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Maryam Rajavi to Free Iran Rally at Ashraf 3: “We Will Take Back Iran!”

Annual_Free_Iran_Conference_at_the_Meks_Headquarters_in_Albania-1

Annual_Free_Iran_Conference_at_the_Meks_Headquarters_in_Albania-1

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) held its annual Free Iran Rally at Ashraf 3, the MEK’s headquarters in Albania, for the first time this year.

Ashraf 3 was constructed in just one year and built from the ground up as a home for the displaced members of the MEK who suffered repeated attacks at their previous homes at Camps Ashraf and Liberty in Iraq. The choice to host the Free Iran Rally at Ashraf 3 this year is significant.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi delivered the keynote address to the tens of thousands of MEK members and international dignitaries gathered for the rally.

“Twenty months ago, this was an empty piece of land with nothing on it. At the hands of the Mojahedin, through their enormous efforts and hard work, Ashraf 3 was built and now stands tall. But our final destination is Tehran, freed from the occupation of the mullahs.”

The Goal of an Uprising

Mrs Rajavi quoted Massoud Rajavi’s words on the importance of regime change coming from within Iran: “For a nation to appreciate her own freedom, she must ultimately free herself on her own. “Everyone can only free himself on his own from the yoke of coercion and oppression, and it is precisely for this reason that we are responsible to advance the goal of a general uprising for the freedom of our people and our country,” she quoted.

Fueling Tensions

In reference to her opposition to the easing of sanctions against the Iranian regime in 2013, Mrs. Rajavi said, “The time has come for major powers to stop appeasing and giving concessions to the murderous religious tyranny, the Central Banker of terrorism, and the world’s record holder of executions, and to recognize the right of the people of Iran for resistance and freedom.”

Mrs. Rajavi listed the regime’s escalating terrorist activities and meddling in the Middle East since 2018. She specifically discussed the bombing plot against MEK members at Ashraf 3 last year. “Clearly, the regime is fueling tensions in a bid to push back against the international community. They foment turmoil and chaos to hide their fear of being overthrown. They want firmness to be replaced with a policy of appeasement, and they want to allay fears and anxiety of their Basij Forces and Revolutionary Guards and to preserve their internal balance and equilibrium,” she said. “However, the reality is that schism and instability are among the signs that the regime is in its final chapter. The clerical regime is not going to find a way out of its inevitable downfall.”

Mrs. Rajavi warned those who claim to hope to avoid war in the region that their sentiments are misguided. “Anyone who seeks freedom for Iran, anyone who wants to save Iran from destruction and chaos, anyone who wants global and regional peace and stability, must rise up to demand the overthrow of the mullahs’ regime,” she said.

The MEK Has Paid the Price

Mrs. Rajavi said that the policy of appeasement now carries heavy consequences. The MEK exposed the Iranian regime’s nuclear program, forced a cease fire in the Iran-Iraq War, called attention to the regime’s human rights situation, and repeatedly blew the whistle on the mullahs’ malign activities. If they had not done so, “today, the situation would have been radically different, and the mullahs, equipped with nuclear weapons, would have created and solidified the empire and Caliphate they had long intended to establish,” she said.

“But the MEK has paid the price to break the atmosphere of fear and intimidation created by the velayat-e faqih and their criminal Revolutionary Guard Corps throughout its history by exposing the regime’s evil nature and its illicit activities, including the disclosure of the mullahs’ nuclear program, and by standing against this regime even at the price of their lives,” she continued.

“[MEK] thus has left no future for the mullahs’ evil caliphate,” she added.

Rise of the MEK

Mrs. Rajavi praised the MEK’s Resistance Units: “This Resistance has been able to expand and organize its network inside Iran despite the pervasive repression. This is how Ashraf has been replicated in society and among the people of Iran,” she said.

Despite the regime’s claims that the MEK has no influence within the country, Iranian authorities have arrested large numbers of MEK members and have created new patrols to round up Resistance Units and to suppress Resistance activities. “But the enemy can neither succeed in breaking the morale of Resistance forces in prisons nor is it able to thwart the resistance movement and the units of rebellion in cities. Yes, every young man or woman yearning for freedom and justice is a potential or de facto rebel,” she said.

Maryam Rajavi restated her plan to establish a free and democratic Iran and said that the NCRI would succeed in this goal.

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

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120 Years of Struggle by Iran's People for Freedom - MEK Opposition conference in Albania Ashraf-3

Day Two of Conference at Ashraf-3 Features Speeches from International Dignitaries

120 Years of Struggle by Iran's People for Freedom - MEK Opposition conference in Albania Ashraf-3

120 Years of Struggle by Iran’s People for Freedom – MEK Opposition conference in Albania Ashraf-3

The MEK hosted the second day of an international conference on Friday at Ashraf-3, the home of the Iranian Resistance’s headquarters in Albania. The conference, entitled “120 years of struggle of the Iranian people for freedom,” was attended by thousands of MEK members and prominent politicians and dignitaries from around the world.

The conference’s focus was to condemn the Iranian regime for its suppressive and inhuman actions at home and its terrorist activities abroad and to call on the international community to end the policy of appeasement that allowed the regime to act without consequences.

Speakers at the conference also emphasized that the international community must recognize the MEK and NCRI as the democratic alternative to the mullahs’ regime in order to bring peace and stability to the region.

