Posts Tagged ‘Ashraf3’

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Special Edition of Washington Times covers 5-day Free Iran conference

Washington Times Releases Special Edition on Free Iran Conference at Ashraf 3

The cover photo for the Special Edition of the Washington Times on the Recent 5-day conference at MEK’s head quarter in Ashraf3- Albania.

The Washington Times released a special edition on Thursday detailing the MEK’s Free Iran Conference at Ashraf 3 in Albania. The five-day event showcased the newly-constructed MEK headquarters and attracted more than 350 high-ranking political figures, human rights activists, and other dignitaries from 47 countries to speak in support of the MEK, the Iranian people and their fight to overthrow the clerical regime.

The featured article in the Washington Times special edition, entitled “MEK will fight Iran regime from new Ashraf-3 base in Albania,” explained the history of the MEK and the significance of Ashraf 3 in the Iranian Resistance’s struggle against the mullahs.

 

Construction on Ashraf 3, according to the Washington Times piece, began 20 months ago on a piece of Albanian farmland. It is now home to more than 3,000 MEK members. The compound is the size of a small city and includes parks, a hospital, conference halls, shopping centers, restaurants, swimming pools, and a luxury hotel. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani commented on the speed at which the city had been constructed in his speech to conference attendees, saying, “If we tried to do this in New York, it would take 15 years and launch 14 corruption investigations.”

The MEK relocated to Albania after repeated attacks on its previous homes at Camp Ashraf and Liberty in Iraq. Former Albanian Prime Minister Pandeli Majko explained why his country provided refuge to the group in his speech at the conference. “In 1943, the Nazis conquered Albania and had two main demands when an Albanian delegation went to Berlin,” Mr. Majko said. “They wanted our gold transferred to Berlin, and they wanted a list of all the Jews in Albania. Our answer was simple: the gold, yes; the Jews, no. Protecting those in need is part of our identity,” he said.

 

Mohammad Mohaddessin, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee for the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), noted the significance of having so many world leaders attend the conference at Ashraf 3. “We look at the fact that so many leaders came to our home so far from where they live as a testament to the international support that exists for MEK and the faith they have in what we want to accomplish,” he said.

The Washington Times article wrote that the primary goal of the MEK is regime change but that “its formal aim is to step into the void that a collapsed Iranian government would leave only long enough to hold free elections and establish a secular state.” Mrs. Maryam Rajavi would serve as President-elect until elections were held within the first six months after the overthrow of the regime.

 

The dozens of speakers were united in their praise of Ashraf 3 and their support for regime change. The Washington Times published excerpts of many of the speeches from the event. A few of the most notable quotes are included below:

Maryam Rajavi

President-elect, NCRI

“We will take back Iran and we will build a new homeland.”

Joseph Lieberman

Former U.S. Senator

“The battle to liberate Iran from the radical religious dictators who control it today is a battle that not only has great significance for the people of Iran but for the cause of freedom throughout the world.”

Rama Yade

Former French Secretary of State for Human Rights

“But it’s you, with your hands, your courage, your hopes, that built this place. Also, by the sacrifice of 120,000 of yours… What you did here in less than two years, you can do in Iran in one day.”

 

Tom Ridge

First U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security

[S]ometimes in your life you have the opportunity to pursue and embrace causes bigger than yourself. Some 120,000 men and women have died seeking and promoting and embracing a cause bigger than themselves. There will be an open, pluralistic, non-nuclear, democratic Iran, and you — you, your courage, your sacrifice — will be responsible for future generations to enjoy the liberty and freedoms.

 

Sid Ahmed Ghozali

Former Algerian Prime Minister

“What the history will remember is that you are a resistance against repression but also that Ashraf 3 represents a new culture; they are symbols for development and progress. My dream is to see a free Iran and only then, we may have the first democratic government in the Islamic world.”

Louis Freeh

Former Director of the FBI

“One of the things I just wanted to say is listening to the testimony yesterday and viewing the room next door (Martyrs Exhibition), one of the things we have to prepare for is the prosecution and conviction of the thousands of criminals who have murdered, assassinated, killed, not by accident, not by coincidence, but a designed plan to murder, mass murder a group of people.”

