Posts Tagged ‘Tom Ridge’

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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.

Staff writer

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Nowruz ceremony at the Senate building

US Senators Call for Increased MEK Support ahead of Nowruz 

Nowruz ceremony at the Senate building

Nowruz celebration held at the senate building in Washington D.C. Picture shows a few of the speakers at the ceremony, from left Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield, General James Jones, Governor. Tom Ridge, and Senator Joe Lieberman, being welcomed by organizers of the gathering.

In an event ahead of the Persian New Year celebrations, US senators gathered in the John F. Kennedy Hall in Washington D.C. to participate in a discussion on Iranian human rights abuses and the future of democracy in Iran.

Senators from both sides of the political aisle came together with dignitaries to discuss the necessity of offering support for the Iranian pro-democracy opposition. The People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) and the leader of the Iranian opposition, president-elect Maryam Rajavi, are the only viable democratic alternative to regime rule in the country. Rajavi’s ten-point plan for restoring democracy to the country following the fall of the clerical regime has drawn international support and attention.

The senators also discussed the regime’s ruthless demonization campaign and dissemination of misinformation in an attempt to turn public opinion against the influential opposition group.

Among those at the meeting calling for increased support for Ms Rajavi and the MEK were Senator Jeanne Sheehan of the Foreign Affairs, Armed Forces and Budget committees, John Boozman of the Subcommittee on Military Construction and the Veteran Affairs committee, Former National Security Advisor General James Jones, former Vice-Presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman, Governor Tom Ridge, and Lincoln Bloomfield, the former director of the State Department Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.

Think tank fellows, Middle East experts and a slew of reporters from mainstream media outlets were also in attendance.

Promoting Normalised Regional Relations

Jeanne Sheehan made the case for supporting the MEK to normalise Iran’s relations with other states in the region. The Iranian regime has systematically funneled weapons and finances to militia groups and terror cells across the Middle East.

Its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Quds Forces have been involved in the civil wars in Syria, the Yemen, Lebanon, and Iraq. Its financial support for terror groups like Hezbollah and Hamas have undermined regional security. Sheehan called for the peaceful coexistence with other nations in the Middle East.

When Senator Boozman took the floor, he highlighted the growing support and popularity of the MEK and the Iranian resistance as a major reason why the US government should lend its support to Ms. Rajavi and her opposition to the clerical regime.

For General James Jones, the regimes continued terrorist plots against the Iranian opposition abroad were a major factor in his decision to call for increased MEK support. In 2018, the regime coordinated terror attacks against MEK members in Albania, France, and the US. In one of the highest-profile attacks, a Belgian Iranian couple was arrested en-route to the MEK’s annual Grand Gathering event in Paris with a car laden with explosives. More than 100,000 supporters attended the event. Had the plot been carried out, the loss of life could have been catastrophic.

Senator Lieberman highlighted the importance of lending US support to the opposition at this moment. He described how the regime is in decline. Factional infighting, US sanctions, and a growing internal protest movement within Iran are putting the regime under immense pressure. The cracks are appearing and the MEK is ready to fill the void when the regime buckles.

All the events speakers were unambiguous in the need for US support of the MEK. With the regime’s future in power becoming more uncertain by the day.

Staff writer

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Tom Ridge

Former US Homeland Security Secretary: The EU “Must Take Steps to Underscore the Existing Regime’s Illegitimacy

 

Tom Ridge

Tom Ridge, Rudy Guiliani and Representative Robert Pittenger greet Maryam Rajavi – leader of Iran opposition as she joins them at the annual gathering of the MEK in Paris-June 2015

Tom Ridge, the former US Homeland Security Secretary (2001-2003) reiterated the threat the Iranian regime poses to democracies and called for a coordinated strategy from the European Union (EU) in addressing the Iranian threat. In an article published in the National Interest on Sunday, February 3rd, 2019, Ridge said:

“In January German authorities arrested an Afghan-German dual national for spying on behalf of the Iranian intelligence agency. The incident was far from the first, and only underscored the potential threat lurking behind each new revelation.”

There has been a surge in Iranian state-sponsored terrorism and intelligence operations over the last 13 months. In June, in what surmounted to one of the most high-profile plots, an Iranian diplomat was arrested in connection with a plot to bomb the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran’s (MEK’s) annual Grand Gathering event in Paris.

In March, two regime agents were arrested in Albania after targeting the Iranian opposition group once again. The agents had been monitoring the MEK’s compound outside the Albanian capital of Tirana with the intention of carrying out a terror attack during the Persian New Year celebrations.

Targeting the heart of the Iranian opposition

The MEK has always been the target of the regime’s ire but this has surged since the nationwide protests that broke out in Iran in January 2018. The protests quickly spread to more than 140 towns and cities in all 31 of Iran’s provinces.

The regime holds the MEK, a pro-democracy group, responsible. The MEK was instrumental in the protest’s organisation and communicated the plans with pro-democracy elements across Iran.

The MEK’s effectiveness and its central role in the Iranian opposition movement have made it a target for regime terror attacks. In addition to the Paris and Albania attacks, there have been assassination attempts, and murders carried out against MEK members.

A slow political response

Despite the Iranian regime’s numerous plots to kill and main MEK officials on European soil, the political backlash has been muted. France and Albania both expelled diplomats in the wake of the foiled plots, however, the EU has been reluctant to follow the US in adopting sanctions against the regime, rights Tom Ridge in his article.

The EU announced last month that it would introduce new sanctions targeting a branch of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS), but critics “do not believe they go nearly far enough,” Ridges writes.

“We know for a fact that there are ongoing conspiracies to spy on European entities and set the stage for further terrorist attacks,” Ridges asserts, “making it absolutely imperative for the EU and broader international community to address the issue.”

“Any solution must confront the Islamic Republic on multiple fronts,” he continued. The regime is forging closer bonds with extremist groups like the Taliban, Hezbollah and the Houthis in Yemen. If it is sharing the information it has collected through spies in Europe and the US with these groups, the consequences could be catastrophic.

Desperate measures at home and abroad

In addition to the regime’s violent and aggressive activities abroad, it is intensifying its repressive and bloody policies at home.

Following nationwide protests, the regime has launched a crackdown against the political opposition within Iran. The regime has arrested thousands of protestors and executed political prisoners, but the protest movement shows no sign of losing its momentum.

Ridges argues that a coordinated strategy from the international community that attempts to modify the regime’s behavior both at home and abroad is the best way to reduce conflict and increase global stability.

When world leaders meet on February 13th and 14th in Warsaw, Ridges argues, they have the opportunity to construct a coordinated response to Iranian aggression. “The Warsaw summit could go a long way towards developing a coordinated strategy to contain Iran,” he says, “but no strategy would be complete unless it also reaches out to, and coordinates with, Iran’s organized domestic opposition;” the MEK.

Ridges concludes that the EU, “must take steps to underscore the existing regime’s illegitimacy. There is no better way to do that than standing behind the regime’s most active domestic opponents.”

Staff Writer

 

 

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