Iran’s Opposition Presents a Credible Secular Alternative to the Current Clerical Regime
The main opposition to Iran’s clerical regime, operating under the umbrella of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), has declared that the time has come to overthrow the regime. As Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the NCRI’s president-elect, declared to the recent Free Iran Summit, “a force capable of overthrowing the regime is lurking in the heart of Iranian cities. From all indications, the ruling theocracy is at the point of being overthrown,”
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Iran Rising Up for Freedom | Resistance Units Key to Victory #IStandWithMaryamRajavihttps://t.co/RfWQh1Wcn0
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 20, 2020
Only a few years ago, these words may have seemed a little premature. But Tehran has failed to eliminate the NCRI and its main component, the Mojahedin-e Khalk (PMOI / MEK Iran) and all indications are that the regime is running scared, mired in economic and social incompetence and up to its neck in foreign terrorist adventurism and nuclear bomb developments.
The NCRI is a coalition, composed of several different groups all opposed to the regime. It is essentially a government waiting for its turn to lead Iran towards a secular and democratic future. Thousands of Iranian, Arab, and Western supporters rally behind its cause.
The main aims of the NCRI and MEK are:
- social freedom and justice;
- the removal of the clerical regime of the mullahs; and
- universal suffrage and people’s sovereignty.
One American ex-governor and U.S. secretary of homeland security, Tom Ridge, is vocal in his support for the NCRI. He was instrumental in getting the MEK declassified as a “terrorist organization’ in the U.S. in 2012. He spoke at length at the Free Iran Summit about his doubts that the MEK was a terrorist organization “I began every day, for several years, in the Oval Office alongside President George Bush is presented with a threat report. I never ever saw a reference to the MEK in any plot that threatened Americans or American interests.”
The NCRI is now being seen both in Iran and elsewhere in the world as the most important organization involved in the resistance to the regime. Ridge says that in the U.S. there is bipartisan recognition of the role of the NCRI. He says that this in the interests of both the Iranian people themselves but for other states in the region affected by the regime and the U.S. Ridge told the Summit attendees that “recognizing the existence of both an internal and external opposition group that rejects terrorism and embraces principles like gender equality and, most importantly, a non-nuclear Iran seems to be in everyone’s best interest in the globe, not to mention regional states such as Saudi Arabia.”
The NCRI has been targeted by the Iranian regime man times in its 40-year history. It was originally founded by Massoud Rajavi and Iranian ex-President Abolhassan Banisadr after fleeing from Iran in 1981.
The #FreeIran2020 Global Summit at Ashraf 3 was the voice of the largest organized resistance in #Iran’s history, with the roaring river of its martyrs’ blood, echoing the calls for the clerical regime’s overthrow during successive uprisings from December 2017 to January 2020. pic.twitter.com/FJpQcrVF77
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) July 24, 2020
The worst violence against the NCRI and its supporters was in 1988 when an estimated 30,000 supporters and members were slaughtered by the regime. Attacks against the NCRI have continued with one of the most recent a failed bomb attack against the Free Iran Summit in Paris in 2018. The perpetrators of this attack were caught before anyone was injured or killed and are still in prison in Belgium.
It is largely because the NCRI and constituent groups like the MEK have been the target of state-sponsored terrorism that they are so strongly opposed to the regime’s use of terror and its funding of terrorist groups outside of Iran.
Ridge says about these terrorist activities of the Iranian regime that “if an oppressive regime highlights an internal and external group as the enemy of the state, then there’s a pretty good justification to conclude that they’re fearful that their appeal is large.”
The NCRI believes that the regime is now paying far more attention to the organization’s activities and its growing appeal in Iran itself. The West is also becoming far more aware that the NCRI represents a credible democratic alternative to the regime in Iran.
“Another Iranian individual has been designated by Albanian authorities as persona non grata (unwelcomed element) for his actions against the Iranian opposition People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) in Albania."#Iranhttps://t.co/SrAegv3t8B
— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) July 23, 2020
According to a member of the NCRI’s foreign affairs committee, Ali Safavi, in an interview with the Arab News, the group “aims to pave the way for more uprisings, like those witnessed in November 2019.” Its activities are only going to intensify in the coming months after the Free Iran Summit.
Safavi went on to say that the NCRI will “step up its campaign to hold the regime leaders accountable for their atrocities, first and foremost the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners.” The organization will aim to “break the climate of fear and repression” which the regime exercises both in Iran against its own citizens and the region.
Both Maryam Rajavi and Ali Safavi are veterans of the first Iranian Revolution which deposed the Shah in 1979 and it looks increasingly likely that the will be at the forefront of leading the next revolution against the current regime. The next revolution, say the NCRI, will be one that puts the Iranian people first, not the mullahs. If the NCRI is right about what is happening in Iran, the revolution could come sooner than might have been predicted.
Tags: #FreeIran2018, 1988 Massacre, Ashraf 3, Human Rights, Iran Diplomat Terrorist, Iran Opposition, Maryam Rajavi, Massoud Rajavi, MEK, Mujahedin-e Khalq, National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), PMOI