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NCRI Summit: Day 2

Supporters of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin - Free Iran Summit 2021

ON Sunday, July 11, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) hosted the second day of its 2021 Free Iran World Summit, which is held every year to promote and support regime change in Iran by and for the Iranian people.

It’s a vital event every year, but especially now that the society is so explosive because of all the crises that are facing the Iranian people, including the coronavirus, the economic collapse, and the constant repression by the mullahs.

Sunday’s event featured global dignitaries from across Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, who showed their support for Iranians in speeches throughout the day. This is what we’ll be looking at in this overview of the Sunday Summit.

First to speak was NCRI President Maryam Rajavi, who gave a frank message to the international community, urging all world leaders to end their appeasement of the mullahs’ regime, which she called “a nuclear-armed butcher”, particularly as it’s now on the brink of collapse.

Rajavi noted that the regime is well aware of its imminent overthrow, which is why the mullahs have “closed ranks and installed a mass murderer as [their] president”. This is a reference to Ebrahim Raisi, known for his role in the 1988 massacre and the crushing of the 2019 uprising.

She said that while the Iranian people are facing various crises, including water shortages, power outages, and food deprivation, the regime has enough money to solve these issues if only they would stop its nuclear program, terrorism, warmongering, and domestic repression. Rajavi further denied that the money issues were down to sanctions because when concessions were granted under the nuclear deal, that money did not improve the lives of Iranians.

She said: “Despite all these sufferings, the Iranian people and their Resistance are determined to overthrow the religious dictatorship. And it will not matter if the regime is nuclear-armed or not, we will overthrow it.”

Next to speak was the British delegation. Former Speaker of the UK House of Commons, Baroness Betty Boothroyd, spoke about the sham presidential elections and Resistance-led boycott last month.

She said: “The people of Iran were not given a choice, but they made their choice very clear indeed. When the time came their choice was a resounding national boycott of the regime’s phony election. The people showed to the Iranian dictators and the world that they want genuine change and not a masquerade of a statesman.”

Boothroyd said that Western powers must support Rajavi, the NCRI, and the Iranian people and adopt a firm policy against the regime, which includes holding its leaders to account for crimes against humanity.

Afterward, Baroness Sandy Verma, the former British Under-Secretary of State for International Development, spoke about the importance of the “democratic alternative” to the regime, which has support domestically and internationally.

She said: “[It provides] the people of Iran with a viable roadmap to establish a free and democratic and secular republic which will bring Iran out of the dark to find its rightful place amongst the free nations of the world… The future of Iran is determined by its people, and they have risen under the leadership of women to secure a free and democratic Iran.”

Verma called on the West to recognize and support the Resistance, as well as hold Raisi accountable in court for crimes against humanity.

British MP Steve McCabe said that the West should have heeded the Resistance’s warnings years ago, rather than trying to appease the regime, so that they would not have conceded so much over the failed nuclear deal. He called this “a second chance” and said that the world should stand with “the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people”.

Shortly after, MP Matthew Offord also showed support for Rajavi, the Resistance, and their ten-point plan for a free Iran.

He said: “We have seen the selection of a known perpetrator of gross human rights violations Ebrahim Raisi as the next president in Iran meanwhile the regime continues to rich uranium to 65% without any credible civilian use and refuses to cooperate with either the IAEA or the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran. Any honest observer today can see that the Iranian people want a different Iran, an Iran free from the religious dictatorship.”

Then, it was the turn of the French delegation to address the conference. First up, was MP Philippe Gosselin who stressed that the Resistance has the support of the French parliament and asked the international community to support Rajavi and end the suffering of Iranians.

Next to speak was MP Michèle de Vaucouleurs, who said: “We are in solidarity with the cause of freedom of Iran and Mrs. Maryam Rajavi. We support the fight against terrorism. We are proud to call on our authorities to take action on Iran’s terrorist activities and its repression of its people. The recent election in Iran has confirmed there are no moderates in Iran.”

French MP André Chassaigne then spoke about how the Iranian regime has destabilized the region, which threatens not just the surrounding countries but also Western countries like France, especially through its ballistic missile program and expansionism. He also advised that the regime is in “decline”, which is why they are seeing more protests across the country. The regime, he suggests, knows this because they’ve “appointed a butcher as its president” to hide its weak state.

Shortly after, former French foreign affairs advising minister Alain Vivien also advised that the regime is trying to hide its crises through the election sham, explaining that the regime is “is running out of breath due to their own mismanagement”, so the world must now support the Iranian people and Resistance. Vivien advised that the first step must be ending Iran’s armed interventions in Middle East countries and the development of nuclear and ballistic missiles.

