This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the conference was held virtually because of restrictions on international travel, so an incredible 30,000 politicians, dignitaries, human rights advocates, and Iranian expats gathered in safe rallies in major cities across over 100 countries and 17 timezones.
Free #Iran Global Summit
Online Conference, live connection between 30,000 locations in Iran and 100 countries around the world with the PMOI/MEK at Ashraf 3.
1,000 personalities from various countries participating #FreeIran2020https://t.co/AvfrVwy2Ay
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) July 17, 2020
Given the regime’s dire response to the coronavirus pandemic, it is no surprise that this was one of the main topics addressed at the event.
NCRI President Maryam Rajavi noted that the mullahs’ response to the coronavirus has been disastrous and showed how the regime has gutted the country’s healthcare and welfare systems, meaning that Iran is the worst-hit county on earth in terms of population size. Indeed, in deaths alone, they are second globally despite having only 80 million people.
Millions of supporters at 30,000 locations in more than 100 countries are coming together right now to call for Iran’s dictatorship to be replaced by democracy!
— Rudy W. Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) July 17, 2020
The coronavirus situation is Iran is so bad that former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that “the regime and the virus are united against the people”, noting that no other country was overwhelmed so quickly by the virus.
It’s my pleasure to address the NCRI’s Free Iran Summit from Canada today; together with friends and allies from around the world, I continue to stand with the people of Iran against the tyrannical and oppressive regime in Tehran. #FreeIran2020 #NCRI
— Stephen Harper (@stephenharper) July 17, 2020
The reason being that the regime sent people back to work too soon after a lockdown that came too late because they were afraid that starving Iranians would take to the streets to overthrow the regime. This was admitted by President Hassan Rouhani, who said that it would be better if 3 million Iranians died than 30 million protested because they couldn’t feed their families due to the regime’s lack of financial support.
Philipe Gosselin, a member of the French National Assembly, stressed this fact and said: “Millions of people are suffering from the Covid-19 outbreak because the regime does not take the necessary measures.
Former US Senator Robert Toricelli said that while “tens of thousands” of Iranian have died from the coronavirus, the regime has stolen the people’s money for terrorism and the development of nuclear weapons. He then warned the regime that “the game is up” and that the mullahs are being seen for their true selves.
Other major topics of discussion, included support for the Iranian Resistance, terrorism, dealing with the regime, and, of course, the violent crackdown on dissidents in the past year.
Support for the Resistance
The keynote speaker of the event was Mrs. Maryam Rajavi. In her speech, she said: “Today, in Iran, one of the greatest battles and one of the greatest tests of our time are being waged between freedom and religious fascism, between democracy and religious fundamentalism. We urge all governments and the international bodies to stand with the people of Iran in this historic showdown with the greatest threat to the world’s peace and security.”
In her remarks, Mrs. Rajavi emphasized that from all indications, the ruling theocracy is in a position to be overthrown. The people and the Iranian Resistance are committed to building a democratic and free Iran. She 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.”
Paris Mayor Jean François Legaret praised the Resistance’s efforts for a free Iran, saying that Ashraf 3, the MEK’s headquarters in Albania, represents a “light at the end of the tunnel”, while British MP Matthew Offord spoke about his 120 colleagues who signed a statement in support of Resistance Leader Maryam Rajavi’s ten-point plan for a Free Iran.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani expressed his support for Maryam Rajavi, who he said would “completely transform the Middle East and the world” when she became President of Iran, the NCRI, which he said has done more than any other group to fight fundamentalism, and the MEK, which he described as “the driving force for change” in Iran.
He said: “Regime apologists say the MEK and NCRI don’t amount to much. But [Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei and Rouhani have said many times that the only organization that can replace them is the NCRI and the MEK.”
Former US Senator Joe Lieberman echoed the praise of Maryam Rajavi, calling her the “strongest of leaders”, and said that he stands with Maryam Rajavi and the NCRI. While current Senator Martha McSally said that the US stands with the “brave Iranian people”, who are risking their lives for freedom and former US House Speaker Newt Gingrich said that is committed to doing whatever is needed to help free Iran.
