On July 13, 2019, dignitaries from dozens of countries across the world attended the main event of the Free Iran 2019 international conference. The conference was part of the five-day Free Iran 2019 series of conferences at the main headquarters of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) in Ashraf 3, Albania. Several dignitaries, political and human rights activists delivered speeches, issuing remarks about the struggles of the Iranian people and their resistance movement for freedom in their country.
Following are key remarks by former Colombian Senator and Presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt at the Ashraf 3 conference.
Six months ago, this was a construction site. And today it’s a well-designed city with an amazing victory arch and magical lighted trees. And I have come here several times to share with you Ashrafians, to stay here with you, and I have been sleeping here, I have been sharing my meals with you. I have seen you in your activities, seeing where you prepare your daily chores, where you design your clothes. I’ve seen you gardening, building, repairing, constructing, communicating. And I say this because as you know, over the past year the propaganda by the regime and its lobbyists and collaborators was that Ashraf 3 is a closed compound, that no one is allowed to come in. Well, the whole world is here, right?
And we’re here not only because we have been invited but also because this is the right thing to do. And we’re here even after knowing that we were targets in a bomb threat in Villepinte [where 2018 grand gathering held]. But those who are saying that this is a very secret closed compound are also saying that there are strange things happening here. In February this year, in “der Spiegel” there was an article saying that whoever came here came to be trained on how to cut throats, break hands, and pierce eyes. Wow… believe me that’s not my style. But those accusations bear the mark of the disinformation strategy of the mullahs.
And Maryam [Rajavi], I have to thank you for the effort you have made in opening our eyes in the exhibit that we saw yesterday, which is a first-class documentation exercise. You recreated even with the pain of remembrance the conditions of incarceration in Iran and the torture chambers of the mullahs. And I want to thank you because I know how difficult it is to talk about our own suffering. And we tend to be very abstract. But with the exhibit we could see who were the ones piercing eyes, burning faces, cutting hands. And the list of tortures, well, frankly I cannot continue naming them because I think that they can only come from the mind of a psychopath.
So, I want to say two things. First, shame, shame on those who were either fed or paid by the mullahs, by the Ministry of Intelligence of Iran (MOIS) to spread lies about who we are here and who you are here in Ashraf 3 and demonize the MEK. Shame on those who are at the service of a corrupt bloodthirsty, criminal regime, spreading lies.
And the truth is, that the reason why the regime is spreading those lies, it’s because the regime is desperate. We know that. Because they fear the Iranian resistance and they fear you, Maryam. They fear you for what you represent and what you are. You are the unbreakable resistance after 40 years of fighting here we are, stronger than ever. You are the beacon of hope. You are the rose in the desert, as you all Ashrafians are. And you are the force of change. And you are the phoenix rising from the ashes of the devastation of the mullahs. And you Maryam Rajavi and Massoud [Rajavi], you are the guarantee of democracy, the only alternative for peace in Iran, in the region, and as a guarantee of peace in the world.
So, I want to say another thing. And now I’m talking to the mullahs. I want to say to them that we are ready to take them down. That we are united with the people of Iran that are taking the risk in Iran and we’re there with them. And we are coming to get you, ayatollahs and mullahs. We are going to get you because we want you to be accountable for the crimes against humanity that you have perpetrated for 40 years in Iran. And we are ready. Hazer, hazer, hazer [We are ready]