By Shahriar Kia, Originally published in NCR-Iran.org, 5th November 2021
On October 28, 2021, the Organization of Iranian-American communities held a meeting in Washington D.C. called the “Free Iran 2021 Summit.” The speakers encompassed the full political spectrum in Washington: a vice president of the United States from the previous Republican administration, a former Democratic Senator from New Jersey, a former US Attorney General from a Republican government, a former Democratic Senator from Connecticut, and a retired four-star general from the United States Marine Corps. Although from distinct backgrounds, the speeches reflected harmony in a common goal: a clear roadmap towards change in Iran.
Mike Pence, Vice President of the United States (2017- 2021) said: “Today, the resistance movement in Iran has never been stronger. Resistance Units in Iran are the center of hope for the Iranian people. They are the engine for change from within during the uprisings and continued protests. On both political parties, the American people stand unequivocally on the side of the Iranian people and their Resistance.”
Senator Joe Lieberman, US Vice President candidate (2000) said: “The regime in Tehran is at its weakest point since the revolution. Its economy is in shambles. The regime in Tehran has not protected the people of Iran from the COVID-19 virus. That is not just incompetence; that is brutality. The world can bring about the end of the regime by supporting the people of Iran and here in Washington we can rebuild if the administration will take the lead that historically bipartisan American policy toward Iran.”
Michael Mukasey, the 81st U.S. Attorney General also said: “The world, and in particular, our own government, should not be paralyzed by the variety and enormity of the acts the mullahs have committed. The response should be unrelenting pressure and open willingness to deal with individual members of the regime, including Raisi himself, in whatever form becomes available. The only way to end the regime’s conduct is to end the regime itself.”
Senator Robert Torricelli, U.S. Senator (1997-2003) told the audience: “There is one organization that has never compromised with terror, never sat at a table and divided up your freedoms, never participated in genocide, isn’t responsible for your poverty. There’s one and that one organization has the means, the leadership, the focus, the international support to rejoin the international community. That organization is the MEK, and Madam Rajavi is its leader, and we are the answer.”
General James Conway, 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps called the MEK members in Ashraf 3, Albania his “heroes” and shared his experience of visiting them in Ashraf 3.
For some spectators, this might be another MEK event where some “particular interests” collide, but if one would seriously consider the various elements of the summit, it is more telling than what headlines have shown.
Right now, unrest and upheaval are trembling deep down under Iran’s society. Every now and then, a single spark of economic or social origin brings high emotions to the surface and a social explosion shocks the world. Decades’ long oppression and discrimination have forced the population to search for serious options. Reports of seizing illegal weapons in every corner of the country have become the new normal.
The regime is also facing serious isolation in the Middle East. For years, the people of Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, etc. have suffered from institutionalized corruption as well as proxy wars waged by Iran-backed militants.
With bombings and assassinations, Tehran has plagued five continents. It is extorting the international community with a nuclear program, even as it still has not attained a single nuclear warhead. Iran has been condemned for violating human rights on more than 60 counts on the global stage.
All factors indicate that the ruling clerics and their guards are a serious danger to Iran and the world. But absent an alternative option to the status quo, it’s like everyone must adapt and ignore. And that is exactly the message Tehran and its lobbies around the world are conveying while the “Free Iran 2021 Summit” is doing exactly the opposite.
“One of the biggest lies the ruling regime has sold the world is that there is no alternative to the status quo. But there is an alternative – a well-organized, fully prepared, perfectly qualified, and popularly supported alternative called the MEK,” Mr. Pence said. adding:
“The MEK is committed to democracy, human rights, and freedom for every citizen of Iran and it is led by an extraordinary woman. Mrs. Rajavi is an inspiration to the world. Her Ten Point Plan for the future of Iran will ensure freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and the freedom for every Iranian to choose their elected leaders.”
The MEK has a nationwide network that has exposed Tehran’s clandestine nuclear program, its chemical and biological weapons apparatus, the IRGC Quds Force, the various proxy groups in the Middle East, and other vital information of the regime’s terror machine throughout the world.
If this regime has not left a single stone unturned in terms of atrocities and terrorizing humans across the globe, the MEK hasn’t backed down on any battlefield. It has been able to gather thousands of international dignitaries and tens of thousands of Iranians to its annual meetings and its campaigns have been verifiably beyond a state’s capacities, let alone an opposition group in exile.
Supporting the MEK has always been accompanied by severe consequences and personal sacrifice. Its members have dedicated their lives to their cause and even lost their homes and loved ones. Their sympathizers have spent unlimited time and fortunes while 120,000 of the MEK or their affiliates have lost their lives because they stood loyal to their beliefs. Even their international advocates haven’t been an exception.
If there’s one thing that terrifies the Iranian regime most, it’s a steadfast commitment with relentless backing from all walks of life in Iranian society as well as from all ends of the political spectrum throughout the world. Certain politicians or biased media outlets might want to draw other conclusions but if a movement can endure half a century of atrocities committed by two dictators; if it’s able to withstand unprecedented international scrutiny and censorship; if it’s the uniting force behind worldwide support and nationwide struggle against the most brutal tyrant in the history of the Middle East, then it will definitely shape the future of that geopolitical space for the years to come.
„No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come.“ — Victor Hugo