Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, July 17, 2020—Iranians from 30,000 online locations in 104 countries across the globe joined in holding the annual Free Iran event on Friday, July 17, in a global call for regime change in Iran by the people of Iran, alongside their organized opposition and a vast network of resistance units across Iran.
Friday’s event witnessed prominent personalities and advocates for freedom devoted to liberating Iran from the theocratic tyranny ruling our country from across Europe, North America, and Australia come together.
Iranian opposition President Maryam Rajavi, head of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), was the keynote speaker at the event during which several dozen renowned international figures and scores of wholehearted activists came together from across five continents in support of the struggle for a free Iran.
The Free Iran 2020 event also voices support for an Iran where human lives are cherished and respected values, and the death penalty is abolished; a nation at peace with its neighbors and united in unshakable resolve to uphold the values of freedom and democracy. And a democratic republic where the ballot box is the only criterion for legitimacy.
Former PMOI/MEK Secretary General Zohreh Akhiani
In her opening remarks to the conference, Ms. Akhiani said, “Your support is invaluable for the cause to overthrow the religious fascism ruling Iran. This conference will voice its support for Resistance Units and Mrs. Maryam Rajavi.
PMOI/MEK Deputy Secretary General Rabie Mofidi:
We salute attendants from five continents. This conference shows how unity can bring change to Iran.
Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
“This summit echoes the calls for the clerical regime’s overthrow in the successive uprisings from December 2017 and January 2018 to November 2019 and January 2020,” Mrs. Maryam Rajavi said in her keynote speech.
“From all indications, the ruling theocracy is in a position to be overthrown,” the Iranian opposition President continued, referring to nationwide protests that have called for the regime’s overthrow. “The regime’s guardians, lobbyists and hirelings were all checkmated by these uprisings, because the protests foiled their fabricated and unfounded stories.”
Hail to the courageous youths in #Iran, and hail to this generation which is determined to fight on and to make sacrifices, giving up their belongings and their lives every day to keep ablaze the flame of uprisings, and to save the enchained nationhttps://t.co/LsgwpfTIZj— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) July 17, 2020
Mrs. Rajavi stressed that the mullahs are reeling over the reality that these uprisings and rebellious youth have adopted the roadmap and the strategy of the PMOI/MEK.
“Over the past two years, the emergence of rebellious cities and the operations of resistance units against repression, aimed at breaking the suppressive atmosphere, fueling the engine of the uprisings, and mobilizing the people, have made the regime feel the danger clearly and vividly,” the NCRI President added.
Entering the hall for the Free #Iran Global Summit at Ashraf 3 - This summit echoes the voice of the Iranian people’s 40-year Resistance against religious dictatorship and fascism and for freedom and democracy #FreeIran2020https://t.co/boHESjgEnL— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) July 17, 2020
Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
In her remarks, Mrs. Rajavi stressed that the Iranian regime is at a deadlock. “If they continue to pursue their current path and course of action, namely continue their belligerence, missile launches, terrorism, intimidation and contraction, they will inevitably crash head first,” she said. On the other hand, retracing their steps and changing behavior will undermine their very rule. This is why the regime is trying to consolidate power in the most brutal agents of the supreme leader.
In her remarks, Mrs. Rajavi also reflected on the disastrous coronavirus outbreak in Iran. “More than any other time, this carnage uncovered the ghastly reality of how the mullahs have destroyed the country’s healthcare, nutrition and social welfare foundations, leaving our people vulnerable to the virus more than any other country in the world,” she said, adding that the abnormal surging trend of the number of coronavirus victims in Iran is a product of the criminal policies of the regime aimed at countering the “threat of an uprising and eventual overthrow” of the regime.
This summit echoes calls for the clerical regime’s overthrow, heard during successive uprisings from December 2017 and January 2018 to November 2019 and January 2020 #FreeIran2020 #Iran pic.twitter.com/nd7pms4PHk— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) July 17, 2020
Mrs. Rajavi also reminded that while the mullahs have not done anything to counter Covid-19, they have “pursued their belligerent and terrorist activities in Iraq and Syria and escalated their ominous nuclear activities to a new level.”
