Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the NCRI: “We do not seek power at any cost; we seek freedom and justice and a democratic, secular, and non-nuclear republic.”
WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES, July 28, 2020 — The 2020 “Free Iran” Global Summit was held on July 17, this year online. As in years past, an impressive array of speakers from across the world gathered in the largest virtual political gathering in memory. With attendees including 1,000 international dignitaries, politicians, and parliamentarians from 6 continents, 102 countries, the summit, which connected 30,000 locations, was an inspiring display of the Iranian Resistance’s ability to adapt and push forward despite an unprecedented pandemic.
The keynote speaker was Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the parliament-in-exile. The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), also referred to as the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), is the NCRI’s principal member.
Mrs. Rajavi said: “We do not seek power at any cost; we seek freedom and justice and a democratic, secular, and non-nuclear republic. Our people must enjoy the right to be healthy, to have shelter, employment, to organize and form syndicates, to have autonomy of ethnic minorities, the right to equal participation in running the society’s affairs, gender equality and popular sovereignty, and an Iran where there will be no capital punishment.
“We have come together to underline three monumental and historic commitments that we have pledged to accomplish. Our first is that we, the people of Iran and the Iranian Resistance, will overthrow the clerical regime and will reclaim Iran. Our second is that we, the people of Iran and the Iranian Resistance, will build a free and democratic Iran. And our third is to remain faithful to our people’s sovereignty and their vote; to not seek power at any cost, but to establish freedom and justice at any cost; to never return to the dictatorships of the Shah and the mullahs. And, as the majority of elected lawmakers in the U.S. and Europe have pointed out, we want to establish a democratic, secular and non-nuclear Iran.”
The speakers from the United States included a stellar bipartisan group of current and former members of Congress, and former officials.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, described The Free Iran Summit as being “for the people of Iran, who are living under tyranny, to let them know their fight for freedom is supported around the world, at the highest levels … Iran’s people have made it clear to the world that they want a free and democratic Iran, ruled by law, in which women are treated equal as men. These are the goals of the MEK, of the NCRI, and of Maryam Rajavi … The protests in Iran are increasing…Regime change in Iran is within reach. That’s the goal of the NCRI and Maryam Rajavi, a free Iran that will contribute to peace in the world.”
Mr. Giuliani was among a bipartisan group of 31 distinguished former civilian and military officials and scholars who were signatories of a statement released on the eve of the summit, entitled “Time to Prepare for Iranian Regime Accountability.” Noting that “The days of religious fundamentalists controlling Iran are numbered” and that “Not just the rights, but the lives of Iran’s citizens are being sacrificed for the empowerment of a dysfunctional and rapacious theocracy,” the statement declared, “There is a beacon of hope in this dark landscape. The one organization that has done more than any other entity, including governments, to free Iranian citizens from tyranny and the world from fundamentalist-inspired terrorism is the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). The NCRI strives relentlessly to ensure that hope for democracy and an end to injustice remains alive in Iran… While the US and other governments contemplate policies to deter and contain Iranian threats and aggression, they can and must act to bring accountability to people with the blood of so many Iranians on their hands. Ample precedent exists that leaders cannot claim sovereign immunity for their crimes against humanity.”
Former Senator Joe Lieberman was profuse in his admiration not only for “his dear friend Maryam Rajavi and her leadership,” but the Resistance as a whole. “Is there another opposition group, or frankly are there many groups in the world who could organize a meeting like this?… I don’t think so.” Lieberman concluded, “I am proud as an American to stand with the NCRI, the MEK, and Maryam Rajavi, because your values are American values, your interests are American interests, and your enemy – this fanatical, aggressive, suppressive, tyrannical, terrorist-supporting, corrupt regime in Iran – is our enemy.”
Former US Senator from New Hampshire Kelly Ayotte, stated “I would like to thank Maryam Rajavi and the NCRI for your courage in standing up against the tyranny of the mullahs. Iran’s people have told the regime the game is now over. Iran’s people deserve freedom from the oppression, evil and tyranny of the mullahs. We stand with Iran’s people. It is time for regime change in Iran. It is time for the regime to go. We join together to say loudly: The Mullahs Must Go!”