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List and particulars of 1988 massacre in Iran

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

List and particulars of 1988 massacre in Iran

List of thousands of PMOI / MEK martyrs executed during the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran- A photo of the exhibition at Ashraf3, during the 5-day conference in solidarity with the Iranian resistance- July 2019

The final day of the Free Iran Conference was dedicated to seeking justice for the 30,000 victims of the 1988 Massacre (mainly MEK supporters) 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 – Former Political Prisoner

“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 cell mates 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 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.

 

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MEK members in Ashraf3

The National Publishes Report about MEK’s Cyber Warriors and Their Fight to Counter Regime Censorship

MEK members in Ashraf3

Photo credit to The National-Three #MEK members who live in Ashraf3 city in Albania posing for a photo for “The National”-January 2019

The Scottish Website The National recently published a report about the MEK’s cyber-warriors working inside Ashraf 3 in Tirana, Albania. The report explains the role of the MEK research team in spreading information about the people’s uprising currently taking place in Iran.

MEP Describes Visit to MEK’s Residence -Ashraf 3

Ashraf 3 is a compound in Tirana for MEK members who were relocated from their previous camp in Iraq. According to The National, Ashraf 3 had only a few hundred residents when it was founded in 2013, but it now houses over 2,500 MEK members.

The uprising in Iran has been taking place in cities and towns across Iran for over a year, but the protests and strikes are largely unreported inside Iran by state media. According to The National, the MEK’s cyber warriors use encrypted social media channels to broadcast video clips of the protests recorded on mobile devices to their supporters in Iran.

One Year Later: A Summary of Protests in Iran in 2018

The camp members are exiled from their home country, but according to resident Forough Moezzi, who works in the information unit, ““It’s not a refugee camp – we are a resistance movement so our lives and our work is part of the struggle against the Iranian regime. We live here together and plan the future. We want to go back to Iran – a free Iran – and I think it will be very soon because we see international sanctions and pressure on the regime. I believe freedom is very near.”

Moezzi and her sister joined the MEK when the camp was still located at Ashraf in Iraq. She has been at Ashraf 3 for two years. After she joined the MEK, her father returned to Iran. She said: “When he returned to Iran the regime attacked our home just because my sister and I were here, and he was tortured for more than 10 years. Although he had cancer they wanted to kill him just because his daughters supported PMOI. The regime executed my uncle when he was 23 for the same reason.”

Parvin Poureghbalie is another MEK member who is committed to helping Iranians still inside the country. Poureghbalie studied in Iran in 1980, a year after the 1979 Revolution, and said that violence against dissenters started around that time.

She said: “I was in one of the smaller cities in Iran – Kerman – we were about 180 young girls and we were arrested. From that 180 the majority were either killed or disappeared, some went to other countries and only a small number are still in Iran.

“I feel I have a heavy responsibility for them. The people are starving and searching the garbage for food in a very rich country.

“Workers have been asking why they haven’t had their salaries for months. Just to get their salaries they have to demonstrate.

“We have taken a long and hard path but now we are sure that our return is coming closer. The time we go back to a free Iran will be very soon.”

Mohammad Shafaei was orphaned at the age of eight when the regime killed most of his family. His father, a physician, was shot for treating wounded resistance members, and his brother was tortured to death in Evin Prison, according to The National.

Now Shafaei works on the MEK’s research team, which helps Iranian citizens circumvent regime censorship in order to access the Internet and messaging apps.

Shafaei also works to curb “malign Iranian activity” by identifying fake apps and spyware. The research team has a television channel that is broadcast on Telegram, a messaging app that is used by almost half of the Iranian population.

“Our focus is on Telegram and Instagram because other social media like Facebook and Twitter are banned,” says Shafaei. “What we do is provide proxies to let the people circumvent internet censorship so they can see the demonstrations and unrest in their own country. Iran uses fake applications or spyware, spreads them among users in the country to trace their connections – so we try to disclose all these activities in cyberspace.

“They have their own version of the Telegram client and they use it to collect user information and we investigate all these things and provide reports of what these apps do.”

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