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Hill TV: Iran, The Untold Story; Maryam Rajavi, and the MEK

Hill TV broadcasts series of documentaries about MEK and Maryam Rajavi

On August 15, 2019, the Hill TV broadcast its ninth segment of “Iran: The Untold Story”. The segment focused on Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran and also the main opposition organization, Mujahedin-e-Khaleq (MEK).

Introducing the biography of the leader of the main Iranian opposition, the president-elect, Maryam Rajavi, The Hill TV said:

“Born into an educated, middle-class family in Tehran, Maryam Rajavi began her activism in college. She called for freedom, justice, and the end of the Shah’s dictatorship. The Shah’s regime imprisoned her brother, a MEK member, in the ‘70s. The secret police, or SAVAK, killed her sister in 1975. After the 1979 revolution, Maryam Rajavi became one of the MEK’s most effective organizers. She ran for Parliament in 1980 and received 250,000 votes despite bans and ballot fraud. As the mullahs cracked down on dissent, many friends were killed. Her younger sister, pregnant at the time, was executed in 1982. She advanced in the MEK and Maryam embraced the role of women even in the military who are shut out of political power by the mullahs.

Speaking of Maryam Rajavi’s initiatives on Women’s rights, The Hill TV added:

Her advocacy for women and 10-point plan for Iran today enjoys wide support among the Iranian people and hundreds of world leaders. Her efforts transformed the group into one of the most progressive political parties in the world, in which women play the leadership role. For her and her movement, gender equality is a plan of action and at the heart of the Free Iran movement…In 1993, Rajavi resigned from the MEK when the NCRI coalition elected her its president-elect. As she has made clear in dozens of interviews, she’s planning now to help run Iran after the fall of the mullahs and to prepare her country for free and fair national elections. Today, Rajavi leads an opposition movement that is considered Tehran’s number one enemy.

“Today, the ruling mullahs fear the role of the Mujahedeen e-Khalq, MEK, and resistance units in leading and continuing the uprisings. At the same time, the regime is surrounded politically and internationally and in economic terms, it is on the verge of collapse.” The HIll TV quoted Maryam Rajavi.

The Hill TV also reported about the annual gathering of the MEK in Albania and said: “In a display of bipartisan global support for her movement, some 350 dignitaries and lawmakers from 47 countries joined thousands of MEK members in their new home in Albania, called Ashraf 3, in July of this year.”

The program continued with an interview with Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the former prosecutor and mayor of New York and attorney to President Trump, about the MEK and his participation in the MEK gathering in Albania.

Concerning a question about his participation in the MEK gathering in Albania and a short background of the MEK, Giuliani said: “I was there for the four-day conference called Free Iran 2019… the conference was about basically how can we replace the regime of Iran with a democratic government, which the MEK has been attempting to do for 20 years…what they are is basically the National Council of Resistance in Iran is headed by Madame Rajavi. She’s the president-elect. And it’s made up of a group of organizations including the MEK that are resistance groups, like the French Resistance, against the Ayatollah. They’ve been active since the revolution. A hundred and twenty thousand of their people have been killed but they still are going strong. And both the ayatollah and Rouhani have announced within the last year that they are the biggest threat to the regime. In the years past, it was always doubted that was created about how strong are they in Iran, how much support do they have. I think that all this has been put to rest now with basically Rouhani’s statement and the Ayatollah’s saying that the MEK, and sometimes they’ll call them the PMOI, is our most dangerous threat, the only one capable of putting a government together, and therefore we’ve got to wipe them out, which is what they do.

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Mayer Giuliani and Maryam Rajavi

Mayor Giuliani: “MEK is a vehicle for democracy in Iran and should have the support of our government”

Mayer Giuliani and Maryam Rajavi

Mayor Rudy Giuliani, during an interview with the Hill TV, discussing MEK and the Iranian opposition leader, President-elect Maryam Rajavi.

Mayor Rudy Giuliani in an interview with the Hill TV described the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK) and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) as a vehicle for democracy in Iran that has proved capable of a functioning government-in-exile.

Rudy Giuliani who recently attended a 5-day conference in Ashraf 3, the main residence of the MEK in Tirana, was asked a question in the interview. If the Iranian regime were to fall and Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the Iranian opposition, was to govern, would she be able to govern during a transition period and prevent chaos? He replied:

“Well, what they do, what they—these are the questions, of course, we ask them all the time, and I’ve seen evidence that they have a functioning government-in-exile. They evaluate the problems in Iran every day. They are enormously active in communicating within Iran. They remind me of the Voice of America in one aspect during the Cold War, which used to broadcast into the Soviet-dominated countries every single day. They broadcast; they try to 24 hours a day. And they have ministers, shadow ministers for each one of the agencies of the government. And they have a plan for transition. And the plan for transition would say they’d put up an interim government immediately and they would attempt to get to a full election within six months so that there’s—so it isn’t an imposed government, it’s a democracy. And her proposition is that she doesn’t want to dominate, she wants to be elected or not elected, or elected to something and they would share leadership with maybe 10, 12 other groups.”

 

Mayor Giuliani talks about MEK in an interview

Mayor Rudy Giuliani in an interview with the Hill TV described the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK) and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) as a vehicle for democracy in Iran that has proved capable of a functioning government-in-exile.

Addressing the American public, Mayor Giuliani describes President-elect Maryam Rajavi as a “true disciple of peace and democracy” and said:

“What they should know is that this is a true disciple of peace, democracy. Her whole life has been spent trying to obtain democracy for her country, first against the Shah who killed I think her sister. And then against the Ayatollah who killed another relative. I think another sister. Her family has been the victim of both the Shah’s oppression and murder and been the victim of the even more increased murder under the Ayatollah. And people should know that this is a regime that has more blood on its hands than any regime in the world, and that it is the biggest supporter of terrorism in the world.”

Mayor Giuliani called on European governments to stop the policy of appeasement and reiterated what he also mentioned during his speech at this year’s Free Iran gathering in Ashraf 3:

“Why do we want to negotiate or trust a regime that’s the biggest supporter of terrorism in the world? And I made that challenge to the European governments. Hasn’t Iran proven to us that they are too irresponsible, that they are too murderous to have nuclear weapons in their hands? It would be too dangerous for the world. And I think the European governments have to develop the kind of courage that President Trump has.”

Outlining his view of this year’s gathering, he added:

“So the conference was about basically how can we replace the regime of Iran with a democratic government, which the MEK has been attempting to do for 20 years. I have about 11 years of involvement with them. But they have a tremendous amount of support in the United States, bipartisan, about 200 members of Congress, an equal number of Republicans and Democrats. I was there with former Senator Lieberman, Democrat, former Senator Torricelli, who’s actually one of their principal people. He’s been involved with them longer than I have. And what they are is basically the National Council of Resistance in Iran is headed by Madame Rajavi. She’s the president-elect. And it’s made up of a group of organizations including the MEK that are resistance groups, like the French Resistance, against the Ayatollah. They’ve been active since the revolution. A hundred and twenty thousand of their people have been killed but they still are going strong.”

Rejecting speculations about the MEK’s popularity in Iran and the disinformation Iranian regime lobbyists try to spread in this regard, he vowed:

“Both the ayatollah and Rouhani have announced within the last year that they are the biggest threat to the regime. In the years past, it was always doubted that was created about how strong are they in Iran? How much support do they have? I think that all has been put to rest now with basically Rouhani’s statement and the Ayatollah[Khamenei]’s saying that the MEK, and sometimes they’ll call PMOI, is our most dangerous threat, the only one capable of putting a government together, and therefore we’ve got to wipe them out, which is what they do.”

“If they find that you’re a member of this organization, or suspect that you’re a member of this organization, by and large, you don’t get a trial. You’re either imprisoned or you’re shot depending on the circumstances. And so 120,000 since the beginning of the revolution. Probably another thousand in the last couple of years. And they have a government-in-exile. They have tremendous support. They have tremendous support in what’s called the Iranian diaspora. And they have a charter, 10 points, which largely looks like our Bill of Rights. Significant thing is, they’re headed by a woman. This is, this is the Middle East. This is right next to the Arab world. Not only are they headed by a woman, but roughly half their leadership are also women”, Mr. Giuliani added.

