June 21, March for regime change in Iran by supporters of the MEK in Washington D.C.

MEK Supporters Rally in Washington, D.C. for a Free Iran

 

June 21, March for regime change in Iran by supporters of the MEK in Washington D.C.

Supporters of the MEK, Iran’s principal opposition march in Washington D.C. in solidarity with the Iranian people’s protests for freedom and democracy in Iran-June 21, 2019

MEK supporters and members of the Iranian-American Communities gathered in front of the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C. on Friday for the second in a series of Free Iran rallies that are taking place this summer in world capitals. The Free Iran gathering is an annual event held by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) each summer, but the growth of the Iranian Resistance has led to a total of five rallies this summer.

Participants in the rally called for the international community to recognize the right of the Iranian people to overthrow their oppressors and for the blacklisting of all agents of the Iranian regime.

The event was attended by thousands of members of the Iranian diaspora and included speeches from prominent current and former U.S. politicians. Below are some highlights from the day’s events:

A spokesperson for the Organization of Iranian-American Communities (OIAC) opened the rally with a welcome to attendees. He followed with a call for the U.S. Department of State to designate the Iranian regime Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) as a terrorist organization.

He also asked the U.S. to recognize the NCRI as the viable democratic alternative to the mullahs’ regime. “With this comes to the recognition of an alternative to the Iranian regime,” he said. “Mrs. Maryam Rajavi and the NCRI have demonstrated leadership, a significant network, and the organizational capabilities to free Iran. We support Mrs. Maryam Rajavi in her 10-point plan for a free, democratic and non-nuclear Iran.”

Senator Robert Torricelli

Former U.S. Senator (D-NJ), Former U.S Representative (D-NJ)

Senator Torricelli stressed that the Iranian regime is corrupt and incapable of change. “We’re here to remind our friends in this building and the White House that there are some things about the regime that must be remembered. There is no reforming the mullahs in Tehran,” he said.

Torricelli emphasized, “Terrorists don’t reform! The reality is the mullahs will never change, they will develop nuclear weapons, they will spread terror. We need regime change and we need it now!”

Torricelli stated that democratic change would come from the people of Iran. “Where will new leadership come?” he asked. “It will come from the millions of people in Iran and abroad. The people of Iran are talented and educated. They can run their country in freedom. They don’t need the mullahs to run their country.”

Torricelli addressed European leaders and the United Nations, saying, “If Iran were a nation in Europe, you wouldn’t tolerate the mullahs for a minute because of their executions, the torture, and death. Do the people of Iran deserve less because they don’t live in Europe?”

“The Iranian people deserve what all people deserve: a free country of their own,” the former senator concluded.

Representative Brad Sherman

U.S. Representative (D-CA)

Representative Sherman spoke about the regime’s human rights violations and its exportation of terrorism, saying, “This is a regime known for mass executions, the jailing of journalists, it’s fueling of extremism around the region, and Iranians have stood up at great risk to themselves and shouted, “No Gaza! No Lebanon! No Syria! My life for Iran!”

Sherman expressed his support for the MEK and the Iranian Resistance, saying, “We stand in solidarity with brave Iranians who are fighting for a new chapter in this great nation’s history. This chapter will be written by Iranians, not by Americans.”

He added, “Democracy will come to Iran from Iran, not from U.S. intervention.”

Sherman ended on a hopeful note. “I look forward to the day we see free elections in Iran,” he said.

Representative Tom McClintock

U.S. Representative (R-CA)

Congressman Tom McClintock used his speech to praise the strength of the Iranian Resistance in standing up to the mullahs.

“The Iranian freedom movement has not just endured, it has grown dramatically,” he said. “ As the injustices and the atrocities of the Iranian regime have become so widespread and so despised, as the tyranny of the mullahs has become more extreme, the international resistance to them has become more resolute.”

McClintock condemned the Iranian regime, calling its claim to power “illegitimate.” “[Iran] has been oppressed and plundered by a gang of thugs who have appointed themselves as the rulers of the country. Their claim to power is illegitimate and the time to topple them is approaching. Their desperation is showing both at home and abroad,” he stated.

Representative McClintock referenced the regime’s terrorist activities against MEK members abroad, its acts of aggression toward neighboring countries, and its recent attack on a U.S. drone as examples of the regime’s desperation.

McClintock closed his speech with words of encouragement to the assembled MEK supporters: “Your cause is just, and in the full measure of time, just causes always prevail.”

Maryam Rajavi

President-elect of the NCRI

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi delivered a video message to the rally attendees. She called out the regime for its attempts to distract the Iranian people by painting the U.S. as the enemy. “To fend off the people’s fury, for forty years, the murderous mullahs have pointed their fingers at the U.S. as the enemy. But we were not deceived,” she said.

“Now, the people of Iran cry out in every street and alley that “our enemy is right here; the mullahs lie when they say America is the enemy.”

Indeed, this is a regime whose Constitution has formally replaced people’s sovereignty and universal suffrage with the rule of the mullahs,” she added.