Arizona Senator Martha McSally, a member of the US Air Force for 26 years with six deployments in the Middle East, denounced the regime who, she said, “have hundreds of my fellow service members’ blood on their hands.” As “the first female U.S. fighter pilot to fly in combat and the first woman to command a fighter squadron,” Senator McSally was outspoken in her admiration for the Resistance’s commitment to female leadership. “I’m also grateful for your focus on equal participation of women in the political, social, and economic future of Iran,” MaSally said, adding, “It is important for the people of Iran to have their own voice. We stand with you, stand with the brave Iranian people. You are putting everything on the line for your God-given right to freedom.” In a call to action, she addressed Europe, saying, “The maximum pressure campaign has been working and is squeezing the Iran regime’s cash on terrorist activities and repression. We must support the extension of the arms embargo on Iran.”
Congressman Lance Gooden of Texas, gave a brief optimistic message, highlighting his pride at having travelled to Albania to visit Ashraf-3 last year, and that “members of the United States Congress are fully behind youth…thank you to Madame Rajavi for all she’s doing. She is fighting alongside you and making progress that we’ve never seen before here in the U.S.”
Former Senator Robert Torricelli of New Jersey began by addressing “the point of the spear,” the residents of Ashraf-3 who “spend every waking hour thinking about how to maneuver the Iranian people into a new, prosperous, and free future.” He spoke of the regime’s disgustingly inadequate response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how those who had been aware of the true nature of the regime were not surprised. Ending with a powerful call to action, the former senator addressed those in Iran suffering directly under the regime’s rule: “Today in Iran, if you are hearing our words, take a quiet moment. Everyone can do something. Decide upon your role, how you will stand with Maryam Rajavi… Everyone can contribute… Thousands have died, tens of thousands have been imprisoned. We are not asking you to do that; we are asking you to do something. Hazer Hazer Hazer! (Ready, Present, Prepared!) Stand with Maryam Rajavi. Take a stand. We will never abandon you; we are all with you until the end.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich addressed the summit by touching on the “strange moment in history” in which we find ourselves. He expressed hope that “the day is rapidly approaching where we will witness a free Iran and celebrate in the streets with one another.”
Introduced as “a passionate friend of the Iranian people and the Resistance,” former Congressman (RI) Patrick Kennedy spoke of his admiration for the NCRI and its ability to continue to fight against the regime despite the repeated attacks. “The virus of religious fascism has cost millions of lives. It needs to be extinguished. We know the principles of NCRI, MEK. They will provide the vaccinations.” The former congressman was deeply encouraged by the leadership of Maryam Rajavi and her Ten-Point Plan. In a powerful closing statement, he hammered home that “Iran’s regime, as the leading state-sponsor of terrorism, is a threat to justice and peace everywhere around the world. So, this is a fight of all human beings.”
Michael Mukasey, the former US Attorney General, touched on the threat that the NCRI represents toward the regime. He supported this by highlighting the bomb plot orchestrated by the regime that was meant to target the Free Iran gathering in Paris in 2018, attended by 100,000 participants. He stated quite bluntly that the only way to address the problems related to the regime is to end the regime. According to the former USAG, the answer is the NCRI, which has a legitimate vision and means toward establishing a democratic, non nuclear, and free Iran as laid out by Maryam Rajavi’s Ten-Point Plan. Further, the former USAG stated, “We should continue to press our own governments to continue the arms embargo on Iran, and to see to it that the most severe sanctions available snap back on the regime. The regime’s continued maintenance of a ballistic missile program, whose only purpose is the delivery of nuclear weapons, reveals its ongoing effort to develop a nuclear weapon. The recent explosion at Natanz set back those efforts, but at the same time revealed that Iran has never interrupted its nuclear weapons program.”