Regarding the prospect of regime change in Iran and the role of the Iranian opposition, Mayor Giuliani relied on his insight into the matter and reply to the question, “does she [Maryam Rajavi] have a chance to lead Iran into a democratic state?” said:

“She does. I mean, she does have a chance. I mean, I don’t think people realize how much turmoil there is inside of Iran. Since January of 2018, I think I have my facts correct here, there have been over 250 major protests all throughout the country, not just in Tehran. And now they have spread into the economic sectors. So there have been taxi drivers that have gone out on strike and protest. There are teachers, all the teachers of the country went on strike. There are farmers, professors have joined the political activists. And you can see it. Videos that I saw when I was in Albania because they have probably the MEK people, the PMOI [MEK] people have the best window into Iran”.

As a respected lawyer and an expert in the field, Mr. Giuliani also addressed the 1988 massacre of MEK political prisoners in Iran and said, “Back in 1988, within a two-month period, the regime killed 30,000 members of MEK. Thirty-thousand people! We are talking about a crime against humanity. Crimes for which they should be prosecuted in the World Court.”

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photo of 1988 massacre in Iran

MEK- Iran: Families of Victims of 1988 Massacre Still Waiting for Justice

photo of 1988 massacre in Iran

A photo exhibition of some of the 30000 political prisoners (mainly MEK activists), executed in just a few months in Iran by the order of Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the ruling dictatorship in Iran. Paris, September 2017

This summer marks the 31st anniversary of the 1988 Massacre of 30,000 political prisoners by the Iranian regime. The mass executions, which targeted MEK members and supporters, took place over the course of a single summer on the order of regime founder Ruhollah Khomeini. To date, none of the perpetrators of this crime against humanity have faced justice.

Last December, Amnesty International published a report about the 1988 Massacre and the regime’s attempts to prevent the families of the victims from seeking justice. The report, entitled “Iran’s Blood-Soaked Secrets: Why Iran’s 1988 prison massacres are ongoing crimes against humanity,” contains new details of the regime’s ongoing crimes against those who seek justice for those who were murdered in 1988.

The Amnesty International report states:

“Between July and September 1988, the Iranian authorities forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed thousands of imprisoned political dissidents in secret and dumped their bodies, mostly in unmarked mass graves.”

“Since then, the authorities have treated the killings as state secrets, tormenting the relatives by refusing to tell them how and why their loved ones were killed and where they are buried.”

Growing Awareness

The regime spent years denying that the massacre took place, but several high-ranking officials have recently made public remarks in defense of the executions due to widespread condemnation from the international community.

exhibition in Ashraf 3

International dignitaries visit the exhibition in Ashraf 3, MEK’s headquarter in Albania, witnessing the evidence, facts, and photos of some of the victims of the 1988 massacre

Awareness of the 1988 Massacre has grown largely due to the MEK’s efforts to seek an independent investigation into the crime. This summer the MEK held several large rallies in world capitals and organized a five-day conference at Ashraf-3, its headquarters in Albania, which was attended by hundreds of prominent politicians and dignitaries from more than 450 countries. Survivors of the massacre shared their testimony, and human rights activists called for the perpetrators to be tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Political Prisoners Speak Out

The British website Express interviewed several former Iranian political prisoners and activists about the regime’s crimes against humanity.

A former political prisoner and human rights activist, said, “I was in prison for many years just for the freedom and now it’s my turn to speak up and be the prisoners’ voice.

“Iran is an old country with a great background on human rights but under the Mullahs they lost everything not only dignity but also their national capitals.”

Human rights activist and author of the anti-regime blog Freedom Star, Mr. Dalvand, said: “For three decades, the international community has been silent over the massacre of political prisoners in Iran.

“As a result, the mullahs have continued with impunity to violate human rights in Iran, launch terrorist operations, and wage catastrophic wars in the Middle East and other countries.

“Now, the time has come to end this silence.”

Those who opposed the regime in the 1980s faced torture, imprisonment, and execution.

Former political prisoner Hossein Fathi and his wife lost 14 members of their family to the regime’s executioners. He told Express: “I witnessed the torture and they tortured me by lashing. They hung me from the roof and tried to kill me.”

Ahmad Ebrahimi was detained in Gohardasht prison during the same era. He said: “They kept us in the dark: we didn’t know what was going on or what was going to happen.

“And we were taken blindfolded where all of us—150 of us—were taken to an interrogation room and asked about our views towards the regime.

“If we did not say we supported the regime, they would kill us straight away.”

Raha Bahreini, Amnesty International’s leader researcher on Iran, called on the United Nations to “finally hear the cry of families and survivors.” Bahreini added: “We believe this serious human rights situation in Iran is tied to the impunity that the Iranian authorities have been able to enjoy since the 1980s for the crimes against humanity that they have committed.”

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Giulio Terzi

Former Italian Foreign Minister Says Regime Can No Longer Deny MEK Is a Threat

Giulio Terzi

Hon. Giulio Terzi, the former Foreign Minister of Italy

In an editorial published on the Issues & Insights website on Thursday, former Italian Foreign Minister Ambassador Giulio Terzi discussed recent admissions by high-ranking officials within the Iranian regime that the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran(PMOI / MEK) poses a serious threat to the clerical dictatorship ruling Iran.

Terzi described an August 5th press briefing held by the spokesman for regime President Rouhani’s cabinet Ali Rabiee in which Rabiee openly mentioned the conflict between the regime and the MEK.

“This represents a departure from the government’s normal policy of remaining silent on that issue in order to downplay the threat that the MEK poses to the theocratic system,” wrote Terzi.

Unmitigated Confidence

The MEK has fought against the mullahs’ tyranny for four decades in its efforts to bring freedom and democracy to Iran. As the largest resistance group in Iran, it has established a well-organized plan for Iran’s democratic future, which is formally stated in Iranian opposition leader Mrs. Maryam Rajavi’s 10-point plan.

“The MEK has expressed unmitigated confidence that the current regime is nearing its collapse, which will pave the way for that vision,” wrote Terzi. He cited that sentiment as the central theme of last month’s Free Iran gathering at Ashraf-3, the MEK’s headquarters in Albania. The five-day event was attended by hundreds of prominent politicians and dignitaries from all over the world and focused on “transforming Iran into a democratic country led by the rule of law, respect of human rights and democratic freedom,” wrote Terzi.

Terzi argued that Iran has yet to experience this kind of freedom. The Islamic Republic governs through the principle of velayat-e faqih, or absolute rule, of clerical leaders. Anyone who opposes Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is excluded from the ballot in political elections.

A Turning Point

The MEK has challenged this rule through protests and boycotts of the polls, often at great personal risk. Boycotts at the polls during the 2016 election were followed by a massive anti-regime uprising in December 2017, which spread to 142 cities and every province in the country. The regime did an abrupt about-face and acknowledged the MEK’s role in the Iran protests, contradicting years of their own propaganda that claimed that the MEK lacked influence inside Iran. “This was arguably the turning point undermining the regime’s oft-repeated claim that the MEK is incapable of presenting a serious challenge to the clerical dictatorship,” argued Terzi.

1988 massacre

MEK members massacred by Pourmohammadi

Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, an advisor to the head of the regime’s Judiciary Chief, also made recent comments about the MEK. Pour-Mohammadi was a member of Tehran’s Death Committee, which sent thousands of political prisoners to their executions during the 1988 Massacre, which claimed 30,000 lives during a single summer, most of whom were MEK members. Victims of the massacre included girls as young as 15 and pregnant women.

In a recent interview, Pour-Mohammadi once again defended what human rights defenders have called a crime against humanity and called for the elimination of the MEK. “We have no ambiguity about the MEK,” he said. “We are at a time of war. Now is not the time for talk. Now is the time to fight them.”

Tehran’s Greatest Adversary

Terzi stressed that these words make it clear that “the MEK is Tehran’s greatest adversary, and it has not only evaded all efforts to destroy it but has actually grown so much in power and influence that it was able to organize and lead a nationwide uprising just last year.” He went on to urge the world to pay attention to the words regime officials say at home because if they do, “it will become clear that they are afraid.”