Mrs. Rajavi explained the purpose of spoke the mullahs’ demonization campaign against the MEK. “The disgraceful demonization campaign against the Iranian Resistance in the pro-appeasement media seeks to perpetuate the narrative that the people of Iran are better off with the theocratic rule of the mullahs; There is no alternative, and don’t even think or talk about it,” she said.

Mrs. Rajavi said that this is part of a larger strategy to preserve the policy of appeasement toward the mullahs, which allows them to act without consequences.

“Now,” she said, “If the U.S. administration does not appease the mullahs’ tyranny, it would be a warmonger.”

“If the U.S. obstructs the Iranian regime’s path toward nuclear weapons, it would be a warmonger,” she continued.

Mrs. Rajavi described the cost of appeasement: “When the mullahs pay no price for their conduct, they become more emboldened and go even further. Firing of rockets in Mosul and Basra and the missile attack on the U.S. drone are clear examples,” she said.

Mrs. Rajavi also spoke of the regime’s warmongering in the Middle East and its devastating effect on both regional stability and the Iranian people. “The people of Iran who have been inundated with floods, destitution, and various calamities are crying out, ‘Let go of Syria, think of us instead!’” she said.

She added: “But the regime’s crimes in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, and Afghanistan have so far brought them no serious consequences.”

Mrs. Rajavi emphasized that the regime is beyond reform, saying, “The experience of the past forty years has shown that the theocratic regime is incapable of any reform or change in behavior.”

“We do not want anything more than freedom and human rights, which will open the way for development and justice. This will ensure peace and security in Iran and the Middle East, an Iran free of religious fascism, a non-nuclear Iran, an Iran without terrorism and belligerence,” Mrs. Rajavi concluded.

General Jack Keane

Retired Four Star General and former Vice-Chief of Staff, U.S. Army

General Keane discussed the need to hold the Iranian accountable for its actions. He said, “2018 was a major turning point for Iran. The United States pulled out of the nuclear deal and for the first time in 39 years put Iran on notice.”

Keane addressed the Iranian regime directly. “Using your proxies to drive the wars in Syria and Yemen must stop,” he stressed. “Providing Hamas and Hezbollah with rockets and missiles to attack Israel must stop. Undermining the government of Iraq must stop. Undermining other governments in the region must stop. Building ballistic missiles must stop. You must stop sponsoring terrorism. And you cannot enrich uranium and develop a path to a nuclear weapon. And you must stop repressing your people.”

General Keane described the effects of the U.S. “maximum pressure” campaign on the Iranian economy and noted that “the Iranian people are correctly blaming the Iranian regime and not the United States.”

General Keane said that the U.S. would not back down from its pressure on the Iranian regime, despite its threats and provocation.

Finally, Keane vowed to stand beside the Iranian people. “We will be there with you until you get your homeland and your freedom back,” he said.

Governor Bill Richardson

Former Governor of New Mexico (D), former Secretary of Energy, former Ambassador to the United Nations

Governor Richardson greeted the attendees, pointing out that he had been speaking for the MEK for ten years. He voiced his strong support for the Iranian Resistance in his speech, using his time to hail the strengths of the NCRI and the MEK.

“We need a new regime, and that regime is you, the MEK, the NCRI, the alternative,” Richardson said.

“It’s a strong organization, with a lot of confidence and commitment and leadership abilities. The top leader, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, is a great leader,” he continued.

Governor Richardson enumerated Maryam Rajavi’s ten-point plan for Iran’s democratic future, explaining its merits. He then concluded his speech by saying, “[Mrs. Rajavi’s] ten-point plan sounds like America, it sounds like democracy. If there’s a free Iran and a free election, this is what will happen.”

Senator Bob Menendez

U.S. Senator (D-NJ), Ranking Member Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Senator Menendez sent a written message to the assembled participants at the rally, in which he condemned the Iranian regime for its threats to the United States and its human rights violations to its own people.

He wrote, [A]cross the Middle East, Iran continues to threaten the national security and interests of the United States. It continues to pursue a belligerent, ballistic missile program.”

“The people of Iran suffer under a repressive regime with absolutely no respect for basic human rights and no economic investment in their welfare,” he continued. “I will always support justice and human rights, peace and security and above all else, the rights of all Iranians to fundamental freedoms.”

Senator John Cornyn

U.S. Senator (R-TX), Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Senator John Cornyn also sent a written message to be read at the rally:

“As recent events have demonstrated, the Iranian authoritarian government is a dangerous and destabilizing regional influence that rules its people with an iron fist, suppressing their individual rights and subjecting them to humanitarian abuse. As the largest State sponsor of terror in the world, Iran has bankrolled terrorist organizations that have waged war and undermined regional stability for decades,” his message read.

His statement continued: “It is important to point out that the Iranian people are the greatest victims of this brutal regime. They have struggled under the Ayatollahs for decades. But the struggle of the Iranian people has not gone unnoticed. In order to help the Iranian people, I believe that it is important for the United States to support the Administration’s ‘maximum pressure policy.’ A policy that promotes freedom and individual rights of the people while taking every step necessary to liberate them from the regime’s oppressive rule.”

Following the speeches, demonstrators marched from the State Department to the White House.

Staff writer

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