The first Secretary of Homeland Security, former Governor of Pennsylvania Tom Ridge opened his speech with a note of thanks to the Albanian leadership: “At the outset, I do want to recognize the leaders of Albania, several of whom have spoken previously. I’ve had the good fortune of knowing many of them and I know full well the spirit of their politics and how difficult and challenging it can be as they have strong opinions that can often differ. But the fact that they are united in providing home, support, and protection to Ashraf 3 is something that is very important to their friends in the United States. So I want to express my appreciation and that of the United States delegation present with us today, in thanking you for your sustained support not just for human rights but for the men and women of Ashraf.” The former Secretary of Homeland Security stressed that this fight “involves everyone, the people of Iran and their allies in the international community.” Gov. Ridge emphasized that if an unprecedented virus cannot keep the Resistance from coming together in such magnitude, there is no way the regime can withstand what is to come, “the inevitably of a free Iran.”
Former FBI Director Louis Freeh expressed his awe: “You know what is amazing about this meeting this year is not just the technology. Madam Rajavi and your colleagues, I commend you for the ability to be able to communicate the way we are communicating under all the challenges you have overcome. Wonderful job and congratulations to all the many people who have worked on it…We are not memorializing a past event, but looking toward the future.” He touched on two points that he insisted should not be overlooked. “First, survey the state of the world and look at how difficult this pandemic has been on the various governments across the globe. The Iranian Resistance was able to adapt and move forward in a way that makes it clear that this is not a movement to be underestimated. An event like this, given the conditions, takes legitimate organizational and diplomatic prowess which bodes well for the bridge period when the regime does fall. Second, this is an organization that looks forward with progress always on the mind. It speaks to why the past 40 years of devastation has only served as further motivation to continue the fight rather than cripple the effort.”
Former Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, General Jack Keane lent his support behind the NCRI and the Iranian opposition, noting the “significant and dramatic” movement in the past year towards the end of the regime, unlike anytime in the previous 40 years. “We in America are inspired by the Iranian people’s raw courage and by Maryam Rajavi’s leadership.” As he noted, the regime is much weaker due to the current administration’s maximum pressure campaign. 90% of the oil can’t be exported, signifying the free fall of the economy.
Like many of the previous speakers, Mrs. Linda Chavez, former White House Director of Public Liaison, marveled at the organizational prowess of the NCRI and its ability to make the event such a rousing success during a pandemic that is shutting countries down. She asked a poignant question: “Why does the regime fear Maryam Rajavi? Is it because she has tanks, because she has guns, or because she has soldiers? No, it is not for any of those reasons. It is for the simple reason that she stands for ideas of liberty, that her Ten-Point Plan is the best hope for the freedom of the Iranian people. She has been a beacon in the wilderness to gather together those who support a free Iran.”
Retired General James Conway kept it brief with three main points. First, “the regime has had a tough year.” Second, “the NCRI has done much over the years to correct what is happening in Iran and yet as patriots of that great nation, you cannot return to the country of your birth.” Finally, “your movement was handed what I think was a tremendous gift, and that gift was the death of Qasem Soleimani.” He succinctly summarized the dire situation in which the regime finds itself, and the valiant efforts of the Resistance toward that end.
The former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Robert Joseph, made clear how dire the situation is for the regime. “The end is coming and there is nowhere for the mullahs to go. The only option they have is to double down” because, as Joseph pointed out, “the people will not forget what the regime has done.” He went on to lay out steps that must be taken going forward, i.e there must be a continuation of a unified maximum pressure strategy from the international community that ultimately supports the MEK and the brave Resistance fighters within Iran.
Cyber security expert Theresa Payton (former White House Chief Information Officer) touched on the nature of the battle with the regime which included digital in addition to physical, as she outlined Tehran’s methods for conducting what amounts to warfare in the digital sphere. There are three strategies in play, she said: cyber intrusions, digital manipulation campaigns, and terrorism, as analyzed in an expose by Reuters.
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