This fear provides an opportunity for the international community and the Iranian people, emphasized Terzi. The regime is vulnerable and firm policies by the Western world would be effective in helping the Iranian people take back their country.

“It is now much more difficult for the mullahs to deny that there is already an alternative to their theocratic system and that popular resistance is their Achilles’ heel,” concluded Terzi.

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Maryam Rajavi addressing MEK members during 1988 Massacre Conerence

Maryam Rajavi Calls for Justice for Victims of 1988 Massacre in Speech to Free Iran Conference

Maryam Rajavi addressing MEK members during 1988 Massacre Conerence

Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), speaking at the conference “Calling for Justice for the 1988 Massacre” – Ashraf3 the MEK’s compound, Albania- July 15, 2019

Maryam Rajavi, leader of the Iranian opposition speaking at the conference “calling for justice for victims of the 1988 Massacre” said that Khomeini, the Iranian regime founder’s intention for ordering the 1988 massacre was to uproot the MEK.

The final day of the Free Iran Conference at Ashraf 3, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI /MEK)’s headquarter in Albania, on Monday, July 15th, was devoted to the topic of the 1988 Massacre of 30,000 political prisoners by the Iranian regime.

Background

In the summer of 1988, Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for the execution of all MEK members imprisoned in Iran. He formed three-member Death Committees in prisons across the country to carry out trials that lasted only minutes. Prisoners were executed in groups and buried in mass graves.

To date, none of the perpetrators of this crime against humanity have been brought to justice. Many of those responsible have gone on to hold high-ranking positions within the regime.

On Monday, survivors of the massacre shared their testimony of the brutal crime against humanity, and political dignitaries, human rights activists, and members of the NCRI and MEK discussed the urgent need to hold the perpetrators of the mass executions accountable for their crimes. Mrs. Maryam Rajavi delivered the keynote address.

Mrs. Rajavi’s Speech

“The massacre of the MEK and the other combatants and political prisoners was a blood-drenched encounter between the Middle Ages and tomorrow’s generation: the generation that created the 1979 Revolution, who represented a nation resolved to have a society based on freedom and equality but ran into the monster of religious tyranny and invasion of pillage and repression. The massacre of 1988 was the horrifying scene of such historic confrontation, but it was not the end, despite its excruciating pain and agony. It was the beginning of a new confrontation which still continues and will ultimately write the fate of the Iranian nation with the word ‘freedom,’” said Mrs. Rajavi.

“Khomeini’s intention in ordering the 1988 Massacre was to uproot and obliterate the MEK…The most intense killings began in Evin and Gohardasht Prisons and were specifically aimed at MEK members,” she said.

Mrs. Rajavi stated that the 1988 Massacre was carried out in 110 cities in Iran and that those cities have become hotbeds of protests and uprisings. “It is no accident,” she said, that these cities are now the scenes of resistance by Iranians of every ethnicity, religion, and sector of society.

“The people of Iran are united for the regime’s overthrow and achieving freedom,” she emphasized. “Our society has such a fervent fire in her heart, leaving Khamenei at an impasse. So the regime’s overthrow is the definite and certain fate of the mullahs,” she added.

“The time has come for the United Nations to form an international fact-finding mission for the 1988 Massacre, and the world to recognize the right of the people of Iran to resistance and struggle to overthrow the mullahs’ religious dictatorship,” said Mrs. Rajavi.

“I call on all Iranians in Iran and abroad to help advance and expand the Call for Justice movement for the victims of the  1988 Massacre. This is the movement of the oppressed, the suppressed and the bereaved,” she stressed.

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Day-3 of Free Iran conference at Ashraf 3

MEK-Iran: European Panel Calls For End to Europe’s Appeasement Policy Towards Iran

Day-3 of Free Iran conference at Ashraf 3

On day 3 of Free Iran convention at the MEK’s compound in Albania, a conference hosted very distinguished European politicians that discussed EU’s ongoing positions on Iran. The conference was titled, “Iran: Support People’s uprisings and Resistance
No to Mullahs’ terrorism, Nuclear, and Missile program”-July 13, 2019- Ashraf 3

On Sunday, July 14, 2019, the fourth day of the Free Iran Conference at Ashraf 3, the MEK’s headquarters in Albania called for an end to Europe’s policy of appeasement to the mullahs ruling Iran. The conference began with a panel of distinguished speakers from Europe. The topic of the panel was “Iran: Support People’s Uprising and Resistance. No to Mullahs’ Terrorism, Nuclear, and Missile Program.”

The panelists touched on a number of issues during the two-hour event. Some of the most notable moments from the panel are summarized below.

Paolo Corsini

Italian Politician and Academic

“The West should end appeasement of Iran’s regime. We should support the Iranian people and the organized Resistance, the MEK, to bring about regime change. A viable alternative to the regime exists in Iran. It is the National Council of Resistance of Iran,” said Corsini.

 

Dr. Matthew Offord

British MP

The Iranian regime is making a mistake in thinking that we in Britain will be scared of its provocations. It should be assured that the UK is not scared. The UK has made it very clear we will protect ourselves, Dr. Offord said.

 

“I genuinely believe change is coming to Iran,” said Offord. The members of the MEK have re-emerged from the destruction of Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty. They have launched Ashraf 3 and have been embraced by the people of Albania,” he added.

Brian Binley

Former British MP

“We first came to Albania back in 2014 with a task to the country’s Prime Minister, Mr. Edi Rama, and we asked him to accept more Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty residents,” said Binley.

“We pleaded with the Prime Minister and it wasn’t hard. He asked us shouldn’t you be making this request to other European countries? We told him we were working hard on this issue and the Prime Minister said he would accept more Ashraf/Liberty residents. I pay massive tribute to Mr. Edi Rama for convincing the people of Albania to accept more of the Iranian opposition members in their country,” Binley continued.

“Having revisited Albania now, this country has made great progress in the past five years,” he added.

“This great city of Ashraf 3 showed Mr. Rama kept his process. There has been astounding progress in Ashraf 3. All this work in just a year and a half is incredible. I always knew that those of people who had gone through the hell of Camp Liberty would get things moving for themselves. You have built yourself a city and I congratulate you from the bottom of my heart, Mr. Binley said warmly.

“There’s more work to do and that is our task. There is much we can do in our country for the ten-point plan of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi,” he stressed.

Sergio D’Elia

Former Member of Italian Parliament, Activist

“Ashraf 3 is not only a symbol; you are a sample for the future of Iran. You are no longer just resistance against the regime; you are now a freedom movement,” said Mr. D’Elia.

“You can be free and also build up Iran. You are reliable, trustworthy, symbols of law and justice. By seeing Ashraf and you, I am convinced the MEK have created a sample of Iran in this city.

I hope we are in Tehran next year. We can see Tehran here because Ashraf 3 exists and future free Iran will also become a reality. The MEK is now part of my family, and that is why I call you my brothers and sisters,” he concluded.

John Perry

Former Irish Minister and Politician

“It is very important to see the encouraging work of the PMOI/MEK. Especially when 56 million people are under the age of 25 in Iran. The new force of technology will certainly spread the word,” said Perry.

“It is now time for Europe to stand with Iran, and say enough is enough, to support Iranians remove the Khamenei regime and the mullahs from power. The future generation of Iran deserves an opportunity to live a free Iran,” he stressed.

Gerry Horkan

Irish Senator

Senator Horkan referred to the speed at which Ashraf 3 had been constructed, saying, “We never think things will change so quickly, but they will. Hopefully, very soon we will see free, fair and democratic elections in Iran and Iranians will be voting for President Maryam Rajavi at the first election for a free and democratic Iran where freedom of religion is allowed. That is part of the Ten-point plan that we support.”

“There is huge global support for the NCRI and MEK in Ashraf 3. Hopefully, soon we will see action and deliver results, including a free and fair government in Iran,” he concluded.

Leo Dautzenberg

Former Member of German Bundestag

“The people in Iran and their struggle is the best sign of change to come to Iran. We can see that the mullahs are using Iranian wealth for their private interests. They are using the Iranian people’s money for terrorism and accelerating war in the Middle East. We do have a great responsibility and a duty towards the Middle East, and we should conduct this together,” said Dautzenberg.

