Every year, the speakers pay tribute to the many political prisoners which the Iranian regime has tried to silence. The speakers pledge to continue speaking on behalf of those who can’t. However, despite the best efforts of the Iranian regime, the political prisoners in Iran have not been silenced. Far from it.
They have already risked their lives to speak out and they are continuing to do so despite being in prison. Many have sent messages of solidarity ahead of the “Free Iran” rally, from prison.
Sixty-six year-old Ali Moezzi is one such prisoner. He was imprisoned during the eighties for being an MEK supporter. His daughters are now part of the MEK and he has been in and out of prison since they joined.
In his message he said: “This gathering echoes the cries of all the enchained people of Iran. It echoes the voice of the deprived, the toiling porters in Kurdistan, the voice of the Sunnis, our Baluchi compatriots, and everyone else. It manifests the pride of Iran and Iranians, it is the symbol of their organized resistance, the democratic alternative and the flag they have hoisted for resistance at any cost to achieve freedom.”
“The Iranian people’s historic demands to reach a free and democratic Iran will never be forgotten. Demands such as a pluralist society with fundamental freedoms, separation of religion and state, rights of ethnic and religious minorities, gender equality…”
“Mrs. Rajavi was right to say that our only asset is Resistance. She spoke of 1000 Ashrafs and of 1000 bastions of rebellion and resistance. She was right when she said no to the white turbans and the black turbans. Because any effort for a free Iran and a democratic future is not tolerated by the Velayat-e Faqih regime.”
“Now, from the corner of this prison cell, I see myself with you and among you in the great and glorious gathering of this year in Paris on July 1. With pride and heart-felt love and hope, I hail each and every one of you who add to our nation’s asset of determination and faith. Hail to you, the delegations, the distinguished guests and hail to Maryam Rajavi, the shining sun and the great honor of Iran.”
Mr. Moezzi’s latest imprisonment started in 2011 because he attended the funeral of political prisoner Mohsen Dokmehchi (who died in prison after a horrific amount of suffering because officials denied him essential treatment for cancer). Moezzi should have been released two years ago, but officials refused and invented some new charges so he could be kept there.
He was taken from Gohardasht prison at the beginning of the year and was put in Evin prison where he was kept in solitary confinement and subject to harsh interrogation. He is now in Greater Tehran Prison which has been described as a concentration camp.
Mr. Arjang Davoudi is another political prisoner that took a huge risk in sending a message to the Iranian opposition. He said: “It is not any exaggeration if I honestly and explicitly say that presently, the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (MEK), is the oldest and most organized part of the potential alternative that manages the nationwide struggle of the Iranian people for freedom from the clutches of Khamenei’s mafia and his partners.”
“The MEK has become indispensable to our struggle. Therefore, I urge everyone who loves to see a free Iran and thinks of the pride and honor of Iranians to make their best effort to take part in this great gathering in Paris and make this gathering more glorious with their presence.”
“We should know that extensive participation of freedom-loving Iranians in such events is greatly heart-warming for resistant prisoners who linger and spend their nights and days inside the Iranian regime’s medieval dungeons.”
Mr. Abolghassem Fouladvand who is in prison because of his support for the opposition sent a message of support too. He said: “It is time to rise up. The galaxy of freedom, is marching on with strength and determination to overthrow the clerical regime. I would like to join this galaxy and be along your side and stand beside true Iranians, and freedom-loving Iranians. I want to stand with the family of Resistance and the Army of Freedom.”
“With such participation and support, I say another resounding NO to the clerical regime and declare my all-out support for the only organized resistance in Iran and abroad. We must know that at this time, there is no middle. Remaining silent and passive is not any different from standing in the ranks of the mullahs.”
“I hope that with your active presence, you would be my voice and the voice of my other imprisoned comrades.”
Mr. Shahin Zoghi-tabar was put in prison for freedom activities and for supporting the opposition. He said in his letter: “Your presence in the great gathering of the Iranian Resistance is not only a form of declaration of support for the Iranian opposition, but also echoes the voice of the oppressed women of Iran and the child workers. You can be the voice of Iran’s workers, nurses and teachers… By participating in this gathering show the world that the Iranian people’s choice is not the mullahs or the IRGC. Rather, their choice is resistance for freedom.”
Many of the political prisoners in Iran are there because of their links to the PMOI / MEK. They were arrested for exposing violations carried out by the regime or for helping the opposition financially.
During the recent presidential election in Iran, many MEK activists and supporters urged people to boycott the election. They also called for justice for the victims of the 1988 massacre in which more than 30,000 political prisoners were executed. The sheer extent of dissent gave great fear to the regime.
In a backlash against the support for the opposition, the regime has started to ramp up misinformation campaigns in state media about the MEK.