On January 17, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) hosted its latest conference in Auvers-sur-Oise, near Paris, entitled “Holding the Mullahs’ Regime Accountable for Genocide, Terrorism, and Nuclear Defiance. The NCRI’s President-elect, Maryam Rajavi was the keynote speaker for the event, which also featured several prominent former European officials along with several Iranians living abroad.
Mrs. Rajavi was the keynote speaker. “Why do the ruling mullahs respond to the West’s restraint by inciting wars? Why have they expedited their efforts to acquire a nuclear bomb? What provokes their belligerence? Why does Khamenei pursue policies that ostensibly seem to be to be harmful to the regime?
“The answer to all these questions is that the clerical regime is in a state of being overthrown. Yes, Khamenei takes less risks to avoid the great danger of overthrow,” she emphasized.
The NCRI President-elect added, “The regime is brazenly refusing to invest in improving the Iranian people’s livelihood, welfare, health, education, employment, and housing. This situation further intensifies public discontent. Khamenei, however, prefers to reinforce his police-military machine because the regime is in the state of being overthrown.”
Underscoring the West’s harmful policy of appeasement, Mrs. Rajavi said, “Western governments have long paid the price of appeasing the religious fascism from the pockets of the Iranian people. “But now, beyond the interests of the people of Iran and the Middle East, the security and vital interests of Western countries and societies are at stake. “Do Western governments want religious fascism and the central banker of terrorism to arm itself with nuclear weapons?”
Former Prime Minister of Belgium, Guy Verhofstadt, began his speech saying, “We must discuss the systematic impunity of the regime of Iran. It’s our common duty to denounce violations of democracy and human rights. It is our duty to stand up for democracy and fundamental freedoms.”
He emphasized that the impunity that the regime has enjoyed reached its peak in June 2021 when Ebrahim Raisi was appointed as the regime’s new president. Raisi is one of the main perpetrators of the 1988 massacre in Iran, a catastrophic event that saw the murders of over 30,000 political prisoners.
He stated that the time is now for the United Nations to launch an official inquiry, highlighting that, in reference to the massacre’s victims, “Only when justice is done will these families find their peace.”
He concluded his speech by saying, “Failing to investigate the 1988 massacre gives the regime a green light to continue its crimes against the Iranian people.”
John Bercow, the United Kingdom’s former Speaker of the House of Commons, stated in his speech that he wanted to acknowledge the suffering of the Iranian people, and highlighted that his belief is that freedom is the aspiration of all human beings.
He professed to the Iranian people that, “I back your call for a secular and democratic republic and support Mrs. Rajavi’s ten-point plan for a free Iran.”
He also acknowledged that the continual failure of international bodies to act in response to the 1988 massacre “has had a devastating impact on the families of the victims.”
Former Prime Minister of Sweden, Fredrik Reinfeldt referred to the regime’s fundamentalist views of Islam, saying that the mix of authoritarianism and religious dictatorship is “a very dangerous combination.” He questioned how the regime can believe that they are able to rule Iran in the name of God, but at the same time, use that power to cause harm to the country’s citizens.
He said, “We need Europe to join together and stand up for values and push back against authoritarian rules, including the mullahs in Iran. They are a threat to the world by misusing Islam, by seeking nuclear weapons, and by destabilizing the region.”
Franco Frattini, the former Foreign Minister of Italy, shared a similar sentiment to Reinfeldt, stating that “Those who kill or tolerate to kill in the name of God are committing serious blasphemies.”
He recalled his experiences of being part of negotiations in 2003 regarding Iran’s nuclear program. At the time, the Iranian government was in the hands of then-president Mohammad Khatami, and Frattini highlighted that the people within Khatami’s government “were no different from those who are in office today.”
He stated that the regime’s officials have only one preoccupation, which is to blindly follow the orders given to them by the Supreme Leader.
He urged that, “The people of Iran must not feel alone. If a group of countries come together and launch a message that this regime must go, that it cannot use its power to kill its people, if the people of Iran feel supported by the international community, you and your friends in Iran will feel reassured that they have a good group of countries that are ready to raise their voice and take concrete action.”
Recounting their experiences living under the regime’s rule in Iran, several Iranian expats also spoke.
Paria Kohandel told the conference attendees that, “People of my generation are taking to the streets despite the threats of being arrested and tortured and executed and despite the coronavirus pandemic.”
Ali Fatemi explained how he managed to escape Iran during the 2009 protests in the country, which the regime’s security forces heavily crackdown on. Many of Fatemi’s friends were executed following the uprising.
“On behalf of Iranian youth inside Iran and abroad, I thank you for supporting the Iranian Resistance and ask you to condemn this regime and support this movement,” he added.