“The question is, where do they get the funds to spend on such activities? Obviously, by emptying the baskets of our deprived people,” she said.
“Today, in Iran, one of the greatest battles and one of the greatest tests of our time are being waged between freedom and religious fascism, between democracy and religious fundamentalism,” the Iranian opposition President continued. “We urge all governments and the international bodies to stand with the people of Iran in this historic showdown with the greatest threat to world’s peace and security.”
In her speech, Mrs. Rajavi spoke of the Iranian regime’s terrorist attempts against the Iranian resistance, including a foiled bombing attempt against the Free Iran 2018 rally, which resulted in the arrest of a regime diplomat now on trial in Belgium. “The revelation and foiling of the Iranian regime's major terrorist plots in Europe and the trial of its diplomat for direct involvement in the operation are disgraced by the ruling religious fascism in Iran,” Mrs. Rajavi said. “It also shows that it will not hesitate to perpetrate any crime or pay any price to destroy MEK and the Iranian Resistance, which it views as an existential threat.”
Mrs. Rajavi concluded her speech by reiterating the Iranian Resistance’s mission to overthrow the mullahs’ criminal regime and restore the trampled rights of all the people of Iran. “We have not come to gain something for ourselves; we have come to sacrifice and pay the price. We are determined to restore freedom and people’s sovereignty in Iran, and it will be so. Long live freedom,” the NCRI President concluded.
We urge all governments & int’l bodies to stand with the people of #Iran in this historic showdown against the greatest threat to world peace &security. The resolution by a majority in the US Congress provides a credible model for all governments to follow #FreeIran2020 pic.twitter.com/IwjNjT8ecf— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) July 17, 2020
Activities of the Iranian Resistance Units in support
The event featured videos from Resistance Units, who send recorded video clips from across Iran, expressing their support for the Free Iran rally and their commitment to bring democratic regime change in Iran.
The resistance units are recording and sending these video clips at a great risk, against the backdrop of an uptick in the regime’s suppressive measures against members, supporters, and families of the MEK.
From the uprising on July 21, 1952, to the uprising in November 2019, our nation has paid the price of its freedom. Without any doubt, it is worthy of freedom and it is going to achieve freedom #FreeIran2020https://t.co/2kSIkxq0AD— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) July 17, 2020
Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York
“This gathering is for the people of Iran, who are living under tyranny, to let them know their fight for freedom is supported around the world, at the highest levels.
“Iranians have demonstrated their desire for freedom. Over 1,500 people were killed by the regime. The people of Iran have made it clear to the world that they want a free and democratic Iran, ruled by law, in which women are treated equal as men. These are the goals of MEK, of NCRI, of Maryam Rajavi.
Millions of supporters at 30,000 locations in more than 100 countries are coming together right now to call for Iran’s dictatorship to be replaced by democracy!— Rudy W. Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) July 17, 2020
Coming up, Rudy Giuliani! Tune in: https://t.co/F0t8KgzT19#IStandWithMaryamRajavi #FreeIran2020
“Despite the murders, the protests are not slowing. They’re becoming greater and greater. The one organization that has done more than any other to free the world of fundamentalism is the NCRI.
“The NCRI is under the leadership of Maryam Rajavi, a woman who has the respect of all of us. Imagine having a woman as the head of state. I think it will completely transform the Middle East and the world.
“The MEK is the driving force for change. It’s why the regime has singled it out for murder. Regime apologists say the MEK and NCRI don’t amount to much. But Khamenei and Rouhani have said many times that the only organization that can replace them is the NCRI and the MEK. It’s amazing that the corrupt western press suppresses that.