The following are some of the highlights from the speeches at Friday’s event:

Maryam Rajavi

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

From Mrs. Rajavi’s keynote address:

“One of the missing links in previous movements of the Iranian people was a coherent organization and an organized struggle, coupled with a determined and battle-hardened force prepared to make any sacrifice necessary. As a result, the people’s previous struggles did not succeed despite all their sacrifices,” she said in reference to the failure of past uprisings.

Mrs. Rajavi also spoke about the many crimes perpetrated against the MEK by the mullahs’ regime.

“Despite all the crimes and massacres he committed, Khomeini failed to extinguish the flames of freedom. Over the past 40 years, 120,000 persons have given their lives for the cause of freedom. That includes the 30,000 people who were massacred in 1988 for insisting on their political identity as a member of the Mojahedin. Another half-a-million people were arrested and viciously tortured,” she said.

“The mullahs continued their crimes against Ashraf and Liberty by setting 22 deadlines in 10 years, through a medical blockade, through psychological torture using over 300 loudspeakers blaring into Ashraf for two years, and through 29 ground and aerial attacks, using armored vehicles and missile launchers, including the commission of seven bloodbaths and massacres,” she continued.

Mrs. Rajavi concluded on a hopeful note, saying, “But today, we have reached a historic turning point. An Ashraf which has once again risen up, proud and powerful, shining bright at the zenith of this Resistance. This Ashraf has been replicated 1000 times in the form of resistance units all over Iran. And a volatile society which is no longer willing to put up with the mullahs, yearning to overthrow them.”

Suda

MEK member and resident at Ashraf-3

“I grew up in Sweden and was about to travel to France to study, but a video that I’d seen couldn’t leave my mind; a video of someone being stoned to death in Iran. I saw myself at a crossroads. I could live my own life and fulfil my dreams or I could put everything aside and fulfil my people’s dreams. That’s why I joined the MEK, to live for others. I thank all of you for being with us,” she said.

Ingrid Betancourt

Former Colombian Senator and Presidential candidate

“It’s just amazing what the MEK has done to transform this place since the last time I visited. I am proud to be your friend,” said Ms. Betancourt. “Your decision to confront the tyranny and pay the highest price. This sacrifice today is bearing its fruit. I see that here in Ashraf 3. It’s a miracle. I have been with you for a couple of years and I am amazed by your support and your political savviness. As a woman, I feel very proud and that in the world there is no organization like the MEK that gives women this power.”

“We are making history today,” she added. “Your victory is our victory and we will be very soon with you in Tehran!” Ms. Betancourt proclaimed.

Rudy Giuliani

Former New York City Mayor

“There is an alternative to the theocracy and dictatorship in Iran. It is a government-in-exile, and it gives us the confidence that if we help overthrow the Iranian regime, there will be prosperity and democracy in Iran,” said the former mayor.

Giuliani referred to the numerous terrorist plots against the MEK by the Iranian regime in 2018, saying, “They tried to bomb us in the US. They tried to bomb us here in Tirana a year and a half ago. They tried to bomb us in Paris a year ago. They’re the biggest state sponsor of terrorism and we let them sit in the UN and talk to them like they’re decent people.”

“I thank Madam Maryam Rajavi for letting me be part of this, and this is something that I am proud of and probably my children will be proud of…I wish to have this meeting in Tehran before I die,” Giuliani said.

Giuliani encouraged the MEK to continue their struggle for freedom. “You keep trying and you fail, you keep trying and you fail, and then the Berlin Wall comes down. It will happen eventually, but let’s make it happen now before another 100,000 deaths,” he said.

Senator Joseph Lieberman

Former U.S. Senator and Vice-Presidential candidate

“You in the NCRI have given us the opportunity to be true to our national principles. When I’m here I feel that I’m representing the spirit of my great friend, the late Senator John McCain, who was warned by the establishment to stay away from this organization, but he spent time learning about it. He came to Ashraf 3, believing in this organization and its cause,” said Lieberman.

“Ashraf 3 has become something magnificent. Coming here and seeing this magnificent community that you’ve built is miraculous. It teaches us lessons,” he continued.

Lieberman praised the Ashrafis for their perseverance, saying, “The citizens of Ashraf never gave up despite the atrocities they faced imposed by the Iranian regime.”

He also talked about the exhibition of the history of MEK members who have been killed and persecuted by the Iranian regime that he and other speakers viewed before the conference began: “This exhibition, despite the mourning, is inspiring. And the whole story of the Ashrafis is inspiring,” he said.

“With the kind of leadership that the MEK and Maryam Rajavi are giving and will give in Iran; with the support of people from around the world who are represented here and with the resistance of the Iranian people inside of Iran, we will have a meeting some day in Iran and come together and have a great party,” Lieberman concluded.

Michèle Alliot-Marie

MEP; former French Foreign, Defense, Justice and Interior Minister

Alliot-Marie referenced the MEK memorial, saying, “I have to say that I’m very moved. What a contrast between the dramatic, horrifying images that we saw a few minutes ago. To be in contact with men and women who have given their lives for such a cause. To see what you have been able to achieve. You wish to give so much to the Iranian people.”

“You have people who have been tortured yet you still pave the path for freedom. This visit to Ashraf 3 was very moving for us,” she continued.

