On the cusp of the first anniversary of the November 2019 protests in Iran, the Iranian coalition opposition Nationa Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) held an online conference, homaging to over 1,500 peaceful protesters who fallen for freedom and justice. At the time, fearing the expansion of protests, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei ordered the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), Basij paramilitary forces, and the State Security Forces (SSF) to “Do whatever it takes to end ‘unrest.'”

On November 15, 2019, hundreds of thousands of fed-up citizens flooded into the streets in more than 190 cities across Iran to demonstrate their wrath against gasoline price hikes. However, the government’s violent response turned protesters’ economic grievances into demands for political changes and the overthrow of the entire ruling system.

The ayatollahs suppressed nationwide protests via lethal force. However, as the authorities bluntly say, “The people’s protests did not finish,” and fed-up citizens will return to the streets with harsh means.

At the event, participants also commemorated the enormous bravery shown by youths, particularly supporters of the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) known as Resistance Units.

As the keynote speaker, the NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi began her remarks by commending outrage people’s courage and determination for toppling the religious dictatorship ruling Iran.

NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi

“The uprising in November 2019 was neither indiscriminate nor spontaneous… It had no ties with any of the regime’s factions and no connections to any world power or government,” she said.

“On the contrary, the November uprising emanated from the Iranian people’s independent and liberating resolve.

“It was a genuine example of a revolt and a struggle to overthrow the regime. Its driving force was the deprived but aware youths inspired by Resistance Units. It was an example that implemented the strategy of the PMOI/MEK, the strategy of Resistance Units, and Rebellious Cities.

“In November 2019, the regime began killing protesters from the onset. The slaughter took on a much greater scale on November 17, upon Khamenei’s order. He told his suppressive agencies to ‘fulfill their duties’ with regard to the protesters. This was an order for a ruthless massacre,” Rajavi added.

Íngrid Betancourt, Former Colombian Presidential Candidate

“It is our duty to point our fingers at the criminals who murdered protesters in Iran. World leaders must take action now. What happens in Iran has consequences in our daily lives. The religious terrorism that strikes our streets has been financed by Iran. This has been shown in numerous trials, including the one being held this month in Antwerp, Belgium,” Betancourt said.

“The social classes who are thought to be the legitimizing backbone of the regime were the ones who were chanting slogans against Khamenei and Rouhani in the streets and were shot to death by security forces,” she added.

Swedish MP Magnus Oscasrsson

“We need to work for democracy in Iran. We need change, a standard democracy. In different cities, people are rising up and saying it’s enough. It’s time for Sweden to support Iranian democracy. My friends, don’t give up, we stand with you in this struggle for freedom and fundamental rights,” Oscasrsson said.

British MP Theresa Villiers

“The international community must now intervene to stop the culture of impunity in Iran in order to prevent another massacre of dissidents in the regime’s prisons. Silence is not an option and the international community and Western democracies must stand with the Iranian people and the organized Resistance movement as they continue to challenge the regime to establish a free and democratic Iran,” said Villiers, former British Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

“The NCRI and its president-elect Madam Rajavi have put forward a democratic platform for a future Iran and spearhead the global campaign to hold the regime to account for its past and current human rights abuses and crimes against humanity.

“I urge the UK Government to support the struggle for accountability and a democratic change in Iran by recognizing and engaging with the NCRI as the true representative of the Iranian people and their democratic aspirations. The UK must also take the lead in Europe to increase pressure on the regime in Iran through punitive measures and proscribing the IRGC in its entirety,” she added.

Behrouz Maghsoudi, representative of the Iranian Youths Association in Norway

“The November 2019 uprising was clearly a rebellion against the religious fascism in our country. The protesters knew that they will neither have the freedom nor decent livelihoods as long as the regime is in power… The November 2019 protester wanted the overthrow of the regime in its entirety and the establishment of a democratic republic, chanting: ‘Down with Khamenei,’ ‘We don’t want the mullahs’ regime,’ and ‘Death to the tyrant, be it the Shah or the Supreme Leader,’” Maghsoudi said.

“The Union of Democratic Youth has the following points to make:

1- Iranian society is in an explosive state. The only solution for Iran is the overthrow of the regime

2- The November 2019 protests showed that the people endorse the strategy of Resistance Units and rebellion to overthrow this regime. There is no solution to this regime.

3- The regime considers the Iranian Resistance as its main threat and will not refrain from any crime to eliminate the opposition.

4- There’s a need for a firm policy to prevent the regime’s terrorism. All embassies of the regime must be shut down. The IRGC and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) must be designated as terrorist entities.

5- We want the freedom of all political prisoners,” he added.

Dr. Ramesh Sepehrrad, Adjunct Faculty at George Mason University

“The message of the uprising was that the regime must go and it is on the verge of collapse… The regime’s tactics of terrorism and repression to scare the people are no longer effective. Generation after generation, the people of Iran have stood and supported the MEK. The resistance has its roots in Iranian society,” Sepehrrad said.
“The mullahs have not refrained from any tactic to eliminate the MEK, including terrorism, rocket attacks, demonization campaigns, and the execution of MEK members and supporters. All the while MEK members in Ashraf 3 and the Resistance Units inside Iran have become the regime’s nightmare,” he added.