“With the protests in Iran, we can also see that toppling the Iranian regime has to happen from within the country, and we have to support it from the outside. The change must come from within and from Ashraf 3,” he added.

“You have a president who, with her Ten-point Plan, which is very convincing, has created an alternative which represents freedom and democracy. This is also our choice for the future. From a European and German angle, we need to step forward and support this ten-point plan,” he concluded.

Kenneth Lewis

Swedish Lawyer

“There are still a lot of people in Europe who have not understood that appeasement is not the way forward, and don’t care about human rights. Huge support is growing for this movement and we have work to do,” said Mr. Lewis.

“Human rights should be the most important aspect in dealing with the regime in Iran,” he stressed.

“Ashraf 3 is a wonderful achievement. This is an important part of the resistance. The fight to overthrow the mullahs is taking place on the streets of Tehran. Your program will be an essential contribution to that,” Lewis concluded.

Linda Lee

Former President of Law Society of England and Wales

“We in the U.K. Law Society have and will support your cause for a free Iran. We want freedom for you. I couldn’t believe what a wonderful community and spirit is in Ashraf 3. This is not a town, it lives and breathes. The mothers and daughters who have suffered so much are so positive in spirit. This is a wonderful community of people,” said Ms. Lee.

“I believe that we are now so close. I want for all the men and women of Iran to have freedom. Next year we will be in Tehran,” she concluded.

Brian Medway

Australian Pastor

“We support the MEK. Your integrity and commitment to serve the best interests of Iran, without any idea of how long this may take, this draws our affection. We will make your voice known in Australia,” said Medway.

Lars Rise

Former Norwegian MP

“In 2005 my wife and I visited the MEK in Camp Ashraf in Iraq. After the first two days in Ashraf, my wife said I have never experienced such love. Ashrafis are people of integrity and love. It is the complete opposite of the regime in Iran,” said Mr. Rise of his experiences with MEK members.

“The leadership of this movement through Madame Maryam Rajavi is realizing amazing results. I always say I am a member of this movement and always will be,” he concluded.

Frederick Azzopardi

Member of Maltese Parliament

“The Iranian people are being denied their universal rights. The Iranian regime funds terrorism and threatens the world with nuclear proliferation. This regime is responsible of crimes against humanity that are punishable under international law,” stated Mr. Azzopardi.

“As Madame President Rajavi has said, regime change is the task of the Iranian people. We should support the Iranian people at all times.

Our message to the people is: We will never abandon you until your justified cause is fulfilled. You are, indeed, our heroes. Our common mission is a free Iran,” he concluded.

Paul Forseth

Former Canadian MP

“In solidarity, we will continue to support the Iranian people. The MEK members in Ashraf 3 should be known as the ‘overcomers.’ For the Iranian people, the future is much brighter than the past,” said the former Canadian MP.

Professor Alfred de Zayas

Former U.N. Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order

“The mullahs are not just going to roll over. Change, however, must come from within. I wish you success, perseverance, peace, and happiness in Iran,” said Professor de Zayas.

Roger Lyons

Former President of Britain’s Trades Union Congress TUC

Mr. Lyons spoke about the ongoing efforts by the TUC to support Iran’s workers. “We have been showing solidarity with the workers in Iran who face brutal repression. We have been educating various industries in order to support Iran’s workers,” he said.

Lyons also called attention to the plight of British-Iranian dual national citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. “She was arrested as a spy in Iran by the regime and separated from her baby,” Lyons explained. “The mullahs didn’t even give her decent medical attention. This is an outrageous example of the mullahs’ treachery. The mullahs’ attitude is making people understand far more about the need to support the Iranian Resistance and regime change in Iran. The evidence is here. Public opinion is strong and we will continue to campaign until we win,” he concluded.

Sir David Amess

British MP

“This Free Iran conference and gathering in Albania is all about democracy,” said Sir Amess.

“What an example of the MEK to build such a wonderful camp in such a short period. It is absolutely magnificent. It is wonderful being with people who seek to establish freedom and justice for the Iranian people,” he added.

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Justice for the 1988 Massacre victim's rally-Geneva

Witnesses to the 1988 Massacre Tell Their Stories on Day Five of the Free Iran Conference

Justice for the 1988 Massacre victim's rally-Geneva

Protest Rally, Place des Nations, Geneva,26/02/2019 – Hundreds of Iranian exiles supporters of the Peoples Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK), carried Iranian flags and banners opposed to the Iranian regime in a rally on Tuesday February, 26,2019 in front of the UN Headquarters in Geneva to protest grave violations of human rights in Iran, particularly the 1988 massacre of more than 30,000 political prisoners (mainly MEK members).

The final day of the Free Iran Conference was dedicated to seeking justice for the 30,000 victims of the 1988 Massacre and their families. A number of dignitaries gave speeches on Monday, but the most memorable words came from survivors of the massacre. Their words are summarized below.

Kobra Jokar

“I spent six years in prison. The Revolutionary Guards arrested me while I was pregnant. I was taken to Evin Prison and the torture chambers. I was transferred to Ward 209. In the cell, I saw four torturers torture my husband in front of me. They also tortured me in front of him,” said Ms. Jokar.

“A few days later, they executed my husband with 75 others. The torturer said his intention was for him to never see his child. When I gave birth to my child, they took me to a hospital and quickly brought me back to prison even though I was very ill. I personally knew 50 MEK pregnant women who were executed, including Masumeh, the sister of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi,” she said.

“In prison, they would not give milk and food for the kids, and my cellmates would provide their sugar rations to me to give something to my baby. There was no doctor or medication for the children. In the public ward, there were only 15 minutes of warm water every other day, which we had to use to give the children a bath. Many of these children had lost their parents,” Ms. Jokar continued.

“The torturers even interrogated the children. They strapped a six-year-old girl to a chair in a dark room and said they would leave her there if she did not reveal the names of her mother’s friends,” she said.

“I managed to escape prison in 1986. All of those ladies who shared the cell with me were executed in the 1988 massacre,” Ms. Jokar said.

“The roots of our hopes and faith in our leaders helped us overcome the dark times in prison and to fight for freedom,” she concluded. Ms. Jokar remained stoic throughout her testimony but many in the room were visibly moved by her words.

Hengameh Haj-Hassan

“I was a nurse in Tehran. In 1981, I was arrested and imprisoned in Evin Prison and Gohardasht Prison along with many of my colleagues. We were charged with helping the people who were injured by the IRGC,” said Ms. Haj-Hassan.

“In prison, we were subjected to severe tortures. Insomnia, packed cells, sleeping in coffins were what we had to endure,” she said.

“I was in a cage for seven months. These were small partitions where you could only squat. You couldn’t move, you couldn’t even cough or sneeze. If we moved, we were tortured. Our eyes were blindfolded. My eyesight has been degraded and my back was injured. I was operated on five times and yet I still have not recovered,” Ms. Haj-Hassan continued.

“When we came out of the cages, our friends didn’t recognize us. Inside the cage, we had to be prepared for any torture at any moment. The torturers used any excuse to torture us,” she emphasized.

“The torturer told us that we would die here. We were only given three minutes per day to go to the bathroom. We couldn’t even brush our teeth. The food they gave us was scarce and very dirty. At night, when we were allowed to sleep, they would turn on loudspeakers and play the regime’s mourning songs,” she added.

“The torturers sought to break our will and force us to turn our backs on our struggle. I decided that I would not tell the enemy the name of the Mojahed. My friend Shekar was arrested with me, and she was executed in 1988 after suffering torture and the cage,” she stressed.

“I decided to prepare myself for hard days. I scheduled all my moments every day. My program was I started to remember all the songs and the contents of the Mojahedin books and the martyrs’ biographies that I already had read and started to repeat them. I had a physical exercise program. We weren’t allowed to move, but I exercised in my mind. I nursed patients in my mind,” she explained.

“At night, when we couldn’t sleep due to the loudspeakers, I trained myself to shut down those noises and take myself to pleasant places in my memories,” she added.

“The hardest times were the feeling of loneliness. I thought of God, and I thought of my leader, Massoud Rajavi. I spoke to him, and this way, I didn’t feel alone anymore,” Ms. Hassan continued.