“I have the privilege of being able to speak and think freely. Yet I also know that today this liberty is not available everywhere across the globe,” Alliot-Marie said.

“We are also obliged to all people who are being subjugated to dictators around the world, and in Iran. We are here today, Mrs. Rajavi, to tell you that you are not alone,” she said.

“We have to give the Iranian people courage and the help they need so they can get their future back,” Alliot-Marie concluded.

Matthew Offord

MP (United Kingdom)

“You are the proof of a proud brave nation that will never succumb to the atrocities of the regime,” Offord said, addressing the MEK members at the conference.

“We have always argued that decoupling the regime’s human rights violations from the nuclear deal was a mistake,” he said.

“We have been proven right that there is no moderate faction inside the Iranian regime.” he added.

“There are two issues that we continue to raise in our debates,” Offord said:

  1. “We need to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its atrocities in the 1988 massacre of political prisoners.”
  2. “The U.K. government needs to blacklist the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and all its subsidiary as a terrorist organization.”

“This measure will signal to the Iranian people that they are not forgotten and we stand with them,” he emphasized.

Offord added, “We want to recognize the right of the Iranian people and the resistance led by Madame Maryam Rajavi to establish a democratic and free republic in Iran.”

“Iran’s current regime is not just a threat to the Iranian people but to the peace around the world,” he concluded.

General James Conway

Former Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps

“I participated in a policy panel in Ashraf 3 and we were invited to dinner with the ladies of Ashraf 3. And some of them shared with me their stories of sacrifice and suffering. What I saw last night in terms of the ability to endure loss and yet move on was the sense of unit cohesion and dedication to each other that was the same as you see in the military. The sense of mission and dedication to accomplish it, said General Conway.

“I’m absolutely confident that with those ladies, you will make your country free someday,” he added.

Ms. Mojgan Parsaie

Former MEK Secretary General

“The story of the supporters of Ashraf who helped rescue the MEK members is the story of honorable people,” said Ms. Parsaie.

“Time has shown that you stand on the right side of history. The future will show more appreciation,” she added.

“Mayor Giuliani was correct that the solution to Iran is not appeasement but regime change. Throughout history there are always tyrants and for a period they seem invincible. However, they all fall at the end. Always.” Ms. Parsaie concluded.

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MEK supporters rally in Brussels

MEK-Iran: Free Iran Rallies, A March For Freedom

MEK supporters rally in Brussels

Supporters of the MEK and NCRI will be marching in various cities around the world in June and July 2019 to show solidarity for the Iranian people’s quest for freedom and democracy in Iran and to show support for the only viable alternative to the ruling regime, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)

Ever since the eruption of protests in more than 140 Iranian cities in late December 2017, it has become obvious that winds of change inside Iran are in motion and that the Ayatollah’s rule is coming to an end. Slogans like “Death to Khamenei” and  “reformers, hardliners, the game is now over”, are appearing, scrawled on walls or shouted in crowds at public protests, sending a clear message to Iran’s rulers, and the West.

 

In early January 2017, just two weeks after protests broke out across the country, the Iranian regime’s leader, Khamenei, identified Iran’s main opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI, aka, Mojahedin-e-Khalq or MEK) as a major force behind the uprising. As always, he blamed the US and “foreign enemies” as external influences in an attempt to downplay the MEK’s role in the uprising.  

 

These external factors would come into play in the weeks and months that followed. In May 2018, the US exited the “Nuclear Deal” with Iran. Shortly afterward, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlined 12 preconditions for any possible renegotiation of the agreement with the Iranian regime. The conditions included the immediate cessation of the mullahs’ missile development programs and the regime’s exit from regional conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen.

 

During the second half of 2018, the Iranian regime, faced with ongoing protests and renewed economic sanctions from the West, had to take action to survive.

 

It launched a terror campaign in Europe and the US. The regime plotted at least four major acts of terror in Albania, France, the U.S. and Denmark. In each case, the primary target of the attacks was the MEK.

 

On April 19, 2018, the Albanian Prime Minister revealed authorities had foiled a plot to bomb the MEK’s New Year celebrations in March of that year. Ghomahossein Mohammadnia, the Iranian regime’s ambassador to Albania, and Mostafa Roodaki, the Ministry of Information and Security (MOIS) station chief in Albania, were subsequently expelled from the country in December of the same year.

 

Inside Iran, the internal crisis was escalating. Corruption within the system had become a common topic of discussion and the ruling regime had lost any shred of credibility it had maintained among its base.

 

The regime’s strategy for survival became “waiting out the Trump era”. There were talks about how they could buy time until President Trump’s term in office came to an end in the hope that the next administration would adopt a softer stance towards Iran.  

State-run Media Worries that IRGC Terrorist Designation Will Lead to More Protests

That dream, however, was shattered when theTrump administration listed the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in April 2019. The IRGC is a central pillar of the regime’s repressive organ. It keeps the Ayatollahs in power and plays a vital role in the suppression of protests and uprisings.

 

The regime’s survival is the top priority for the rulers in Iran. They know that the people’s uprising, ignited by the MEK’s activities inside Iran, is their main threat.

To confront this internal threat Khamenei appointed hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi as the new head of the judiciary in May 2019. Raisi was one of three people in charge of the 1988 massacre, where the regime rounded up and executed more than 30,000 political prisons in Iran, most of which were members and affiliates of the MEK.