The co-president of the Committee of French Representatives for a Democratic Iran, Jean-François Legaret, said: “We cannot qualify this regime as a democratic state. There’s no room for freedom in this regime. The new head of state oversaw repression and executions in Iran. The mullahs’ regime is not capable of dealing with the covid pandemic. The state is ruining Iranian society. And the new president is part and parcel of the corrupt elite. He is incapable of governing Iran.”

Next up was the former mayor of Magny-en-Vexin Jean-Pierre Muller, who stressed that the regime doesn’t respect human rights, as seen by Raisi’s appointment as president, and cannot cope with the crises, which is why the people are protesting and held a nationwide uprising in 2019.

Afterward, the European Parliament delegation took the stage, with MEP Antonio López-Istúriz White stressing how difficult the current situation is for Iranians and they are showing their protest in any way that they can, from boycotting the election to writing anti-regime graffiti on walls.

He said: “The international community must respond adequately and hold Raisi to account for his past and future actions. The European Union itself has tools at its disposal for this and we should make use of it. Raisi’s rise to power is a direct consequence of the international community’s appeasement towards Iran. It is another proof that much like we have seen over the past 40 years this regime is incapable of reforms.”

The next person to speak was Spanish MEP Francisco Javier Zarzalejos Nieto who said that it was “appalling” not only that Raisi had taken part in the 1988 massacre of political prisoners but also that he’s publicly defended his role.

He said: “We cannot have business as usual. We cannot close our eyes to human rights violations and the repression of women. We cannot ignore the Iranian regime of terrorism. We have to show our commitment to democracy and human rights, and our support for the Iranian people. The threats of terrorism and abduction by the clerical regime doubles the need for a firm policy vis-a-vis the regime.”

Lithuania MEP Petras Austrevicius said that the Iranian elections didn’t surprise those following the situation closely, saying that the mullahs are doing everything to keep the regime in power “against the people’s will” and promising to do all that they can to support the people’s democratic plans.

Then, former Lebanese Interior Minister Ahmad Fatfat spoke about how the regime is destroying the Middle East through “religious sedition” and “destructive wars”, not least the funding of terrorist groups like Hezbollah, which has been destroying Lebanon for years.

He said: “We must refuse the mullahs’ rule. We must promote peace and collaboration. We must pressure Europe and the U.S. to avoid the trap of the nuclear deal… We in Lebanon completely support [the Resistance]. The democratic resistance is a support for us. We are on the same boat.”

Afterward, the conference aired videos from all types of Iranians showing support for the Resistance and contempt for the regime, which is a major risk as the regime often kills dissidents.

The former Lebanese Justice Minister General Ashraf Rifi then said: “We need to stand fast behind the NCRI. The regime is trying to stop these efforts and continue to expand its interests. I salute the Iranian people who have suffered from the regime, as have the people of Lebanon and other countries of the region.”

Then, two ambassadors spoke to the conference. Yemen Ambassador to France, Dr. Riyadh Yassin advised that Iran is supporting the Houthi militias in Yemen and helping to prolong the civil war there, as well as “instigating terrorism and killings”.

He said: “We are confident victory will come, inside Iran as well as the region where Iran’s militias are wreaking havoc. We will never lose hope. We are sure that there is no other path than the restoration of peace and stability.”

The former Jordon ambassador to Iran Bassam Al-Omoush said that the regime doesn’t help the people and is, in fact, a “fake democracy”.

He said: “We wish to have good relations with the Iranian people, but the regime is meddling in our countries. We wish for change in Iran. This regime is a religious tyranny, wasting the people’s money on bombs and terrorism and atrocities.”

The next delegation to speak to the conference was from Albania, which is really important because many thousands of members of the Iranian Resistance have been offered refuge in Albania since 2016 as part of an international campaign to save them from the persecution of the regime.

First to address the Summit was Edmond Spaho, head of the Democratic Party, who stressed that the whole country of Albania supports everyone “suppressed” by the regime and is deeply concerned about continuing “brutal” human rights abuses, which he then condemned.

He said: “As part of Albania’s foreign policy against terrorism our government expelled the Iranian ambassador in Albania as well as three diplomats of the Iranian embassy for their engagements in terrorist plots against the [Resistance] in Tirana. [We] support the National Council of Resistance of Iran as the legitimate alternative to bring about peace and freedom in Iran.”

Elona Gjebrea, the Secretary of the Albanian Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, spoke next, telling the conference that the regime is desperate to survive, which is why they installed Raisi as president. He said that Raisi must be brought to justice and echoed his support for the Iranian people’s uprising for freedom.

