Distinguished political and academic figures underscore the imperative of a free, secular republic, and applaud Mrs. Rajavi’s 10-point plan for future Iran
WASHINGTON, DC, March 22, 2023 — On March 21, 2023, the U.S. Representative Office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI-US) celebrated the advent of Iranian New Year, Nowruz, and the progress of the Iran uprisings during a reception at the Willard InterConntinental Hotel. Several distinguished political personalities, prominent figures in academia, and the Iranian American community attended the event.
Against the backdrop of an elaborate Haft Seen, a traditional symbol of the ancient Persian Nowruz festivities, Ms. Soona Samsami, the representative of the NCRI in the United States, delivered the Iranian Resistance’s Nowruz greetings and said, “As we gather here to celebrate Nowruz, we cannot forget the seismic changes that have taken place in Iran over the past year. The seven-month-long uprising has shaken the regime to its foundation… [and] made it clear that the Iranian people have rejected all forms of dictatorships. This has been clearly expressed in the slogans of ‘death to the oppressor, be it the Shah or the Leader,’ and ‘No Monarchy, No Theocracy, Yes to Democracy, Equality,’ which have been chanted all over the country. These slogans rendered futile the attempts to create a fake alternative by the remnants of the detested and deposed dictatorship of the Shah—and their collaborators—with the goal of derailing the ongoing revolution to overthrow the current theocracy in its entirety with all its factions and repressive forces.”
The Iran uprising has made it clear that the Iranian people reject all forms of dictatorships and have rendered futile the attempts to create a fake alternative by the remnants of Shah’s dictatorship.”Soona Samsami, U.S. Representative, National Council of Resistance of Iran
“Now, going forward, we must acknowledge the challenges ahead. Tehran will continue to use all means to suppress dissent while waging a demonization campaign largely thru benign-looking collaborators in the United States. We are prepared to meet these challenges with courage and determination because most importantly, we have the facts on our side. As Mrs. Rajavi always says, ‘WE CAN AND WE MUST,’” Ms. Samsami concluded.
The Honorable Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, former chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also addressed the reception and stated that “I had the honor of serving in Congress for almost 30 years. And in that time, from the very beginning to my last breath in Congress, I have stood by the freedom-loving people of Iran who want to get rid of those mullahs who want to restrict the freedom, and especially restrict the freedom of young girls, of women. We have seen them rising up at great peril. They could lose their lives, and many have. Their families will be persecuted, and they have. But they go on. And they’re fighting for each and every one of us.”
The former Florida lawmaker congratulated the movement and its fearless “leader [NCRI-President-elect Maryam Rajavi] with a 10-point plan that calls for getting rid of these theocratical thugs, the mullahs, and letting the people of Iran choose their own leaders and have the freedom to express their own thoughts and opinions.”
Ambassador Robert Joseph, former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, addressed the Nowruz event and stated, “let me extend my very best wishes to Mrs. Rajavi, to all of the residents of Ashraf 3, and of course to the resistance units on the front line in their fight for freedom and democracy in Iran.”
“With the start of the new year, whether it’s the first day of January or the first day of spring, I think it’s useful to look forward. And perhaps tonight the best means of looking forward is to start with the lessons we’ve learned from the past 186 days of revolutionary struggle, a struggle that really defines the uprising across Iran against the religious dictatorship… The call of the Iranian people to reject dictatorship, whether religious or that of the Shah, is not just a slogan. It is a testament to the determination of the people to establish a free and democratic Iran. This represents a historic turning point. The regime will never be the same. It is now undeniable that the regime’s days are numbered.” Amb. Joseph added.
The former Undersecretary of State stressed that “At the forefront of the fight for freedom are the Resistance Units in Iran. This is one reason the regime has declared the MEK to be public enemy number one. But the even greater threat to the regime from the NCRI and MEK is the vision for the future that is embodied in Mrs. Rajavi’s ten-point plan, a plan that is recognized and supported by House Resolution 100, a resolution with 229 co-sponsors.” Ambassador Joseph concluded, “Have no doubt, it is this vision of a free, democratic, secular, and non-nuclear Iran that scares the regime the most. But this vision will ultimately prevail.”