 

The designation of Raisi indicates that Khameni has no intention of relinquishing power voluntarily. His regime will confront the opposition with violence and intimidation wherever necessary.

Iran Human Rights Monitor Reports Two Months of Human Rights Violations under Ebrahim Raisi

The regime is employing a similar strategy on the international stage. Terrorism and hostage taking will remain the regime’s primary tools to deal with external issues. This was on show when Iran’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, repeatedly pointed out on his recent visit to the US that the Iranian regime has several US hostages in Iranian prisons.

 

The US’s policy of “maximum pressure” is working. The Iranian regime is feeling the pressure. It can no longer fund Hezbollah and other terrorist forces in the region.

In order to ensure peace and to prevent the Iranian regime from igniting the flames of war in the Middle East, the West must empower the people of Iran and the Iranian opposition to foster democratic change. Lending support to the exiled Iranians planning rallies and demonstrations across the globe against the regime is a vital part of this empowerment.

Look for marches and rallies in Europe (Brussels, June 15, Berlin, July 6, Stockholm, July 20, London, July 27) and the US (Washington, June 21) and lend your support.

Hamid Azimi

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Javad Zarif, Iranian regime's Minister of Foreign Affairs

Javad Zarif Draws Criticism from Iranians After More Inflammatory Comments

Javad Zarif, Iranian regime's Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mohammad Javad Zarif at the balcony of the Palais Coburg hotel during the Iran nuclear talks meetings in Vienna- July 10, 2015

Javad Zarif, the Iranian regime foreign minister, has drawn criticism from Iranians over comments he made about Iranian meddling in foreign conflicts across the Middle East.

Speaking at the regime’s Foreign Policy Meeting, while he referred to regime backed terrorism as “resistance”, he said: “We are proud of the resistance of Syria[Assad’s dictatorship], Lebanon [Hezbollah], Iraq [Quds force], etc.”

The comments prompted a backlash on social media. Voria Ghafouri, a soccer player at Esteghlal, in the Persian Gulf Pro League, responded with an Instagram post in which he criticized the regime’s foreign minister, “you are not the one who’s under pressure. The people are under pressure. The nation’s wealth is not your inheritance to give out as you please.” said Ghafouri’s post at Instagram.

He added, “if you’re man enough, speak your rubbish among the people so you get your answer!” The Iranian regime has been under intense domestic pressure in the form of national protests among Iranians. The protestors are expressing their fury over the mullahs’ economic mismanagement and financing of foreign militia and terror groups which has left the Iranian economy in turmoil.

Enough is Enough

The Iranian people have made their feeling clear. At recent protests, Iranians chanted “leave Syria alone, think of us”, etc.

The foreign minister is renowned for making inflammatory, controversial, and false statements. He recently compared Iranian democracy to that of France’s, asserted the regime did not want war and claimed that there were no political prisoners in regime custody, claims that if they weren’t so damaging would be laughable.

A Steady Stream of Lies and Misinformation

Zarif has also deliberately sewn confusion and muddied the waters surrounding who exactly is repressed and who are the oppressors. Following the Warsaw conference, which saw more than 60 countries agree to impose increased pressure on Iran, Zarif took to social media to paint the Iranian regime as a victim, not perpetrator, of international terrorism. It also referred to MEK’s rally in Warsaw in a bid to discredit the opposition:

“It is no coincidence that Iran is hit by terror on the very day that Warsaw circus begins?” he wrote, “especially when cohorts of same terrorists cheer it from Warsaw streets & support it with Twitter bots?” Zarif’s tweet raised an immediate response from the Polish Minsitery of Foreign Affairs, rejecting his labeling against the main opposition:

In other posts, Zarif attempts to pass Iranian involvement in Syria off as aiding the peace process. “As Iran, Russia & Turkey ready a summit in Sochi to work for peace in Syria & UN Court rejects US excuses & readies to rule on US theft of Iranian people’s assets, flip-flopping Trump officials try to hide their perpetual lawlessness & global isolation behind a charade in Warsaw,” he Tweeted.

Staff Writer

 

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Maryam Rajavi's message to Free Iran Rally-Feb8, 2019

Maryam Rajavi Adresses Paris Rally: “Now Is the Time for the Mullahs to Be Overthrown”

Maryam Rajavi's message to Free Iran Rally-Feb8, 2019

Maryam Rajavi’s message to the Free Iran Rally, the MEK supporter’s rally in Paris on the 40th anniversary of the 1979 revolution-February 8, 2019

On Thursday, February 8th, the Iranian opposition, supporters of the MEK, held a rally in Paris to express solidarity for the protest movement taking place in Iran and to urge international policymakers to show their support for the Iranian opposition within Iran by adopting a firm policy toward the Iranian regime.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), addressed the rally’s attendees and participants, who included MEK members and other Iranian expatriates, international politicians, and human rights activists.

In her speech, Mrs. Rajavi discussed the hardships that the Iranian people have faced in their quest for freedom. She said, “Our people faced a whirlpool of horror and darkness which they had to go through in order to achieve freedom.”