Omid Behrooz, Dentist and spokesperson of the Iranian Associations in Norway

“The main strategy for change in Iran lies in disbanding the IRGC, not working with them as some have proposed. The symbol of this strategy is the Resistance Units. This is the solution that the regime is afraid of, and the reason why the regime is focused on terrorism and propaganda against the Iranian Resistance,” Dr. Behrooz said.

MEK member Niloofar Alamian

“We are proud of this generation that has stood up against the monstrous, blood-thirsty regime and is treading the path of overthrowing this regime, which was started by Iranian Resistance leader Massoud Rajavi and continues to this day… We were thrilled to see the women of my country leading the protests and being the first to chant ‘Down with Khamenei!'” said Alamian.

“Hearing these stories reminded me of the stories of my brave sisters in Ashraf, Iraq, who resisted against the brutal proxy forces of the Iranian regime. We have learned from Maryam Rajavi that we can and we must. These days, we are learning that we must all think like Madam Rajavi and prove that we can and we must,” she added.

Mitchell Reiss, Director of Policy Planning at the Department of State and U.S. Special Envoy for Northern Ireland

“These protests took place because the Iranian people only wish what people all over the world wish for – the basic human right to live in freedom, to raise your family without fear, to elect honest officials who will represent your best interests and not steal from you, and to live a life of dignity,” Amb. Reiss said.

“You and your colleagues all over Iran have made it clear that you want a change from this illegitimate regime,” he added.

Princess Zamaa Swazi Dlamini-Mandela, human rights activist and granddaughter of the late South African President Nelson Mandela

“The Iranian people are in need of peace, justice, and political prosperity. The people of Iran reject tyranny and demand freedom… The people of Iran have turned to the international community to boycott the regime. The NCRI led by Maryam Rajavi is the Iranian people’s opposition to the current regime,” said human rights activist Zamaa Swazi Dlamini-Mandela.

Theresa Payton, White House Chief Information Officer for President George W. Bush

“Iran’s goal is to drive positive news about its current regime and manipulate its own people to ensure undying support for its political interests. The regime bans social media but its officials have access to them,” said cybersecurity expert Payton.

“The Iranian regime is engaged in creating fake accounts on Twitter and other social media outlets to spread misinformation against the Iranian opposition, namely the MEK. Iran’s regime hides behind cyber operatives and fake personas… Iranian hackers hacked into encrypted apps to gather intelligence. The regime is meddling in the affairs of the United States,” she added.

Belgian Senator Else Ampe

“The Iranian government’s violence is condemned by the UN and Amnesty International. I demand the immediate release of all protesters detained in justified protests. The people of Iran can’t even speak their minds… To the people of Iran, your victory will be cherished and your path will be followed. You are the future of Iran and you will prevail,” said Sen. Ampe.

MEK member Behnam Karimi

“The generations who for decades were bombarded by regime propaganda are now stepping foot in the path of the MEK. The regime will not refrain from any means to stay in power. The regime is engaged in widespread propaganda efforts against the MEK to justify killing their members and supporters. The regime fears the MEK because they are organized and united, with the will and power to fight for freedom,” said Karimi.

“The MEK has a well-known leader who has a long-standing history of fighting for freedom through trials and tribulations. The MEK has not surrendered to the regime under any circumstances and has made sacrifices,” he added.

“Maryam Rajavi has empowered the women of Iran, who are suppressed by the regime, and women have leadership roles in the MEK. The mullahs try to portray its enemies as the enemies of Islam, but the MEK has since its founding rejected any religious divides between the people and have only recognized one division: the oppressors and the oppressed. The MEK is fighting for the rights of every Iranian individual,” Karimi concluded.

Norwegian MP Geir Sigbjorn Toskedal, Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee

“I want to emphasize that the Iranian population is among the youngest populations in the world with more than 40% born after the 1979 revolution. They were born and raised under the current dictatorship but on every occasion, they have shown their desire for freedom and democratic values that we cherish in the West,” said MP Toskedal.

“Last year 1,500 protesters, mostly young people but including dozens of children were massacred in hundreds of cities across Iran. Indiscriminate shootings by the regime’s IRGC and security forces, including snipers, created a shockwave across the world. However, I believe firmly that the international response to a crime of this magnitude was not adequate at all and we need to do a lot more. Re-imposing UN sanctions against this brutal regime are amongst them,” he added.

Neda Amani, women’s football team coach in Switzerland

“We, Iranian youth despise appeasement and appeasers who stand with the Iranian regime and don’t recognize our people’s rights… We will stand against the appeasement policy and will not allow any government to support the tyrannical goals of the regime. We will overthrow this regime,” said Amani.

“Whether the regime and its appeasers like it or not, the voice of our people is echoed by Iranian Resistance Units… We will stand against the regime and its lobbies across the globe and won’t allow them to demonize the MEK and the resistance movement,” she added.

Ali Fatemi, President of the Iranian Youth Association of Luxembourg

“The November uprising started because of the price of gasoline, yet since the people are fed up with the regime, it spread across the country and everyone stressed that they wanted regime change,” said Fatemi.

“The slogan ‘Down with Khamenei!’ echoed in every town and street. This is a movement that continues, and we’ve seen it on numerous occasions after the November 2019 protests… This uprising also showed the unprecedented role of the MEK, which was certified by Khamenei himself and other regime officials,” he added.