe” group with no support inside Iran. This fallacy was effectively debunked once and for all over the July 17th weekend, when the democratic political coalition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), virtually hosted its annual Free Iran summit.
The message of the three-day event, billed as the largest ever online political gathering, was quite clear: The international community is united behind the Iranian people’s fight against the Iranian regime, and the Iranian Resistance is ready to lead the way to a free Iran. This message was well received globally, with tens of thousands of Iranians and dignitaries from 30,000 locations in 102 countries across six continents tuning in to show their support for the NCRI’s President-elect, Maryam Rajavi, and the coalition’s principal member and Iran’s main opposition, the MEK.
Professor Ivan Sacha Sheehan, author of Iran’s Resurgent Resistance, commented that “Iran’s clerical rulers fear internal dissent more than external pressure”; the event demonstrated that they now face unprecedented levels of both. The ability to virtually connect thousands of people, including high-profile public figures from all sides of the political spectrum and from every corner of the world, was an incontrovertible display of leadership and credibility by the MEK and NCRI. That leadership was underscored by the video-taped messages of resolve from MEK resistance units across Iran. The regime has been aggressively cracking down on domestic support for the MEK since the onset of nationwide uprisings in 2019. Clearly, the people are not deterred by the mullahs’ brutality.
Broadcast live into Iran as well as live streamed in seven languages on various social media platforms, speakers at the summit urged the international community to recognize and support the Iranian people’s right to overthrow the regime by ending the destructive policy of appeasement and holding Tehran’s rulers accountable for their crimes against humanity. They also reiterated a vision for a democratic, secular, and non-nuclear republic through Maryam Rajavi’s 10-point plan.
In her keynote speech on the first day of the summit, Mrs. Rajavi declared: “We pledge to overthrow the regime, take back Iran, and restore all the violated and plundered rights of the people of Iran. Our people must enjoy the right to be healthy, to have shelter, the right to employment, to organize and have syndicates; ethnic minorities must have the right to autonomy, and all Iranians must enjoy the right to equal participation in running the society’s affairs, to gender equality and popular sovereignty. They must be free of religious slavery, and sexual exploitation. They must enjoy freedom of expression and opinion, freedom of choice. They must be pulled out of poverty, and be free from fear. This means ending torture, executions, and social and economic insecurity.”
Now, when the Iranian regime is embroiled in domestic instability, the NCRI’s amplification of the Iranian people’s fight for freedom posits them as a force for change. The international policy of maximum pressure continues to isolate the regime, while its plunder of the nation’s wealth sends the rial in a downward spiral. The criminal mismanagement of COVID-19 is ravaging Iranian society, while internal dissent rises up in protests across the country.
These existential crises make it increasingly obvious that regime change has become a question of when, not if. The only solution for Iran’s woes is for the regime to be toppled by the people. The prospect is real, and within reach. Hence, Iran needs a politically capable and internationally recognized alternative to fill the void during a democratic transition period. At the 2020 Free Iran summit, the NCRI, under its president-elect Maryam Rajavi, demonstrated that it is well-suited to lead such a transition.
As demonstrated in the nationwide uprisings in November 2019, the citizenry is organized in its resistance and willing to fight for its freedom. The international community must stay the course, keep up the pressure, and reiterate its support of the Iranian people’s right to determine their future.