“The torturers thought they would break our will through torture. However, they only made us stronger, as we understood that this proved what we were doing was right,” she emphasized.

“In prison, we considered ourselves PMOI representatives, and we deemed it our responsibility to defend their values. When I came out of prison, the first thing I did was to re-join my organization. This is a path that will continue until the end,” Ms. Haj-Hassan concluded. Her speech drew chants and applause from the audience.

Homa Jaberi

“I was in the regime’s prisons for five years and I witnessed many tortures. I was arrested in 1981 because I had participated in a peaceful MEK protest and spent many years in Gohardasht (Rajai Shahr) and Evin prisons. When the regime wasn’t able to break the will of the MEK woman through torture, they created a compound called the ‘residential units,’” said Ms. Jaberi.

“This was a secret compound. I was there for 40 days. From the first day, I was tortured brutally with whips and physically beaten. They took all of us to a room, blindfolded us, and told us that they would kill us until that night. They tortured us for hours until midnight,” she stated.

“My hands were swollen from the whiplashes. My face and body were bruised. The regime’s torturer said, ‘This is your hell. No one will hear you here. You will all die here.’ They kept us awake for many days and didn’t let us sleep,” she continued.

“Some of my friends were kept in this place for six months. We weren’t even allowed to scream under torture. Every command was given with whip lashes. For instance, if they wanted to tell us that we could sleep, they would do so by whipping us,” she added.

“After 40 days, I was taken to Evin Prison. Some of my friends had lost their mental balance. Some of the prisoners would not even speak of the tortures they had suffered. They said that the torturers made them make animal noises and insult themselves. Some had been raped,” Ms. Jaberi explained.

“I have faith that with the leadership of Massoud and Maryam Rajavi, we will free Iran. It was this faith that helped me overcome the tough conditions of the prison,” she concluded to cheers and chants from the audience.

A video clip about the 1988 Massacre was shown to the conference attendees. MEK members held up photographs of loved ones who were martyred in the massacre. Some held more than one photograph. Mrs. Rajavi wiped tears from her eyes during the presentation.

Witnesses to the 1988 Massacre

Majid Saheb Jam

“I was imprisoned for 17 years. My crime was supporting the MEK. I witnessed many human rights violations. The 1988 massacre was a premeditated and well-planned crime. Some of the people who were directly involved in this crime still hold high positions of power. The regime has done everything in its power to hide its crime. It didn’t even tell the families of the victims the whereabouts of the burial places,” said Mr. Sahebjam.

“During the massacre, the judges only asked one question, in a short trial that lasted only a few minutes. They asked, “What are your charges?” Uttering the word ‘Mojahed’ was enough to seal the fate of the prisoner and send him to the gallows,” he added.

“The prisoners in the regime’s dungeons bore the scars of torture on their bodies. The 1988 massacre was an opportunity for the regime to hide the evidence of its horrible crimes. I personally know at least 20 families who have lost two of their children to the executioners of the regime,” he went on.

“Many of the prisoners were aged 14,15 and 16 when they were arrested. These people were later executed by the regime,” he stressed.

“During the 1988 massacre, dozens of MEK supporters had served their sentence. However, they were kept in prison because they would not repent their support for the MEK. They were executed in 1988 because of their dedication to freedom and human values,” Sahebjam concluded.

Mostafa Naderi

“I spent 11 years in prison, five of those years in solitary confinement. During the 1988 massacre, I was hospitalized because of torture. I was unconscious in the clinic when they called my name for execution, and this is how I survived,” said Mr. Naderi.

“After the executions, when you were taken to the cells, they asked for your name and checked in a notebook. In the notebook, all the names were crossed, which meant they were executed,” he explained.

“In the beginning, they said nothing of the executions, claiming the prisoners were going for family visits. In many smaller cities, not even a single person survived to tell the story of the massacre,” Mr. Naderi added.

“In prison, I was severely tortured. After eight months of torture, I and five other prisoners were taken to a mullah who said we were enemies of God and would be executed that night. They took us to the place of execution. They tied our hands and we heard the guns being loaded. They fired, but they show a meter above our heads. We suffered a traumatic experience. One of the prisoners fainted and another lost his eyesight,” he said.

“The 1988 massacre was planned from two years before. However, the massacre continues to this day. We must stop this,” Mr. Naderi concluded.

 

Mahmoud Royaei

“I spent 10 years in the regime’s prisons. Many of my friends were teenagers when they were arrested. They spent many years in prison and were finally executed. People who had served their sentences and their families were waiting for them. However, they never got to see them,” said Mr. Royaie.

“One of my friends was executed five years after his sentence was finished. He was taken to the gallows just as he defended the name of Mojahed. Many of the prisoners’ families died after hearing that their loved ones were executed. The father of one of my friends had a cardiac arrest when he heard about his son’s execution. So you could say the regime even executed our families,” he said.

“Some of these families are still staring at the pictures of their loved ones and crying after 30 years. Some of the parents lost their sanity when their children were executed,” Mr. Royaie added.

“The regime even executed the disabled and handicapped. Yet these prisoners stood tall when they went to the gallows. One of my friends had lost his mentality due to the tortures. However, when they took him to the judge, he stood tall and said, ‘I’m a Mojahed.’ He was executed,” he recalled.

“The 1988 massacre was a national disaster, but it is also the pride of our nation. Today, people who weren’t even born then are calling for justice. The members of the 1988 ‘Death Commissions’ are members of the government today,” Mr. Royaie said.

“When I think about those brave prisoners, I am humbled. With the justice movement, I feel that they’re here with us, in Ashraf 3,” he concluded.

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French delegation addressing the MEK members in Ashraf 3

World Politicians Express Support for Regime Change in Iran During MEK Rally

Duress, Albania 13/07/2019 – The annual Free Iran Conference for the first time at Ashraf 3, the headquarters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (Mujahedin-e Khalq, MEK or PMOI) on July 13, 2019, near Duress in Albania. Politicians from across the globe are attending this conference. Paris 1 Mayor, Mr. Legaret announced that Paris’s 1st District has officially declared Ashraf 3 as its sister city

On July 13, 2019, on the largest conference during the 5-day Free Iran rally in Ashraf 3, representatives from many European and North American countries, expressed their support for the Iranian opposition, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK / PMOI)‘s struggle to free Iran. Excerpts from some of the speeches from prominent politicians and dignitaries from around the world follow:

Michèle Alliot-Marie

Former Foreign, Defense, Interior and Justice Minister of France

“I thank you for representing a vision, a direction that unites all Iranians and many people in the world,” said Alliot-Marie. “Iran is behind all the crises in the Middle East. Iran destabilizes the whole region. Iran finances terrorists and supports them with weapons,” said Ms. Alliot-Marie.

“When we talk about Iran we don’t talk about the Iranian people. I refer to the regime that destabilizes the region. The Iranian people aren’t like that,” she emphasized. “We should not be illusional, we have cultural and political differences, but we have values that are common, and we should fight for them,” she added.

Stephen Harper

Former Canadian Prime Minister

“The need for change in Iran is greater than ever before and the need of the work of this organization for change in Iran is also greater than ever before,” said Harper.

The former Prime Minister emphasized the importance of a firm policy toward the Iranian regime. “The only realistic policy towards Iran is firmness, and post-sanctions do what my government did in Canada: close down the regime’s embassies around the world,” he said.

“What is the argument against firmness?” asked the former Prime Minister. “They say the world has no choice. Appeasement or war. This is not true. Appeasement is accepting the war that the regime is already waging against its neighbor through proxies,” he added.

“The right response is not to surrender, but to stand with the Iranian people and against this regime,” Harper continued.

“Your ten-point plan is the future, future Iran and the world needs. Do not give up hope and do not relent in your efforts in any way,” Harper concluded.

Dr. Bernard Kouchner

Former Foreign Minister of France

Dr. Kouchner said that the world should not confuse the Iranian regime with the Iranian people and enumerated Mrs. Rajavi’s Ten-Point Plan for Iran’s Democratic Future.

