By Shamsi Saadati, Originally published in NCR-Iran.org, 31st October 2021
On Thursday, October 28, 2021, members of the Iranian American communities attended the “Free Iran 2021 Summit” in Washington D.C. and joined several renowned American personalities in calling for a firm policy toward the Iranian regime. The summit was titled “Free Iran 2021 Summit: Holding Ebrahim Raisi Accountable for Crimes Against Humanity Genocide, Regional Meddling & Nuclear Defiance.” Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) sent a video message to this event.
In her message, Mrs. Rajavi called for the prosecution of Ebrahim Raisi, the regime’s criminal president for his role in the 1988 massacre. “The people of Iran expect the international community to prosecute Ebrahim Raisi for genocide and crime against humanity in an international court. He is a mass murderer. He must be prosecuted now and not later,” Mrs. Rajavi said.
Mrs. Rajavi underlined that the Iranian people are ready for regime change more than any other time and they will ultimately achieve their goal. “It is time for the international community to side with the people of Iran and their desire for change. The Iranian people have clearly demonstrated their demands and their resolve for change. They reject the regime in its entirety,” she said. “The people of Iran expect governments, including the U.S. and the European governments, to revise their policy on Iran and side with the Iranian people.”
Mrs. Rajavi also warned about the world community’s inaction toward the regime’s nuclear extortion. “The time has come to re-impose all of the UN Security Council resolutions suspended in 2015. The mullahs are using the nuclear talks to silence the international community about the worsening human rights situation in Iran and its terrorism and meddling in the region,” she said. “Doing business with the regime will only fill the pocket of the IRGC and reinforce the suppressive organs and agencies in charge of the export of terrorism.”
Mrs. Rajavi’s call for ending the regime’s malign activities was endorsed by other speakers of this event, including Mike Pence, the U.S. Vice President (2016-2020).
“I can say with certainty that the American people support your goal of establishing a secular, democratic, non-nuclear Iranian republic that derives its just powers from the consent of the governed,” said Mr. Pence.
Mr. Pence also referred to the regime’s current weak economic and social position and people’s readiness for regime change.
“The Iranian regime has never been weaker than it is today. Its economy is in shambles. The inflation rate has skyrocketed. The Iranian currency has lost 90 percent of its value. Four out of five Iranians now live below the poverty line. Corruption is at an all-time high. The Iranian people are fed up, and ready for change,” he said.
Mr. Pence described the recent selection of Raisi as “a sign of the regime’s growing weakness and desperation.” “30 years ago, Raisi was in charge of the Ayatollah’s death squads. He is a brutal mass murderer responsible for the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners. His selection as president is intended to quash internal dissent and intimidate the people of Iran into remaining silent,” Mr. Pence said referring to Raisi’s role in the 1988 massacre of political prisoners, who were mostly the members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK).
Mr. Pence underlined that people attending Thursday’s conference “know well just how evil Raisi is” and that one should “never remain silent in the face of evil.”
He also paid tribute to the loss of many participants of the Free Iran 2021 Summit. “. You lost loved ones by Raisi’s hand. You lost your homes and your livelihoods. Some of you barely escaped his grip with your lives.”
Mr. Pence, speaking on behalf of “tens of millions of Americans,” told the Iranian ex-pats that Americans “join you in pledging that [Raisi’s] crimes must not go unpunished. Ebrahim Raisi must be removed from office by the people of Iran – and he must be prosecuted for crimes against humanity and genocide.”
Mr. Pence also underlined that Iran’s “resistance movement in Iran has never been stronger” referring to the MEK’s strong internal network of “Resistance Units.”
“Resistance Units in Iran are the center of hope for the Iranian people. They are an engine for change from within during the uprisings and continued protests. We stand unequivocally on the side of the Iranian people and their Resistance Units,” he said.
In his remarks, Mr. Pence also rebuffed claims by the regime and its apologists that “there is no alternative to the status quo.” But underlined, there is a “well-organized, fully prepared, perfectly qualified and popularly supported alternative called the MEK.”
Mr. Pence also highlighted that 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.”
Another speaker of Thursday’s conference was Senator Joe Lieberman (1989-2013). While underlining his ongoing support of the Iranian people and their Resistance movement he said: “You grieve over the suffering of the people in Iran, and you will not rest. Neither will we until they are free.”
He highlighted in his speech that how “the NCRI-MEK have formed and constitute clearly the most broad-based movement inside Iran and around the world of opposition to the regime that exists.”
“I’ve been to meetings here across America. I’ve been to meetings in Europe. The support from the people is enormous and unprecedented,” Senator Lieberman said, adding, “Incidentally, every event you do, you do with such excellence and organization and effect, it shows how effective this group is going to be when you’re in charge of a free Iran.
Senator Lieberman also praised Mrs. Rajavi’s ten-points plan describing it as “a platform for the next great chapter of Iranian Persian history of values that are totally consistent with American values.”
“You have a plan for the governance of Iran after this regime collapses, a plan which is practical, inclusive, comprehensive, and Democratic. And you have which every successful movement must; a leader who is inspirational, deeply religious, with extraordinary capabilities and great courage, Mrs. Mariam Rajavi,” he added.