Prof. Ivan Sascha Sheehan, the associate dean of the College of Public Affairs at the University of Baltimore, referring to over six months of anti-regime protests in Iran and the regime’s barbaric attempt to quash them, remarked that “while these are challenging times in Iran, I have never been more optimistic that the tide is turning. In fact, I have never been more confident in declaring that Tehran’s 40-year dictatorship will be replaced by a peaceful, inclusive, tolerant government that upholds human rights and maintains positive relations with the world. Because the cries on the Iranian street leave no doubt that the Iranian people reject dictatorship in all its forms – past and present – and they are looking toward a democratic future with no interest in returning to their monarchic past.”
“If U.S. officials and Western leaders merely listen to the voices on the Iranian street, they can avoid being caught off guard, like they were forty-four years ago. At that time, it was widely assumed that the Iranian people would never overcome Shah’s repressive institutions. But four decades later, the MEK stands atop the democratic alternative known as the National Council of Resistance of Iran, a movement prepared to oversee the country’s transition to a modern and secular democracy.
“Fewer U.S. officials are today questioning whether the ayatollahs will be toppled. The question now is when the regime’s collapse will occur and what can be done to prepare for it. The first thing policymakers can do is acknowledge that regime change from within need not result in chaos or a lateral shift from one antagonistic dictatorship to another. By recognizing the right of Iranian protesters to defend themselves, by ramping up crippling sanctions, and by clamping down on the terror regime that calls itself the Islamic Republic, the U.S. can lead the world in isolating and weakening the ayatollahs by rendering them incapable of resisting the will of the Iranian people,” added Professor Sheehan.
Professor Steven M. Schneebaum, a prominent lawyer of international law and a professor at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, remarked that “This is my 20th opportunity to mark Nowruz with my Iranian friends, with all of you. I’m one of the few who can claim not only to have visited Ashraf 3, but to have visited Ashraf 1 and Ashraf 2, both in Iraq…So, [I] wish all of my Iranian friends here and at Ashraf 3, in [Albania] and in Iran and wherever they might be fighting for freedom, a Happy Nowruz.”
Colonel Wes Martin, former Senior Anti-terrorism and Force Protection Officer for all Coalition Forces in Iraq, also addressed the event, saying “It’s been 186 days [since the start of the latest round of Iran protests]. People sometimes ask me; how long can the Iranian people hold out? And I tell them the story of Camp Ashraf, Camp Liberty, and Ashraf 3. Those people held out against all odds and against the insecurity of whether they will live or die, and they did not give up. And today, in Albania, they prove what people can become and what they will become when they are allowed to succeed in life.”
“To the Iranian people, I congratulate you for what you are doing. You are saying NO to Khamenei, you are saying NO to the Pahlavi and the family of the Shah, you are saying NO to oppression, you are saying NO to tyranny. When I look at the history of Iran, I see no difference between the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and SAVAK and the Quds Force. They are all murderers, they are all butchers, and none of them can be trusted. You are fighting, the Iranian people, you are fighting for four freedoms identified by President Franklin Roosevelt. The freedom of religion, the freedom of speech, the freedom from want, and the freedom from fear… The Iranian people will never stop, and they will reach the top and the top of the ground they will be standing on will be the grave of the Ayatollah,” added Col. Martin.
Dr. Sofey Saidi, a member of the NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee, moderated the Nowruz reception. “We have all witnessed Iranian women’s sacrifice and their leadership of this uprising,” she said, adding “I recently presented a talk on the uprising at the University of Wyoming, where the faculty and students were astounded to learn the women of Iranian resistance have for several decades’ hegemonic leadership roles.”
Dr. Saidi recalled a 1996 international event organized by the Iranian Resistance in Earls Court London. “Most notably, the keynote speaker was [NCRI President-elect] Mrs. Maryam Rajavi. In her landmark speech, Mrs. Rajavi elaborated that the mullah’s control over society is based on gender apartheid and in order to overturn the system of gender discrimination and bring about fundamental change, women should assume a leadership role.”
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) is a democratic opposition coalition founded in 1981 in Tehran, as the alternative to the clerical regime. It would serve as a provisional government led by its President-elect Maryam Rajavi, based on her Ten-Point Plan, once the theocracy is ousted. Its primary responsibility will then be to hold free and fair elections for a national and constituent assembly within six months after the fall of the regime and to ensure the peaceful transition of power to the elected representatives of the Iranian people. The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), also referred to as the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), Iran’s largest, most organized opposition group, is the principal member of the NCRI.
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