Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, July 2, 2020—Every year the Iranian opposition holds its annual “Free Iran” gathering, where tens of thousands of Iranians and its supporters from around the world participate to express their desire for a free and democratic Iran.
Also every year, hundreds of renowned politicians, dignitaries, human rights activists, religious leaders, parliamentarians, mayors, and citizens from across the globe join the event to express their thoughts on the situation in Iran.
On June 2019, for the first time the “Free Iran 2019 event”, that traditionally was hosted in Paris from 2004 to 2018, was organized in Ashraf 3 in Albania, home to more than 3,000 members of the main Iranian opposition movement, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
“Aside from its remarkable design, landscaping, and architecture, Ashraf 3 has given meaning to an otherwise arid land. Its birth, as the capital of hope, symbolizes the new beginning of a new, free and civilized Iran that can be rebuilt and re-energized at the capable hands of the Iranian people themselves,” wrote Washington Times on July 24, 2019.
Last year, Ashraf 3 hosted hundreds of international dignitaries from 47 nations who came to support Ten-Point Plan of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). They also visited an enormous exhibition hall in Ashraf 3, which paid a historic tribute to the hundreds of thousands of heroes fallen for the cause of freedom and democracy in Iran and tells an extremely moving history of the MEK, but at the same time shows the Iranian people’s resolve to achieve democracy at any cost.
Political dignitaries and elected representatives from 47 countries, at the Iranian Resistance’s annual gathering at Ashraf 3 – July 12, 2019
Among speakers of last year’s event at Ashraf 3 were renown dignitaries such as Joseph Lieberman, a former senator and the 2000 Democratic vice-presidential candidate, Rudolph W. Giuliani, former New York City Mayor, and a legal adviser to President Donald Trump; Louis Freeh, Former Director of the FBI; John Baird, 10th Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada; Baroness Verma, Former British Energy & Climate Change Minister, and Minister for International Development; Bernard Kouchner, former French Foreign Minister, and Co-founder of Doctors Without Borders; Michèle Alliot-Marie, Former French Foreign, Defense, and Interior Minister; Sali Berisha, Former President and Prime Minister of Albania; and Pandeli Majko, the State Minister for Diaspora, Former Prime Minister of Albania.
“This isn’t a choice between deposing a dictator when we don’t know if an even more terrible leader will take his place,” Rudy Giuliani said, adding, “It’s a choice between one of the most terrible sponsors of terrorism in the world in the current regime in Iran, and we have MEK ready to step in.”
In his remarks, Joseph Lieberman said, “You don’t just represent an alternative to the Iranian mullahs. You represent the right alternative.”
It is worthy to note after this event Ilir Meta, the President of the Republic of Albania visited Ashraf 3 met and held talks with Mrs. Rajavi, on September 13, 2019.
Albanian President Ilir Meta visits Ashraf 3 and meets Maryam Rajavi - September 13, 2019
The NCRI announced on June 28, 2020: “This year, given the coronavirus pandemic’s prevalence, Iranian communities acknowledged that they would hold their annual gathering online on July 17. Like previous years, many distinguished figures will attend the virtual conference to announce their support for a free Iran.”
The essence of this year’s event
This year’s Free Iran gathering takes place against the backdrop of several very notable events happening in Iran and across the globe. All of these developments make this year’s event even more essential to Iran’s freedom and democracy movement.
The society’s cry for change
In November 2019, a sudden increase in the price of gasoline triggered nationwide protests that spread to nearly 200 cities and rocked the very foundations of the regime. Economic protests quickly turned into a full-fledged national uprising that called for the overthrow of the corrupt regime. The Iranian regime responded by unleashing its security forces, brutally killing more than 1,500 protesters and arresting thousands of others.
More than 1,500 protesters were killed by the suppressive IRGC forces, during the November 2019 nationwide uprising in Iran.
The world witnessed in November 2019 nationwide uprising of the Iranian people their choice and desire for regime change. Despite the brutal crackdown, protests continued across Iran, especially in January, after the regime’s military downed a civilian aircraft that resulted in the death of all the passengers.
At the same time the regime faces an economic deadlock. In a recent report, the Majlis Research Center addressed the growing trend of poverty and the significant increase in inequality and social divide as a result of the 20 percent inflation rate. An upward trend indicates an increase in inequality and at the same time negative growth and economic inflation in recent years. This has resulted in the significant growth of the poverty line in Tehran and other parts of the country. Also, the significant reduction in per-capita income has increased the poverty rate. Absolute poverty, the inability to meet the minimum standard of living, and the lack of access to living standards in society, as many experts say, are the result of mismanagement and wrong economic policies. This is a big issue that added new classes to low-income people.
Coronavirus outbreak, a big social and political loss for the regime
Body of a COVID-19 victim at a cemetery outside Tehran on March 30
What added to this crisis was the novel coronavirus outbreak that until now has claimed the lives of more than 63,700 Iranians. Regime President Hassan Rouhani has described year 2020 as the most difficult year for Iran.
This national disaster was preventable but came to pass and got worse due to the regime’s criminal secrecy, not imposing quarantines on cities, and their prioritization of the security of their regime above people’s lives by sending people back to work, and a policy based on fake statistics.
Also, on the International level, the regime is in an impasse. Following four decades of terrorism and blackmail as the cornerstones of its foreign policy, the mullahs’ regime is now recognized as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. Tehran has constantly resorted to hostage-takings and hostile activities under various pretexts.
Some examples were the cruise missile and drone attacks targeting Saudi Arabian oil facilities on September 14, 2019, attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, the downing of an American drone, and continued breach of its obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal. The regime has also yet to come clean on the Ukrainian passenger plane shot down by the Revolutionary Guards in January.
At the same time, the regime is faced with a loudening uproar in the Middle East, with the people of Iran, Lebanon, and Syria protesting and demanding the ouster of the regime’s forces and influence from their respective countries.
The only solution is overthrowing the clerical regime
The “Free Iran Rally” in Berlin, July 2019
The world witnesses during the last year that the regime of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is not only a repressive regime for the people of Iran but a dangerous threat to regional countries and global peace.
“The overthrow of the clerical regime remains to be the unyielding demand of the Iranian people, and the uprisings in November 2019 and January 2020 represented the people's burning commitment to implement it.
“We have always said and reiterate that this regime should not be allowed to obtain even a single bullet; it should not pocket even a single dollar in oil revenues; and it should not spend even a single dollar out of revenues that belong to the Iranian people.”
“The global community must recognize the right of rebellious youth, Resistance Units and the Iranian people to resist against the religious tyranny.”
“The leaders of this regime must face justice in international courts for the killing of 120,000 children of the Iranian people, including the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, and the killing of over 1,500 Iranian protesters in November 2019.”
Yes, the world needs to recognize the legitimate rights of the Iranian people to overthrow the regime and the “2020 Free Iran Global Summit: Iran Rising Up for Freedom” is the perfect chance to support the Iranian people’s long struggle for freedom.