The Iranian Uprising and Protest Movement

Mrs. Rajavi went on to speak about the regime’s response to the ongoing protests that have been taking place in Iran since last year. She cited reports from Amnesty International, which state that 7,000 protesters were arrested last year, noting that the actual number is even higher. She described how the regime killed some of these protesters after their arrests and claimed they had died of suicide. She further discussed the regime’s torture of detainees and its crackdown on ethnic and religious minorities, on workers, students, women, young people, and anyone who dared to defy the regime.

 

With the dawn of the protest movement, Mrs. Rajavi stated that Iran had entered a “new era” in its “battle to bring down the mullahs’ theocratic rule.” Subsequently, said Mrs. Rajavi, “They expect the international community to respect their struggle and recognize their high goal of liberating Iran and the entire world from the evil and mischief of the mullahs’ religious fascism.”

An End to the Policy or Appeasement

According to Rajavi, Western governments must pay heed to this responsibility because of their history of preserving the mullahs’ rule for the past twenty years. The Western policy of appeasement toward the mullahs allowed the regime to flourish by “cracking down on the Iranian Resistance, blacklisting it, and restricting it.” Mrs. Rajavi said that the end of the regime’s threat would only come through the recognition of the Iranian people’s right to achieve freedom.

Gilbert Mitterrand
François Mitterrand’s son, one of the main speakers at MEK’s February 8, rally in Paris, posing for a photocall.
The sign reads: #DemocracyWithMaryamRajavi

Such recognition,” said Mrs. Rajavi, “lies in the heart of the solution to the Iranian problem. This is the path to freedom in Iran and the road to peace and tranquility in the region and the world.”

A Firm Policy Toward the Iranian Regime

Mrs. Rajavi stressed the need for the United States and European Union to blacklist the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

She then posed a question to European and U.S. leaders: “Now, our question to those who are still persisting in their worn-out policy of appeasement of the mullahs is, ‘Why do you want to prolong the suffering of the people of Iran and other nations in the region? Is it not enough? Indeed, what does it take for you to learn your lessons from the mullahs’ savage terrorism in recent months in the heart of Europe and in the U.S.?’”

Mrs. Rajavi urged the international community to be firm with the Iranian regime. Stand up to the clerical regime and prevent their access to missile programs and any form of arms and equipment,” she said. “The Iranian people and Resistance do not want this regime to have any bullets, or sell any barrel of oil, or spend a single dollar of the Iranian nation’s wealth on suppression and terrorism.”

Mrs. Rajavi was very clear in the goals of the Iranian Resistance, including the MEK: “The objective of the Iranian people and their Resistance is to overthrow the regime in its entirety. The goal is freedom, democracy, and the sovereignty of our people’s republic.”

 

She emphasized, “Yes, now is the time for the mullahs to be overthrown.”

.

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Free Iran Rally in Paris-February 2019

The Iranian Opposition Plan Large Rally Ahead of Poland Conference

Free Iran Rally in Paris-February 2019

Free Iran Rally – February 8th, 2019

As a plague of poverty sweeps across Iran, all but wiping out the middle class in its wake, the Iranian regime continues to try and blame the international community for Iran’s economic woes.

Years of economic mismanagement and corruption have hollowed out Iranian industries, caused rampant unemployment, and prompted rocketing inflation. Rather than cause Iran’s economic decline, the international community is finally holding the Iranian regime to account.

A Turning Tide

In early January, the EU introduced its first sanctions against the Iranian regime since the landmark JCPOA agreement. The new sanctions targeted a branch of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) as well as two senior officials.

Despite the new sanctions, many in the Iranian opposition, including the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), believe that without a full terrorist blacklisting of the MOIS and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the effect of any sanctions will be severely limited.

Although the sanctions are limited in scope, they do represent a changing tide in the mindset of European governments. For decades, the EU’s heads of state have stuck firmly to a policy of appeasement. But now, after a string of Iranian state-sponsored terror attacks plotted on European soil, France and Britain are leading the charge for a firmer stance against Iran.

Amongst the possible actions up for discussion are economic sanctions, asset freezes, and travel bans for senior figures in the Iranian regime.

A senior EU diplomat said, “we’d prefer not to take these measures, but they [the mullahs] need to stop trying to kill people on our territory.”

In 2018, the Iranian regime plotted several terror attacks and assassinations against members of the MEK and other dissident groups living on European soil. Plots were unraveled in Albania, France, Denmark, and the US.

Albanian President Expresses Support for Expulsion of Iranian Regime Diplomats

The Poland Conference

The United States has organized a conference in Poland on the 13th and 14th of February in which the international community will discuss the Iranian threat. The foreign ministries from 90 countries across the globe will attend. International cooperation and support for a firmer stance against the regime are essential for curbing their nuclear ambitions and ending their campaign of terror on European soil.

The president-elect of the Iranian opposition, Maryam Rajavi, said,

“we have always urged western governments to be firm against the mullahs’ terrorist dictatorship. So, today, we urge them to expel the mercenaries of the mullahs’ intelligence services and the terrorist Qods force from the US and Europe.”

The MEK and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) have worked relentlessly to draw attention to the human rights abuses taking place across Iran. Ahead of the conference in Warsaw, the Iranian opposition will hold a major demonstration against the Iranian regime’s widespread abuse of human rights and employment of terrorism as a technique of repression.