Then, former MP Namik Koplikut said: “We have the moral obligation to support you. This regime represents evil. We will fight against the mullahs, and we will support the aspirations of the Iranian people to live in a free and secular and non-nuclear country.”

Another former MP, Klevis Balliu, voiced support for Rajavi and her alternative to the regime, which is based on freedom and democracy.

After them, former German Federal Minister Prof Dr. Rita Süssmuth began to speak about how the Resistance offers a “new beginning” through Rajavi’s ten-point plan for a Free Iran.

She said: “Maryam Rajavi fights with a whole series of emancipated women. Women are not only the force of change but also the force that is building the future. Women are strong and live responsibly, and this belongs to the future of Iran.”

Bundestag Member Martin Patzelt said that European politicians have spent far too long looking for non-existent moderates in Iran and ignoring the democratic alternative, which is the NCRI.

He said: “Nationwide boycotts of the presidential election in Iran have revealed that the regime has completely lost the trust of the people. On the other hand, it shows that the resistance enjoys popular support.”

Kees de Vries, another member of the German Bundestag, agreed, saying that Iranians “certified the illegitimacy of this regime by abstaining from the election” and vowed to stand with the Iranian people.

The Italian delegation was the next to be featured. Secretary-General of the Senate Lucio Malan called forcefully for an end to appeasement and acknowledgment that the regime only wants to increase power through convincing the West that Iran is a real democracy.

MP Antonio Tasso said: “The theocracy has reached its final stage… Now the people have shown that they don’t want this regime and the western world. Europe and Italy must be by the side of the Iranian people and of the organized resistance. The regime is not the solution to the problem. The regime is the cause of the problem. The Iranian people must see that we are with them in their fight for freedom and democracy in their country.”

Fellow MP Stefania Pezzopane explained that “relations with Iran must be conditioned to the improvement of the human rights” and that the EU should not neglect its convictions.

The Scandinavian delegation then made their speeches, with former Finnish Transport and Communications Minister Kimmo Sasi explaining that Iran is “a dictatorship”, which means that appeasement will not work and that revolution is needed. Sasi said that the EU must help this process by bringing the regime to the International Court of Law for crimes against the Iranian people and humanity.

Former Iceland Minister Edvard Júlíus Sólnes said: “Those who wanted to empower “moderates” within the regime are now faced with the reality. The regime has only contempt for western democracies. I say to all political leaders: Do you really think you’re dealing with a democratic government in Iran? No, they are a bunch of criminals.”

Then, former Danish minister Uffe Elbaek explained that the Iranian people “deserve to live in a democratic republic”, which is why he supported Rajavi.

Lars Rise, a former Norwegian MP, advised that he was committed to regime overthrow by and for the people of Iran, saying that Raisi should be in the International Criminal Court in The Hague. He congratulated Rajavi for her continued work to bring “democracy, freedom, and human rights” to Iran.

Next to speak was Azzam al-Ahmad, the President of the Fatah faction in the Palestinian Parliament, who said that their solidarity with the Resistance goes back over 50 years and promising that the country will see freedom soon.

Now, women’s rights advocates began speaking to the Summit. First up was Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela, the daughter of anti-apartheid campaigner and South African President Nelson Mandela.

She said: “Under the current dictatorship in Iran, women are unable to leave their houses without being accompanied, unable to attend school, unable to work unless permitted by their husbands, and are mandated to wear hijabs whenever in public.”

Dlamini-Mandela urged the international community to condemn this abuse of women and support the Iranian people,  acknowledging the bravery of the people who’ve already given their lives to the struggle.

Then, the Founder and President of the Women’s Forum for Economy and Society in France, Aude de Thuin, said: “We have to cry out to the world. We can’t remain silent against this regime. Women have an important role to play. In Iran, they led the 2019 protests. They are courageous. They send courageous messages. We cannot close our eyes to what is happening in Iran.”

The next speaker was Vice-President of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Valentina Leskaj, who praised the Iranian women who bravely fought for freedom and have chosen for Rajavi to lead them into the light.

Ranjana Kumari, the Director of the Centre for Social Research in India, praised Rajavi’s ten-point plan for freedom, which respects fundamental freedoms and equality before the law.

Then, Swiss MP Laurence Fehlmann Rielle said that the Iranian Resistance provides hope that democracy can be restored in Iran and urged the West to end the policy of appeasement and hold the mullahs accountable.

On the opening day of the conference, over 50,000 places over 105 countries were linked up in the biggest virtual event in the history of the Iranian fight for freedom. There were 1,029 politicians, 11 former Prime Ministers, and 70 former ministers who took part, along with many thousands of Iranians.

The Summit will conclude on Monday.

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