Lance Gooden, a member of the US House of Representatives, said: “The members of the US Congress are behind you. We all agree that the people of Iran deserve to be free. Thank you to Madame Rajavi for everything she’s done. I want to encourage young people to continue your fight, your resistance. You’re not alone. The people of the United States are with you.”
Khalid al-Yamani, the former prime minister of Yemen, wished the Iranian people luck in defeating the regime, saying that the Yemeni people stand with the Iranians.
Regime terrorism and warfare
There is no denying that Iran is the number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world; indeed they have been responsible for some unspeakable acts in the Middle East and the world, namely targeting the MEK.
Gosselin spoke about the horrific attempted bombing of the Free Iran rally in Paris in 2018, which was thankfully thwarted by European authorities. He noted that the diplomat in charge of executing the attack is now on trial, but stressed that all regime agents should be expelled from foreign countries.
Maryam Rajavi concurred and said that this attack showed that the regime “will not hesitate to perpetrate any crime or pay any price to destroy [the] MEK and the Iranian Resistance, which it views as an existential threat”.
She then noted that the money the regime spent on terrorism in the Middle East and further afield was stolen from the Iranian people, sometimes from the theft of natural resources and sometimes from money given in the form of sanctions relief from Western countries. While Harper said that the regime makes terrorism and warmongering a priority above the safety of the Iranian people and explained that the mullahs have broken all their commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal.
Yamani noted that the regime’s expansionist policies are, in a clear violation of international law, conducted through its terrorist proxies, which makes the regime a threat to the Middle East as a whole.
On a related topic, Theresa Payton, the CEO of a cybersecurity company, spoke about how the regime is using cyber warfare to attack the “critical infrastructure” of other countries.
Dealing with the regime
Given all this, how should the regime be dealt with by other governments? Well, the conference attendees recommended a strong hand.
Offord called on the British government to join the US’s maximum pressure campaign to deny Iran the money and the weapons that it needs to commit acts of terrorism. This was echoed by Lieberman and McSally, who said that the maximum pressure policy weakened the regime and that negotiations had failed to stop the suppression of Iranians or the regime’s pursuit of terrorism and nuclear weapons.
Lieberman said: “We have reached a point that we can conclude after all that has been tried with this criminal syndicate, nothing has worked.”
The regime is in a precarious place, unable to move without failure. Maryam Rajavi said that if they continue with their current path – terrorism, missile launches, repressions, and the like – “they will inevitably crash headfirst”, but they cannot retrace their steps without undermining their repressive rule for the past 40 years. While Gingrich stressed that the regime is only getting weaker, which is why they have been more aggressive than usual, and Harper said that the mullahs are “ready to fall and [be] replaced”.
Simply, the mullahs will fall, it’s just a matter of when so international governments should be very wary about whose side they end up on. History will judge them for any concessions made to the regime now.
Crackdown on dissidents
As mentioned, the regime’s main target for abuse is the MEK because they pose a threat to the continued rule of the mullahs. As such, there is always plenty to talk about when it comes to acts of violence against dissidents, but one special point is that the mullahs never manage to stop the MEK.
Giuliani spoke about the Iranian people’s November uprising, where 1,500 protesters were killed by the regime’s forces and noted that “despite the murders”, protests are only growing.
While Payton spoke about the regime’s disinformation campaign against the MEK and its censorship of the internet, both of which are designed to stop Iranians from rising up against the mullahs. She called for the US to help end the censorship so that Iranians can more easily bring freedom to their country.
Martin Patzelt, a member of the Human Rights Commission of the German Bundestag, said that the regime was responsible for “forty years of crimes against humanity and corruption, killing and torturing”, which is why the people want a new Iran; one promised by the MEK.
He said: “The regime wanted the people to forget the MEK. But the active role of the MEK prevented this from happening… Germany and the European Union must support the changing forces in and outside Iran. An alternative that is peaceful is available.”
Indeed. Soon the regime will be nothing but ashes and a new Iran will grow out of it, led by Maryam Rajavi. That will be a good day. Until then, we fight on.