The MEK holds frequent conferences, but this weekend’s gathering is their annual meeting with 100,000 participants from all over the world. Some of the speakers are from US, including Giuliani and Gingrich.
Trump has also taken several steps in line with the group’s desire to oust Iran’s Islamist rulers. They include Trump’s exit from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which the MEK repeatedly supported, and increased sanctions and other pressure that Trump aides hope will weaken the regime in Tehran.
On Tuesday, a State Department official announced that other nations, including China and India, must stop purchasing Iranian oil by Nov. 4 or face U.S. sanctions. Iran is already experiencing significant economic pain, sparking a series of recent protests that have rekindled hopes in Washington for a popular revolution that would install a more moderate government.
State Department and White House officials declined to speak on the record or on background when asked whether the Trump administration has had any contact with the MEK or its affiliates.
Giuliani, the former New York City mayor has spoken at MEK events in the past, and openly talked about the possibility of MEK rule in Iran. Gingrich, another long-time MEK backer, confirmed that he will attend the Paris event.
Newt Gingrich argues that the MEK has been unfairly “maligned.” “In meetings I have been in, they draw very large, enthusiastic crowds and have sustained a spirit of opposition,” Gingrich says. “Their sources inside Iran including reporting on recent mass demonstrations indicate a level of support greater than any other group I have seen.”
MEK and the US
The appearance of Giuliani and Gingrich at the conference and many other former US officials from both side of Isles has been seen as a symbol of the vast support MEK enjoys among many policy makers.
The MEK, has attracted allies from across the U.S. political spectrum. Other scheduled speakers listed by the group for Saturday include former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat, and Francis Townsend, who served as Homeland Security Adviser in the Republican presidential administration of George W. Bush.
The Clinton administration in a bid to appease the Mullahs, designated the MEK as a terrorist group in 1997. Iranian mullahs’ advocates also carried out a demonizing campaign against the MEK to delegitimize its struggle against the mullah’s regime. They accuse the MEK of crimes that only the regime and its proxies commit throughout Iran and the Middle East.
After several court rulings the Obama administration reversed the group’s terrorist designation in 2012. Majority of Iranians believe that MEK is waging a heroic fight against Iran’s repressive theocratic government, and it was MEK that revealed Iran’s secret nuclear program originally in 2002 awakening an unaware world to a true upcoming threat.
The MEK supports a secular democratic government in Iran based on a republic and popular vote.
The MEK is led by Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, whose 10-point plan for future Iran has been seen as the most democratic program of any opposition in the world.
Despite what some Iranian mullahs’ advocates claim that MEK is hoping for the Trump administration to change the regime in Iran, MEK believes that the regime change will come from within and by the Iranian people and their true resistance movement.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a speech laying out U.S. policy towards Iran, listing 12 demands that many analysts said were tantamount to a call for regime change.
“It’s not about changing the regime,” he told Voice of America’s Persian language service. “It’s about changing the behavior of the leadership in Iran to comport with what the Iranian people really want them to do.”
Iranian Mullahs’ and MEK
The new economic pressure from Washington is taking a toll on Iran. Several large European companies have said they’ll quit the Iranian market to avoid potential U.S. penalties. Further rattling Iran’s economy were remarks from a State Department official, speaking on the background to reporters Tuesday, who said the Trump administration expects other countries to stop purchasing Iranian oil, the country’s top export.
The news, which rocked oil markets, further dashed the hopes of Iranians who believed the nuclear deal might transform the country’s economy but have endured continued economic stagnation. That contributed to a wave of demonstrations in December and January which were snuffed by a harsh government crackdown that reportedly left at least 50 dead and thousands arrested.
Protests have flared again in recent days, apparently driven by the economic conditions of the country. As in the December-January protests, there were also Iranians who openly criticized the regime and demanded that it stop spending money on military activities in other countries and invest more on its citizens at home.
The senior State Department official who spoke to reporters on Tuesday seized that narrative.
“Iranians are basically fed up with the regime squandering the nation’s wealth on not-particularly productive ventures abroad,” the official said. “This situation exists because of the regime’s behavior.”
The protests and speech of Khamenei, the supreme leader blaming the MEK for organizing the protests was a clear proof of MEK popular support inside Iran and its power to organize the biggest and widespread uprising all over Iran, yet Iran advocates were trying to say that MEK had nothing to do with the uprising and people of Iran do not support the MEK. The facts were so concrete that on 3 January 2018 Iran’s Channel 2 television network revealed the facts by explaining its version of MEK’s rule in organizing the uprising:
“The MEK formed a social headquarters and used the area of networking. In the integration of Twitter and the Telegram they used the social networking platform, it was actually directed with Twitter, processing and producing the initial content with the Instagram, completing the content…
In the second phase, they (MEK) tried to quickly turn the chaos to armed operations, and to end up with capturing the cities. In the third phase, while the security forces were busy in a large geographically areas, they (MEK) would dispatch foreign terrorists and they would capture the cities in the second phase by terrorist operations and killings, such as the Syria and Libya model, and military operations would move from cities to the center of the provinces, and from the provinces to Tehran.
At the beginning, on Friday, when the gatherings were formed at 32 points, the slogans changed towards overthrow of the system and chaos and clashes… The slogans were the same everywhere. The leaders sometimes had uniform clothing. Most of the cities that they [MEK] had called for demonstration, were the cities with minimum security forces. On Friday they tested, and when the test was successful, for Saturday they called for demonstration in 72 points, and in 40 points or more conflicts and clashes occurred, the conflicts quickly turned to the killing phase On Saturday, unfortunately two people were killed, Saturday, was the phase of chaos. Since Saturday, they have been trying hard to expedite the phase of turmoil and start armed operations in small cities.
On Sunday, they (MEK) increased the number of cities and called for demonstrations in 120 points, and in more than 52 points they created conflict and clashes… They (MEK) made a lot of preparations for Monday and they called for 139 cities for demonstrations, and if the social media was not shut down, on Monday we would have witnessed the armed operations for capturing the cities and…”
In recent days people in Tehran took to the streets once again, showing that the uprising is alive and despite all the suppressive measures of the regime and their propaganda, people of Iran are truly seeking a regime change.
The protesters slogans says it all, they chanted: Death to the Dictator; Death to Khamenei; Death to the principle of the Velayat-e Faqih; Beware of the day we get armed; Reformist, conservatives, the story is over; Cannon, tank, firecracker, Khamenei must be killed ; Down with high prices ; Our enemy is right here, they falsely claim it is the US; We close down Bazaar, we shall free Iran; Iranians will die but shall never accept humiliation; We shall die and will get back Iran; Do not be afraid, do not be afraid, we are all together; and …
Many American officials also supported people’s uprising. Secretary Pompeo, using his official Twitter handle, has sent out a series of images and comments in recent days emphasizing the plight of ordinary Iranians. On Wednesday, Pompeo tweeted out a photo that appeared to show Iranians protesting.
“It should surprise no one #IranProtests continue,” he wrote. “People are tired of the corruption, injustice & incompetence of their leaders. The world hears their voice.”
The “Free Iran” Gathering on Saturday June 30, will do just that, echo the voices of the Iranian protesters and political prisoners to the world. The Event will show that Iranian people have a voice. A voice away from all mullahs and the religious dictatorship. #FreeIran2018