Rajavi is convinced. She has spoken on the international stage and asserted that the only way to free the Iranian people from the violent and repressive clerical regime is through regime change. Following four failed terror attacks in Europe, any measure short of listing the MOIS and IRGC as terrorist organizations will fall well short of what is needed to eliminate the Iranian threat and bring stability to the Middle East and beyond.

Staff Writer

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Increase in terrorist activities of the Iranian regime

The US Can Force Europe to Take a Tougher Stance Against Iran by Designating MOIS a Terror Organisation

Increase in terrorist activities of the Iranian regime

Assadollah Assadi, the mastermind behind the Iranian regime’s foiled terror plot to bomb MEK’s annual gathering in Paris-June 30th, 2018

Alarabiya published an opinion piece outlining the increasing international concern over Iran’s state-sponsored terrorist activities. 2018 has seen a surge in Iranian terrorism across the world as European authorities have foiled several terror plots and which were traced back to the Iranian regime leadership.

“If ISIS targeted people arbitrarily without any operation center in the EU, Iran’s regime uses its embassies to organize terrorist operations across Europe”, the piece said.

The most recent development was the expulsion of the Iranian ambassador to Albania and another high-level diplomat. Albania’s government cited increasing security threats as the reason for the expulsion.

In March, during the Persian New Year celebrations, two Iranian agents working for the Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) were arrested for plotting a terror attack on Albanian soil. The attack’s target was members of the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) currently living in exile in a compound near the Albanian capital of Tirana.

The Iranian regime scrambles to distance itself from the foiled terror attack in Europe

Following the Albanian government’s decision to expel the diplomats, President Trump personally praised the Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama. He thanked him for his “steadfast efforts to stand up to Iran and to counter its destabilizing activities and efforts to silence dissidents around the globe.”

A Growing Operation

Prior to the MEK’s arrival on Albanian soil, the country was on the regime’s periphery. It had a small embassy in Tirana through which it managed diplomatic operations. However, since the MEK arrived in 2016 after fleeing regime attacks on its compounds in Iraq, the regime has expanded the Albanian embassy’s operations, “almost doubling the size and the number of staff”, according to Alarabiya.

In addition to expanding the building and hiring more staff, the regime sent an MOIS agent to the country as its ambassador and created a special section of the embassy devoted to planning attacks against the MEK and the Iranian opposition.

The regime’s activities in Albania have been a microcosm of a growing surge in terror activities in Europe. 2018 saw the foiled terror plot in Albania, a foiled terror attack in Paris in June, an assassination attempt against a political dissident in Denmark, and the arrest of two MOIS agents in the United States on espionage charges.

Alongside their violent terror attacks, the regime has coordinated an extensive misinformation campaign against the MEK. Recent hit pieces against the MEK have appeared in the Guardian, Al Jazeera, MSNBC, and Channel 4.

Channel 4 News Report Serves as Tool for Iran Lobby

The response has been somewhat muted. Following the attempted attack on the MEK’s Grand Gathering in June, the French government expelled diplomats and froze MOIS assets. However, few countries have followed suit, making Albania’s decision a landmark moment.

Many observers attribute this surge in state-sponsored violence against political dissidents to a decades-long policy of appeasement towards the Iranian regime from Western governments. “In their view, the current EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and her colleagues are responsible for this emerging threat to [the] EU’s security”, the Alarabiya piece states.

The Alarabiya piece asserts that the US government could force Europe’s governments to adopt a tougher stance by designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the MOIS as terrorist organizations. “This is what the Iranian people, dissidents and dozens of prominent Western politicians ask and call for”, the piece concludes.

Staff Writer

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Colombian-French politician, Ingrid Betancourt, and the former presidential candidate in Colombia addresses MEK members in Ashraf 3

Ingrid Betancourt to MEK Members: “We are going to win this”

Colombian-French politician, Ingrid Betancourt, and the former presidential candidate in Colombia addresses MEK members in Ashraf 3

Ingrid Betancourt, the Colombian-French politician, and the former presidential candidate in Colombia speaks at the International Conference of the Iranian Communities, held in Ashraf 3, MEK’s residence in Albania- December 2018

Colombian-French politician, Ingrid Betancourt and the former Colombian presidential candidate, addressed members of the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) and their allies in Albania, emphasizing that “Time has changed. You [the MEK] are the hope, Maryam [Rajavi] is the leader and we are with you and we are going to win this” referring to MEK’s struggle to free Iran.

Betancourt expressed her gratitude towards the Albanian government and delight at what she said was a “very special moment” for her.

“Many years ago we were fighting for your lives when you were in Camp Liberty and we were feeling the despair and the rage of being caught in that horrible situation where we were surrounded by lies and… the only thing we could do was [cry] for help and [denounce] what was happening”, she said, adding, “to see you here in this land that has welcomed you with open arms… thank you, Albania. Thank you”.

She expressed her warmth towards the country. “I feel at home because I see that this is a country that has decided to take the good side of the choices of options in life”, she said.

“What Albania has done… has gained the respect of all the international community”, she proclaimed.

The Phoenix Rising from the Ashes

Betancourt described how she had insisted that on this visit to Albania, she would not stay in a hotel, but she wanted to be with the MEK members at their Ashraf 3 compound outside Tirana.

She described how she had “been walking the streets of this new city”, adding, “I’m so proud to be here with you.”