 

“I don’t think anyone is against this policy,” he said, referring to Mrs. Rajavi’s plan. “I agree with Mr. Giuliani. We believe the people of Iran do support the [Iranian regime]. Mr. Giuliani was right. The mullahs are murderers. They are the origin of all terrorist attacks,” he said.

“We are ready to relieve this people from this awful religious system. We are not against religion. But we are against using religion to kill people,” he said. “Religion is also the liberation of the people. Madam Maryam Rajavi, you are persistent and a fantastic model for the women of the world…We are completely with you to support such a fantastic program,” he concluded.

Pandeli Majko

Former Albanian Prime Minister

The former Albanian Prime Minister became visibly emotional as he compared his country’s past of sheltering Jews with providing sanctuary to the MEK. “In World War II, German Nazis required Albania to transfer its gold to the bank in Berlin and give up a list of its Jewish citizens. The Albanian answer was short: ‘Gold yes, Jews no!’” said Majko.

“Lately in Albania, politicians have been in tough arguments with each other, but there is no debate about your stay here in Albania. You are in our hearts,” he added.

“If the Iranian regime wants to touch you, they must know that we said to the Nazi invaders, ‘Gold yes, Jews no.’ The ambassador of Iran has been kicked out of Tirana. So, don’t push us,” he warned. “‘’Gold yes, Mojahedin no!’ I hope to come soon to see you in Tehran,” he concluded.

Fatmir Mediu

Chairman of the Albanian Republican Party

“We have to think about the next steps, but all of us agree that the time for a change in Iran is long overdue. The American government has stood up for change in Iran, and we wish that Europe also stands up for liberty and freedom for the people of Iran as God-given rights,” said Mediu.

“Last year the Albanian government expelled the Iranian ambassador because they planned to attack us when we gathered with Mayor Rudy Giuliani to discuss iran,” Mediu said in reference to the terrorist plot against last year’s Free Iran Rally.

“Madam Rajavi, your ten-point plan is for sure the future of Iran. Here in Albania we have our political differences, but we are united in your cause to support you for a free Iran,” said Mediu. “We’d rather be remembered by history as people who fought with you for the freedom of the Iranian people than people who stood by and watched,” he concluded.

Judge Ted Poe

Former U.S. Congressman

Judge Poe referenced the false terrorist designation of the MEK in his speech. “It was a mistake for the U.S. to put the MEK on the terrorist list in the first place. But at the end, a federal judge ordered the State Department to delist the MEK,” he said. “How ironic is this that the MEK is not on the terrorist list now but the IRGC and the Iranian government is on the U.S. terrorist list,” he added.

“There is nothing more powerful than a woman who has made up her mind. And that woman is Madame Rajavi and she has made up her mind for freedom for all of you,” Poe said.

“Yesterday, Governor Tom Ridge said that we are all given certain rights by God. There is a right mentioned in the Declaration of Independence. Governments are instituted among people to secure their God given rights. And if governments don’t do that, the people have the right to abolish that government, like the mullahs in Iran,” Poe continued.

“Don’t fear the mullahs,” urged Poe. “Don’t let them deprive you of sleep at night. It is important that the mullahs fear you and you keep them awake at night. You speak for the voices that have been silenced by the murders that have taken place against them. They cry out for justice. Justice demands that the people of Iran rule their own country. The illegitimate regime of the mullahs is through.”

“When you have a snake, you must cut off the head of the snake… I’m here to tell you that the lion with the sword [the emblem of the Persian flag] will cut off the head of the serpent in Tehran,” he emphasized.

“Somethings are worth living and dying for and I don’t see anything more worth to live and if necessary die for, than the cause of freedom in Iran,” Poe concluded.

Dana Rohrabacher

Former U.S. Congressman

“The most powerful force in the world are those people who believe in freedom and are ready to sacrifice their lives for freedom. I’m saying this to the dictators in Tehran: Your days are numbered and the people here will carry the cause of freedom to Tehran,” Rohrabacher said.

“You are the most powerful force on the planet,” Rohrabacher said to the MEK members at the conference. “You will prevail. As long as we have courageous people like you we don’t need to send American boots to the region.”

“I know you will win and I will be with you when we go to Tehran and declare free elections,” he added.

Lance Goodan

U.S. Congressman

“The first thing I learned about Iran is that the most respected individual among the Iranian community is Madame Maryam Rajavi,” said Goodan.

 

“I encourage the young people across Iran to get together to fight and spread the message. Young people are the future of Iran,” he concluded.

Matthew Offord

British MP

“I am proud to be part of a successful cross party effort to secure your resettlement here in Albania,” said Offord. “Your movement with Madame Maryam Rajavi is at the forefront of the cause of freedom of Iran and you are a beacon of hope.”.

“My colleagues and I urge our government to increase the number of people on its sanctions list for human rights violations in Iran. We urge our government to proscribe the IRGC as a terrorist group, and we support the US sanctions on the regime’s Supreme Leader and urge the government to expand this to other regime officials,” Offord stated.

 

“I support Madame Rajavi’s ten-point plan that provides a clear alternative to the current Iranian regime,” Offord affirmed. “I call upon the UK government to recognize Madame Rajavi’s ten-point plan,” Offord added.

Baroness Sandip Verma

U.K. House of Lords

“There is no one stronger than a woman fighting for her children and land. Brave women in Iran are challenging the regime in every possible way. Many have been imprisoned and tortured in Iran. The prominence of women in the resistance is reflective of the role of women in Iran. It is time for the world to stand up and support the work of the NCRI,” said Baroness Verma.

“The regime in Iran considers women activists as enemies of the state,” continued Verma. “My sister, Maryam Rajavi, a Muslim woman, makes the Resistance a unique example in the Middle East. We hope to celebrate Madame Rajavi’s success, your success, our success in Iran soon,” she concluded.

Bob Blackman

British MP

“I welcome the designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization and the U.S. decision to sanction the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader,” said Blackman.

“I hope that the UK will join our American allies in this effort soon,” he added. “The mullahs only understand the language of firmness. The international community must make it clear that we in the free world stand with the Iranian people and their resistance, NCRI, to bring democracy and freedom in Iran.”

Tom Ridge

Former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary and Governor

“You can imprison a man or a woman but you can’t kill an idea. You can exile a man or a woman but you can’t kill an idea,” said Secretary Ridge.

“I say to each one of you: we pay tribute to your relentless pursuit for justice and freedom in your homeland which has a rich history of culture and has contributed much to the rest of the world,” Ridge said to the MEK members in attendance.

“You fight for all who cherish freedom and democracy around the world,” he added.

“There are probably millions in the world whose prayers are with you in your cause. Sometimes in your lives you have to pursue causes bigger than yourself. 120,000 men and women of the MEK have died embracing a cause bigger than themselves. You are embracing a cause bigger than yourself, and you will prevail,” Ridge emphasized.

“Your courage and sacrifice will be responsible for the freedom and democracy of generations; the same privileges that we take for granted in our countries,” he concluded.

Sid Ahmed Ghozali

Former Algerian Prime Minister

Former Prime Minister praised the Albanian government for their support of the MEK. “Albanians have shown that they are not big for their size but for the size of the ideas that they defend. When you defend democracy and freedom you become great people,” he said.

“The Ashrafis have shown that the Iranian Resistance will survive under pressure,” said Ghozali. “The Islamic Republic of Iran is a cruel and bloody religious dictatorship which wants to dominate the Arab-Islamic world,” he concluded.

Louis Freeh

Former FBI Director

“We will see amazing change and we will see it quickly. We have to get ready for is the prosecution and conviction of the thousands of criminals who have murdered, assassinated and killed, not by accident, but by a designed plan to mass murder a group of people,” stressed former Director Freeh.

“I see your museum here in Ashraf 3 as an evidence room that has photographs and digital records of the Iranian regime’s crimes. All the evidence that exists and that can’t be erased,” said Freeh.

“Apply your skills and start preparing for criminal prosecutions by an international criminal court. What will terrify terrorists more than anything is the prospect that they will be arrested and prosecuted under the rule of law,” advised the former FBI Director.

“I think of Ashraf 3 as temporary quarters. It’s Ashraf 4 that we would want to visit – that’s in Iran,” he concluded.