“I may say so here in Washington, as another great American said long ago, Mrs. Rajavi has a dream. She has a dream of a better freer life for the people of Iran. And that dream drives her and drives each of us in this movement, which I state again as an American, am proud to stand with you today and will every day until the extremist terrorist totalitarian regime which controls your great country falls from power as it surely will,” Senator Lieberman once again expressed his support of Mrs. Rajavi and the Iranian Resistance movement.
Senator Lieberman highlighted that “We know that the regime in Tehran is one of the most brutal dictatorships in the world, suppressing the human rights of its citizens, jailing journalists simply because of what they’ve written and killing political opponents just because of what they believe and say in shocking numbers, including as we know, as many as 30,000 of God’s children in 1988, only because they were members of the regime’s most significant opposition, the MEK, the Mojahedin-e-Khalq, the very organization we are proud to be standing with today. In their memory, in the memory of those 30,000, we will fight until we achieve our goal.”
Senator Lieberman emphasized that “Instead of occupying the office of the President of a great country like Iran, Raisi should be arrested, taken to The Hague and put on trial for crimes against humanity and the crime of genocide”
Referring to the West’s ignorance of the regime’s human rights violations Senator Lieberman asked: “how anyone in the leadership of our closest allies in Europe can and in the Biden administration think that an effective agreement on nuclear weapons or anything else can be achieved with this regime, with its brutal record, that offends our American values, with the criminal history and corrupt history of its leaders, with its violent anti-western policies and aims.”
Judge Michael Mukasey, 81st U.S. Attorney General, was another speaker at the event. Judge Mukasey, by underlining the regime’s continued disregard for international peace and security, especially under Raisi said, “Since [Raisi] took office, we’ve witnessed the escalation of threats of missile launches, attacks by unmanned aerial vehicles and other instruments of destruction, and then approach the negotiations under the ill-fated JCPOA that can only be described as toying with the concept of a nuclear-free Iran, and simply running the clock while work proceeds toward enriching uranium at ever-higher levels and using ever more advanced centrifuges to speed the process,” he said.
Judge Mukasey emphasized that “selection of a person like Raisi” as the regime’s “President should have been enough to show that the Supreme Leader Khamenei and the rest of the regime do not care how they are perceived by the outside world and are prepared to resort to any means, including mass murder, to achieve their goal, their goal of imposing their view of proper religious law on the region and on as much of the world as possible.”
Judge Mukasey also expressed his support of Mrs. Rajavi’s ten-point plan and said she “has shown that it has both the program and the organizational capability to provide the leadership that will give Iran a Democratic alternative to the current tyranny.” “A secular government with the rights of all men and women are recognized, a government that will not pursue nuclear weapons or seeks to destabilize its neighbors, a government that will proceed according to a ten-points program Mrs. Rajavi has already outlined. That is yet an additional reason why there should be no hesitation to get rid of the current regime,” Judge Mukaseysaid adding “What succeeds, it will not be chaos. It will be an orderly transition toward the tradition that has illuminated Iran for hundreds and hundreds of years and that the Iranian people are proud of. It is a tradition that will be carried on by the people, hopefully, the people in this room and by NCRI.”
Former Senator from New Jersey, Robert Torricelli was the next speaker of the Free Iran 2021 summit. Senator Torricelli talked about his experience that how the Iranian resistance has had extensive bi-partisan support for the last 40 years in American politics.
“When we were speaking with Vice President Pence and he thanked us all for our involvement, Senator Lieberman and I both said to him of our collective 40 years in American politics,” said Senator Robert Torricelli, adding, “. I have never seen a bipartisan coalition in America with the depth of support that the MEK has. I’ve never seen anything like it. Never. It just never happened. And so if you can hear my voice in a village or town across Iran, let me leave you with this thought, sharing a bit of that American optimism.”
Senator Torricelli also joined his colleagues in emphasizing the MEK as an alternative to the regime. “There is an alternative. There is one organization that has never compromised with terror. Never sat at a table and divided up your freedoms, never participated in the genocide, isn’t responsible for your poverty,” he said. “There’s one. And that one organization has the means, the leadership, the focus. And on day one, the international support to rejoin the international community. That organization is the MEK. And Mrs. Rajavi is its leader. And we are the answer.”
General James Conway, 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps, highlighted the need to recognize the regime for what it is. “Iran now has a criminal for a president. Raisi has the blood of 30,000 of your countrymen on his hands. He was one of four members of that infamous Death Commission that oversaw 30,000 executions in 1988,” he said. “If we or a European nation start to deal with this person, all we will do is strengthen that regime.”
Calling the MEK members in Ashraf 3, Albania his “heroes” General Conway shared his experience of visiting them in Ashraf 3.
“It probably started about six years ago after the massacres at Ashraf and then Camp Liberty. Nations across the world expressed their outrage. Some sent letters, but one country did something about it, and that was the great nation, the Republic of Albania. They extended a welcome and they said to those people at Liberty, come here, join us, live in peace and freedom. And 2500 of your fellow countrymen chose to do so. We went there in 2019, an American entourage, if you will, of visitors. I didn’t know what to expect.” General Conway said adding,
“I think I anticipated that we would find 25 people who were fairly despondent, fairly depressed at that point, maybe even suffering from survivors, guilt, those types of things that would follow their most recent experiences, folks, that is not what we found when we got there. There were throngs of people lining the streets of their newly created village. They were waving little Iranian flags. They were smiling and chewing, and you could feel the warmth of their welcome. It was a complete surprise to me to see that night.”