Following the Iranian regime’s mortar attacks and liquidation of the Camps of Ashraf and Liberty in Iraq, in which many MEK members lost their lives or were badly wounded, the MEK fled to Albania.

In just 12 months, the group has built a sprawling compound, aptly named Ashraf 3. The compound has its own water purification facilities, dormitories, dental center, pharmacies, bakeries, a sports complex, library, meeting hall, and learning centers.

Betancourt marveled, “You are like the phoenix that rises from the ashes and this Ashraf is telling me the power that is in you”.

“You have built a community of people”, she continued, “that are committed to fighting for a free Iran.” Betancourt expressed her delight at the “city” under construction at Ashraf 3, where MEK members and supporters from around the world are united in their passion and desire for a free Iran.

A Direct Threat to the Mullahs’ Future in Power

The resilience and determination on display across the MEK is a direct threat to the mullahs’ future in power in Iran.

“Can you imagine”, Betancourt asked, “what it is for the government of Iran, the regime of the mullahs, every day looking at the newspapers and finding out that there is a riot somewhere in some place in Iran?” “Every day you are reminding them that they have no right to be at the head of the state in Iran”, she added, “every day, you are reminding them that it’s going to come to an end”.

Without the MEK, the protest movement in Iran would not be possible. “It’s because you are here, organized, with the plan… with a strategy, with a leader like Maryam Rajavi”, that the people of Iran feel empowered to take to the streets.

Maryam Rajavi, the Iranian opposition leader, takes a photo up with distinguished speakers at the International Conference against Iranian regime’s terrorism and violations of human rights, in Ashraf 3, Albania-December 15, 2018

Betancourt described how Maryam Rajavi disarms the regime’s terrorism and violence with love. “Love is the one that will bring Iran to freedom”, Betancourt asserted.

The Tables Have Turned

Betancourt described how just five years ago, the MEK was fighting to get its name removed from international terror lists in the West after Western government included the pro-democracy group on the lists to appease the mullahs.

“Now it is them who have to explain”, Betancourt clamored. After several foiled terror attacks in Europe, the French and Albanian governments have expelled diplomats. The French President Emmanuel Macron ordered for the freezing of assets owned by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS)

Betancourt continued, “now it’s them who fear”. “They are fearing that they will be brought to justice. And this is our commitment. We are going to make sure that we free Iran and that we bring them to international justice”.

Finally, Betancourt concluded, “We want them to be in jail for all the crimes they have committed”.

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Ahvaz steel workers strike.

Iran: Protests Gain Momentum as Anniversary of Uprising Grows Near

Ahvaz steel workers strike.

Steel Workers of Ahvaz protesting the lack of payment and harsh working conditions

It has been almost one year since the massive uprising took place in Iran, which spread to over 140 cities in every province in the country over a two week period. Since that uprising, protests have taken place on a daily basis. Now, as the first anniversary of the uprising nears, more strikes and popular protests are taking place across Iran.

Bus Drivers’ Protest

On Wednesday, city bus drivers in Zanjan, northwest Iran, went on strike to protest poor living conditions and the lack of availability of spare parts.

Students’ Protest

Also on Wednesday, dental school students from Bandar Abbas Science University in southern Iran gathered to protest the poor quality of education at the university and subpar recreational facilities on campus.

Car Customers’ Protests

MEK sources spotted a rally in Tehran by people who placed down payments on Iran Khodro vehicles and have yet to receive them. The customers gathered outside of the company’s administrative offices to demand the delivery of their vehicles.

Meanwhile, customers who registered to buy Citroen C3 cars gathered outside of the regime’s Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade in Tehran for the third consecutive day on Wednesday to protest the sharp increase in the price of the car after customers reserved their vehicles. Authorities said that the cost of the car rose by one billion rials, or approximately 24,000 U.S. dollars, according to the regime’s exchange rate).

The protesters chanted:
“Our Industry Ministry has lobbied with Saipa!”
“We consider Saipa as thieves; we’ll get what is rightfully ours!”

Citizens’ Protest

People in the city of Masjid Suleiman, southwest Iran, protested city officials’ failure to follow through on their promises to citizens, including putting asphalt on the city roads. Citizens shouted anti-regime slogans during their protest.

Steelworkers Supporters’ Protest

On Wednesday, employees of the Arian Foolad (Steel) Buin Zahra company, west of Tehran, gathered outside of the mayor’s office to show their support for the striking National Steel Group workers in Ahvaz, southwest Iran.

Retirees’ Protests

On Tuesday, retirees from cities across Iran gathered in front of the regime’s Parliament in Tehran to protest poor economic conditions for retirees. Retirees live below the poverty line in Iran.

The retirees also expressed their support of the Iran National Steel Industrial Group (INSIG) workers who were recently arrested and demanded the immediate release of those workers, as well as the teachers who were arrested during their recent strikes.

The retirees chanted:

“The government is committing treason and the parliament is supporting it!”
“INSIG workers must be freed!”
“Detained teachers must be freed!”

The protesters pointed to the Parliament and chanted, “Our enemies are here, not the U.S. as the government claims!”

In Mashhad, northeast Iran, retirees rallied in front of the regime’s Planning and Budget Organization building to protest their low wages and poor economic situation. The protesters held signs reading, “Our wages are based on the rial, but expenses are based on the dollar!”