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It’s Time to Take Larger Steps toward International Pressure on the Iranian Regime

Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the Iranian opposition, addressing a crowed of MEK members and distinguished politicians on the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran- July 15, 2019

On June 29, the Iranian Resistance leader Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) delivered a speech to visiting lawmakers from throughout the world, at the Albanian headquarters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). It was the most significant international gathering at the compound (Ashraf3) since it was established following the evacuation of the group’s former community in Iraq, which had been under fire for years from forces aligned with Iran’s theocratic regime.

The successful relocation of all of the camp’s 3,000 residents was regarded as a triumph by the MEK, insofar as it provided a new, more stable base of operations for the global effort to remove the existing regime and establish a democratic system in its place. Last month’s speech was an opportunity for Mrs. Rajavi to emphasize the practical outlook for that project and to encourage the international community to continue pursuing the type of assertive foreign policy that was on display when the United States and the United Nations stood up to Iran over the issue of the MEK and its members residing in camp Ashraf in Iraq.

The effort to relocate those people to what is now known as “Ashraf 3” was a modest beginning to more confrontational dealings with the Islamic Republic. But as Mrs. Rajavi explained in her remarks, the world had a long way to go to reverse a decades-long strategy of conciliation and “appeasement.” It still does, although the Trump White House has done a great deal to help demonstrate the potential effect of putting pressure on the regime instead of negotiating with it in the vain hope that its behavior will someday change.

“Imagine for a moment, what would have happened if such a disastrous policy would not have been adopted from the outset,” she said to a crowd of MEK members and visiting supporters before outlining a wide variety of malign activities that were enabled in large part by Western powers’ preoccupation with reaching out to so-called moderates within the regime. The prime target of this effort, in recent years, was President Hassan Rouhani, but his progressive-sounding campaign promises were belied by his previous dealings with the West and his proven disregard for human rights issues.

Like many of those who played a major role in Iran’s government in the years following the 1979 revolution, Rouhani was aware of many of the killings and other crimes that were carried out in the interest of silencing dissent against the fledgling theocracy. As a Member of Parliament and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, Rouhani was in a position to press for an end to these crimes or at least speak out against them. Yet he consistently demonstrated complicity, even when “death commissions” began the mass execution of political prisoners in 1988.

That dark stain on Iran’s history, with its estimated death toll of 30,000 over just a few months, was the first thing mentioned by Mrs. Rajavi when she listed all that could have been prevented by more assertive Western policies. Sadly, not only did lawmakers and Western media largely ignore warnings about what was happening in 1988, they learned hardly anything about the regime in the aftermath. The world should have recognized the futility of appealing to “moderates” when it became clear that the few who objected to mass killing were driven out of the system, while those who participated were rewarded for the rest of their political careers.

 

In 1988, Hossein Ali Montazeri was next in line to be Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic. But after he warned his fellow officials that they would be remembered as criminals for facilitating thousands of politically motivated executions, he not only was shunned by the regime but went on to spend the last years of his life under house arrest.

By contrast, one of the main architects of the killings, Ebrahim Raisi, was appointed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei earlier this year to head the entire nation’s judiciary. Two other members of the “death commissions” were appointed by Rouhani to head the Ministry of Justice during each of his successive terms. This should tell lawmakers throughout the world all they need to know about Tehran’s view of human rights, about Rouhani’s moderate credentials, and about the future the Iranian people will face if the international community continues trying to elevate such figures while promoting a slow pathway to reform.

There are only two realistic outcomes for the Islamic Republic: maintenance of the status quo as advocated by the authors of “appeasement,” or sudden, transformative change of the sort championed by the MEK and its allies in the NCRI.

The fact is that constructive dialogue with the mullahs does not work. Even the 2015 nuclear agreement demonstrated this, as the regime’s acceptance of modest, easily reversible restrictions on its nuclear program produced a financial windfall that has since been used to accelerate missile development, violent intervention into the affairs of surrounding nations, and ultimately, the nuclear program itself. In recent days, the supposedly moderate Rouhani has personally expressed about his intention to oversee uranium enrichment in “any amount” desired. This only underscores the lack of restrictions put in place by negotiators for whom conciliation has long since become the norm.

But there were clear warning signs about Rouhani’s duplicity in this, as well. When he served as Tehran’s chief nuclear negotiator between 2003 and 2005, he publicly bragged about creating a “calm environment” in which the regime could accelerate its nuclear development while giving the impression that it was preparing to wind down.

The regime is giving no such impression now, and its open hostility can only be explained by its well-learned confidence that the world will not do anything to stop it. Notwithstanding the Ashrafis’ relocation and the effective economic pressure being exerted by the US, the world community as a whole has shown little interest in severing ties with Iran or adopting the strategy of “maximum pressure,” even in the wake of direct attacks on oil tankers and a US drone, and proxy attacks on pipelines, airports, and more.

The most serious action that the European Union has taken over the past year is to sanction Iran’s secret service and some of its known operatives. All it took was for France, Albania, and other nations to be directly threatened by bomb and assassination plots targeting Iranian opposition activists. Considering what those plots say about the political climate inside the Islamic Republic and the potential for more killings on the scale of 1988, it is shocking that the international community is so hesitant to go at least as far as the White House has done, by sanctioning the office of the supreme leader and designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization.

If they were to do so, the Europeans would go a long way toward promoting the sudden, transformative change that represents Iran’s only hope for a free and democratic future. Last year, a nationwide mass uprising led by the MEK demonstrated that the people of that country are ready to take it upon themselves to bring this about. All they need is the international support that has been almost always withheld throughout the past four decades.

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"Women in the Iranian Resistance-Defying the Misogynist Regime, Paying the Price of Freedom" conference in MEK's camp in Albania

Women’s Rights Activists Discuss Role of Women in Iran’s Future at Free Iran Conference

"Women in the Iranian Resistance-Defying the Misogynist Regime, Paying the Price of Freedom" conference in MEK's camp in Albania

The President-elect of the Iranian opposition, Maryam Rajavi, addressing the conference, “Women in the Iranian Resistance-Defying the Misogynist Regime, Paying the Price of Freedom” in Ashraf 3, MEK’s compound in Albania

The fourth day of the Free Iran Conference at Ashraf 3 on Sunday concluded with a seminar entitled “Women in the Iranian Resistance: Defying the Misogynist Regime, Paying the Price of Freedom.” Women’s rights activists and prominent female voices from around the world gathered at Ashraf 3 to discuss the struggle of Iranian women under the mullahs and to express their solidarity with Maryam Rajavi and the Iranian Resistance.

Highlights from the conference, including Mrs. Maryam Rajavi’s keynote address, are below:

Maryam Rajavi

President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)

Mrs. Rajavi described the current status of Iranian women under the mullahs’ regime during the first portion of her speech. “Women have no role in the ruling regime and in its decision-making at any level of its hierarchy,” she said. “Another issue is depriving women of their personal and social freedoms and their right to free choice,” Mrs. Rajavi added, noting that women in Iran were not free to travel without restrictions or dress as they would like.

“Another issue is the hideous inequalities of discrimination against women under the clerical regime: drastic inequalities in job opportunities, in wages, in education, in testimony before a court, in having access to medical services and insurance, in their share of inheritance, access to sports fields and stadiums, and denials in every realm.” she continued.

 

“Such discrimination in any society in any juncture in history would mean subjugation of the people, suppression, and plundering of political rights,” Mrs. Rajavi stressed.

 

“You might have heard claims that if the mullahs were to be overthrown, Iran would experience chaos, disasters and destitution. But aren’t Iranian women living in conditions even worse than war-torn countries? Aren’t they suffering from poverty, unemployment and homelessness?” she asked.

 

“Another issue is promoting violence against women. Women in Iran do not feel safe anywhere: not at work, not in the streets, and not at home,” Mrs. Rajavi went on.

 

“Inhumane treatment of women in prison is also common practice,” she added.

Mrs. Rajavi explained the reason for the appalling treatment of women in Iran, saying, “Misogyny is the driving force and the essence of the regime’s suppression of the society in general.”

“The common answer to all these problems, ranging from poverty and discrimination to lack of free choice, lies in freedom and equality. Not just equality and not just freedom. But both freedom and equality,” she stressed.

