Because of the coronavirus, the “Free Iran Global Summit 2020” was held online this year via video conference with participants from 30,000 locations in 102 countries – its biggest ever online conference – and featured speeches from Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), as well as dozens of dignitaries from around the world.
The Iranian regime’s coordinated and pre-planned attack targeted several websites, including Mojahedin.org (the website of the Iranian Resistance group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran or PMOI/MEK) and iranntv.com (the website of the television station run by the Iranian Resistance), both of which were showing the event live. The regime also tried to hack an internet service provider (ISP) in order to redirect searches about the MEK to the malicious sites run by the regime.
Of course, these attacks are not happening in isolation. The regime has also been using disinformation and fake news against the MEK and the Resistance as a whole in order to demonize the movement, placing these defamatory pieces in foreign media outlets.
Despite the regime’s malign efforts, the Free Iran Global summit was one of the most widely viewed and discussed online event in July (and possibly even 2020 as a whole), with Google reporting that there was a 1,000% increase in searches about the MEK in Farsi (the Iranian national language) and English. The regime failed spectacularly in their efforts to suppress calls for freedom and democracy in Iran.
However, the mere fact that the regime tried to do this proves that the mullahs see the MEK as the main threat to their continued rule. After all, when the regime cannot kill Iranian opposition members, it seeks to censor them. The regime has long used Internet censorship and cyber terrorism to hide the fight for a free Iran.
They shut down internet access during the November 2019 protests, which deeply unsettled the Iranian regime, in order to stop the protesters from communicating with each other and the outside world. They are also spending much of the Iranian people’s stolen money to develop online spying technology to monitor the population, particularly with a mind to identify and arrest MEK supporters.