Staff Writer

 

 

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Maryam Rajavi receives a warm welcome from MEK members in Tirana

Maryam Rajavi to Iranian Communities: “Wall of Repression Will Fall Apart with the Force of Sacrifice and Unity”

Maryam Rajavi receives a warm welcome from MEK members in Tirana

Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) enters the conference hall – December 15, 2018

On December 15th, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), addressed an International simultaneous conference organized by the Iranian Communities, which took place simultaneously in 42 cities across North America, Europe, and Australia. The purpose of the conference was to discuss the ongoing popular protests taking place in Iran, the need for a firm approach when dealing with the Iranian regime, and the goals of the NCRI, MEK, and Iranian Resistance in restoring democracy to Iran.

In her speech, Mrs. Rajavi referenced regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s recent remarks that the U.S. planned to sow discord in 2019 by assisting the MEK in their activities. She questioned why the regime was so afraid of discord in the New Year. “Because,” she said, “In the year that is ending soon, not a single day went by without protests against the theocratic regime, and without cries for freedom. So, I would tell Khamenei and the rest of the mullahs:

‘Yes, you (Ali Khamenei) should fear, and you should tremble, because your overthrow is imminent at the hands of the Iranian people and their Resistance. They are passionately going for it and they will definitely make it come true.’”

Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) addressing the International Conference of Iranian Communities gathered in 42 different locations around the world-Tirana-December 15, 2018

Mrs. Rajavi emphasized that “the clerical regime has no way and no solution to thwart it’s being overthrown. Since 40 years ago, we have sincerely wished to see the clerical regime change its behavior. But as they say, they will not commit suicide in fear of death.”

She further noted that the regime’s strategy “to survive and break out of the crisis, is further crackdown and suppression inside Iran, and more export of terrorism, war and crises to other countries.”

Mrs. Rajavi described the regime’s numerous attempted terrorist attacks on the MEK in Europe and detailed how each plot was foiled by European governments. “Indeed,” Mrs. Rajavi said, “Isn’t it regrettable that despite disclosure of the mullahs’ terrorism on European soil, the regime’s appeasers are still trying to find a way to deal with the regime and seeking to aid the murderers of the Iranian people?

“We tell them: ‘Gentlemen, if you don’t want to stand by the people of Iran, at least do not victimize the security of your own citizens. Why do you aid a regime that poses threats to European capitals?

“This is our word: Respect the Iranian people’s desire to overthrow the regime and establish freedom and democracy.’”

Mrs. Rajavi stressed that buying Iranian oil comes at the expense of the Iranian people, saying:

“Let the hands of this criminal regime be cut off from Iran’s oil revenues which is our national asset. Every barrel of oil the regime sells is a lash on the back of the people of Iran and a bullet piercing the heart of the people of the region.”

She also questioned the regime’s missile program: “Furthermore, what are the regime’s successive missile tests about? What is their aim? Anything but blackmailing and threatening regional and global peace?” she asked.

Rajavi then listed actions that must be taken against the regime: [T]he IRGC, the MOIS, and the regime’s state propaganda machine must be placed on the U.S. List of Foreign Terrorist Organizations and the terror list of the European Union.”

She added, “The regime’s financial lifelines which fund Khamenei’s apparatus, the IRGC, the terrorist Quds Force, and the religious Gestapo must be blocked.”

Finally, she said, “The dossier of the regime’s continuing crimes against humanity must be referred to the UN Security Council, and Khamenei, Rouhani and other regime leaders must face justice.”

Mrs. Rajavi noted that the most important task ahead is the overthrow of the regime and the restoration of democratic rule, which is in the hands of the Iranian people. “Of course,” she said “As I have repeatedly declared, the regime’s overthrow, democratic change, and the establishment of a free Iran, task already undertaken by the Iranian people and Resistance. They are impatient in fulfilling this duty and will most definitely make it come true.”

To the supporters of the MEK, Mrs. Rajavi said: “The secret to your tirelessness, hopefulness, livelihood, and firm resolve is your power to give and sacrifice for the freedom of the people of Iran. And I am confident that you are going to bring about a beautiful and glorious future for your people and your country.”

Mrs. Rajavi also saluted the protesters inside Iran, who continue to rebel against the oppressive regime.  She said: “And hail to our compatriots in various provinces who continue their protests and uprisings and have kept the flames of uprisings alight.

“The demonstrations of Haft Tappeh Sugarcane workers and the start of the second month of strikes and protests by the brave steel workers of Ahvaz have incited more resistance and protests all across the country.

“Those who addressed the mullahs, calling them monkeys who are sitting on the Prophet’s pulpit.
Steelworkers wore shrouds and took to the street, chanting, ‘Down with the oppressor, hail to the worker,’ and ‘we will never surrender!’

“We also hail the honorable truck drivers and truck owners who tirelessly continue their strikes and recently held the fourth round of their nationwide protests. And hail to the poor but steadfast farmers of Isfahan who rose up again. We hail the conscious students of Iran who staged sit-ins and protests on the Student Day on December 7th.”

Mrs. Rajavi concluded her speech with words of hope. “The truth is that today, the regime’s existence is in danger more than any other time in its history,” she said. “Iran’s society is also more prepared than any other time and simmering.”

“The wall of repression will fall apart with the force of sacrifice and unity,” she vowed. “So, onwards to a free and democratic Iran!”

Staff Writer

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