 

“I have always emphasized that women not only free themselves but free their societies at large,” she added.

Mrs. Rajavi saluted all of the Iranian political prisoners who are currently sitting in the mullahs’ jails. “In addition to political opposition, they have committed the unforgivable crime: to be a rebellious woman. To be a woman and not surrender, to be a woman and persevere in the struggle, to be a woman and instead of thinking about yourself think about the liberation of people in chains, this is something that has driven the mullahs insane,” she said.

Sarvenaz Chitsaz

Chair of the NCRI Women’s Committee

Speaking to the activists who helped relocate MEK members from Camp Liberty, Chitsaz said, “You are members of the large family of resistance. You fought for freedom alongside the Ashrafis. You extended support to them through their endeavors.”

“Every woman in the resistance has made her own choice. They have played a key role in creating this resistance with their perseverance in the regime’s dungeons enduring medieval torture by the misogynistic mullahs and also with their 14 years of resistance at Camp Ashraf amd Liberty,” said Chitsaz.

 

“This is an unprecedented phenomenon in the history of women’s struggle. This explains why Iranian women inside Iran have been able to resist against the misogynistic regime and its harsh oppression and why they are at the forefront of the battle against the regime and leading protests in Iran. They see the history of the women in Ashraf and they are inspired by their resistance. This is why the regime targets Iranian women to such an extent,” she explained.

 

“The mullahs’ incessant savagery toward women is the driving force of the regime in its suppression of the Iranian society,” Ms. Chitsaz concluded.

Senator Ingrid Betancourt

Former Senator and Colombian Presidential candidate

“When you will be in Tehran, and it will happen soon, you will face a tremendous challenge. You are the only real organization where women are consistently at the top. You will be confronted by the fact that taking power in a country like Iran, with 80 million inhabitants, one of the big countries in the Middle East, both by population and by geopolitical importance: it’s not a small challenge. Whatever you do will reflect on the whole world,” Ms. Betancourt emphasized.

“The impact you will have because you have a woman leader because it’s in a country that has been ruled by a misogynist regime, the impact will be like an atomic bomb. So whatever is done in those first few months will define what the next generation of women will be able to do in the world. This is a very serious responsibility,” she continued.

“Another challenge is religion…When religion is involved, it becomes very personal to women. One of the things that we have to be aware of is that this system of patriarchy, it’s a mind frame that we all have in ourselves, man and woman. We have to be conscious about it and we have to fight it in ourselves and others. When you transition to a secular government, you will have to deal not only with the clergy but also with women and men who are not ready for this change,” Betancourt stressed.

Dr. Ranjana Kumari

Director of the Centre for Social Research in India

“Whenever we’ve seen these struggles, one thing that is important to keep in mind is that women are in the line of fire. So many struggles where women have fought in the front lines. However, when the power came, women were made to go back to the kitchen…I’m so happy this is a unique organization where women are in top positions. You’re already involved in different levels of governance, you know how to exercise power,” said Dr. Kumari.

“Women’s rights are human rights. I’m very happy to see your leadership has underlined there will be no compromise on gender equality… When women take leadership, they can move mountains,” Dr. Kumari concluded.

Maria Candida Almeida

Deputy Attorney General of Portugal

“The ones who must defend the people’s rights against killings, massacres, and suppression. Horrible things are happening in Iran today, such as the killing of pregnant women. The international community must not accept this. This is why your cause is my cause. I am with you,” said Ms. Almeida.

“Your movement is an example to all of us. Your leader is courageous and strong. She is an example for all people and for me. In the past few days, I was encouraged to work harder for you when I return home. I hope you accept me as your messenger,” Ms. Almeida concluded.

Dr. Maria Ryan

CEO of Cottage Hospital

“As we move the regime out from Iran, it’s going to take a lot of work. This is where your strength becomes significant. I learned from you and your optimism. It’s impressive that you can overcome adversity and look to the future and what needs to happen,” she added.

Giuseppina Occhionero

Italian MP

“Your struggle for civil rights is an honor for all the world because you are an example of women who put fear behind them, and you, Mrs. Rajavi, your deep views for human rights: we will take home the same responsibilities,” said Ms. Occhionero.

 

“Today, we see that we can unite and we can struggle against inequality. You women are the force of change in Iran,” Ms. Occhionero continued. “You are the answer. To all the women who have paid the price of freedom, I thank you for this. The change will come through the fulfillment of women’s rights,” she concluded.

Zinat Mirhashemi

NCRI member and Editor in Chief of Nabard-e-Khalq Review

“In the 120 years of struggle for freedom in Iran, women have had an important role. In previous generations before the Revolution, the face of the struggle for freedom and equality was not just the face of men. They showed to the world that women have a significant role in this fight,” said Ms. Mirhashemi.

 

“And now we have reached a time when we see women’s roles in the highest ranks in such a struggle. This is the assurance of this organization’s future and that women’s equality will be fulfilled because these women are leaders,” she continued.

 

“In this movement, men and women are fighting together for a common cause. Where women have a significant role, victory is assured. The future is ours… The women who are in prison are our pride. Our movement for justice in Iran has a wealth of women from across Iran,” Ms. Mirhashemi concluded.

Khadija Ziyani

Moroccan MP

“The world will remember you for what you have shown as women who strive for freedom. What you’ve accomplished in 18 months in building Ashraf 3 from scratch is something that we are proud of,” said Ziyani.

“I’m very optimistic that you will reach freedom, not for power and with power, but with hearts that don’t give up and are determined. You have high human values,” she added.

“I believe you will reach what you are fighting for because you have high determination. I’ve never seen such determination as I’ve seen in Mrs. Rajavi,” Ziyani concluded.

Maria Grecea

Former Romanian MP

“We are at a critical and sensitive moment in Iran’s history because the mullahs’ regime is at a political and social dead-end and we the supporters of the Iranian Resistance must help the people. History has proven to us that some things will change and the fascist dictators of Iran must fall,” said Grecea.

 

“This is important not only for the people of Iran but for the world because an exporter of terrorism will be eliminated. Your persistence was seen when the PMOI [MEK] built international support for Iranians, especially for the popular uprising of 2017/2018. The international pressure and the ongoing protests have put the regime in a difficult situation,” she continued.

Edit Bauer

Former MEP from Slovakia

“As a woman, what makes your resistance special to me is the key role played by women in the struggle for freedom in Iran. Mrs. Rajavi has educated and trained a generation of women who are capable of leading Ashraf residents through ups and downs, but also a generation of men who can cooperate with women in building their nation,” said Bauer.

“You have confronted fundamentalism in a way that no other movement has. You have proven the failure of the mullahs’ ideology in practice. I’m seeing the strengthening of the support for your movement around the world,” she added.

Dr. Somaya Al JowderFormer Bahraini MP

“From you, I learned about being patient and giving to others. I learned from you that endurance is the answer to everything, and how we can add to our belief and our faith,” Dr. Al Jowder said to the women of the MEK.

“I have seen the perseverance of your men. They don’t fight to be first. We hope that our men in our country will do the same,” she added.

“Iran’s uprising and rebuilding of Iran will be done by you, the PMOI [MEK] women. I’m sure that next year, all of us will be celebrating democracy in Iran,” she concluded.

Flore Ram

Iranian human rights activist

“When I was young, I couldn’t leave my country without the permission of my husband. If a father died, the mother didn’t have the right to raise the children. When the mullahs came to our country, they ruled like ISIS. They imprisoned and raped women. There was nothing for the people of Iran. But standing against that is the Iranian Resistance and the women of the MEK,” said Ms. Ram.

“Mrs. Rajavi has been digging this cancerous tumor out of Iran. I’m very proud of you. I wish everyone could get to know you like we know you. This is the reality,” she added.

Concetta Giallombardo

President of the Association of Female Jurists from Italy

“Struggling for the equality of men and women is something that we must pay the price for. In your struggle and resistance; this has been reviewed. There’s a mindset that is different about the relationship between men and women. The relationship is about knowledge and understanding,” Ms. Giallombardo said.

“I would like to congratulate you for your mindset and how you view the relationship between men and women. I hope that under your viewpoint, we will see a new society,” she concluded.

Staff writer

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