"This gathering is for the people of Iran, who are living under tyranny, to let them know their fight for freedom is supported around the world, at the highest levels," said Mayor @RudyGiuliani at the #FreeIran2020 online conference.https://t.co/yh9pF4pFGP— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) July 17, 2020
“We know the truth. This organization is a total threat to the regime. When they see this gathering, despite their efforts to block us, they realize our potential, they see how this organization can become a bridge to a free Iran. The Iranian people deserve that.
“The economy in Iran is collapsing. It’s a tragedy. Even when Iran was getting a flow of money, people in Iran were starving. With coronavirus, the level of hunger and poverty in Iran is heartbreaking. The only solace is that the revolution is happening. The regime is on the brink. It has allowed more than 70,000 people to die [of coronavirus].
“They’re still allocating tremendous money to terrorist groups. They’d rather allocate money to renegade groups that want to wreak havoc in Europe than feed their people. They’re crooked. They’re thieves. They’re like the mafia, except on a much bigger scale. The Ayatollah is the head of the mafia, he’s not religious.
“Experience has shown that dictatorship doesn’t change on its own. Despite all the concessions provided under the JCPOA, the Iranian regime did not change one bit. It continued its nuclear activities. It continued to be the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.
“Regime change in Iran is within reach. That’s the goal of NCRI and Maryam Rajavi, a free Iran that will contribute to peace in the world. The goal is to have free and fair elections, to establish a rule of law. The Iranian people will decide who they want, what kind of constitution they want. That is the goal of this organization.
“Stand with Maryam Rajavi. Stand with Maryam Rajavi. Stand with Maryam Rajavi.”
Former U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman
“This is an historic event. An event like this does not happen without an organization like the NCRI, which persists to do things that others do not try to do. No organization succeeds without a strong leader. This organization has the strongest of leaders in Maryam Rajavi.
“I stand with Maryam Rajavi. There is no better ally than the NCRI. Is there another opposition group with support in Iran anywhere near the NCRI? No.
“What we are doing in America, those of us who so strongly support the NCRI, is in the interests of the security of the American people, whose security is threatened by the fanatical regime in Iran.
“The policy of maximum pressure has weakened the regime in Iran. We tried [negotiations], but it didn’t work, the regime still brutally suppresses the people, still steals their wealth, still builds nuclear missiles. We have reached a point that we can conclude after all that has been tried with this criminal syndicate, nothing has worked. The regime will not change. We must act to change it. It will come from the resistance fighters. We must stand with them and support them. I am ready, hazer, for that day.”
Former Senator Robert Torricelli
“The people of Iran are speaking to us, across the country. The inability of the mullahs to tell the truth even about the destruction of the Ukrainian airliner tells it all. Can you be trusted with the future of a nation?
“In Iran, tens of thousands of deaths from the pandemic, the money is going to terrorist attacks in Lebanon and Yemen, to build a nuclear weapon. This is how you spend your resources? These are your priorities? The game is up. We see you now for who you are.
“Stand with Maryam Rajavi. We are all with the people of Iran till the end.”
Paul Gosar from Arizona
Sen. Martha McSally from Arizona
“It’s important for the people of Iran to have their own voice. The regime has the blood of American servicemen and -women on its hands. The crackdown on the protests have murdered so many people.
“The maximum pressure campaign has been working and is squeezing their cash on terrorist activities and repression. We must work with European partners and support the maximum pressure campaign. We must support the extension of the arms embargo on Iran.
“We stand with you, stand with the brave Iranian people. You are putting everything on the line for your god-given right to freedom.”
Rep. Lance Gooden
“The members of the US Congress are behind you. We all agree that the people of Iran deserve to be free. Thank you to Madame Rajavi on everything she’s done.
“I want to encourage young people to continue your fight, your resistance. You're not alone. The people of the United States are with you.”
3:30 PM CET
Jean François Legaret, Mayor of Paris District 1
“We support your efforts in Ashraf 1, 2 and 3. You have shown to everyone in the world your resistance and strength against torture and massacre. Ashraf 3 is the light at the end of the tunnel, the democratic alternative. We hope for a free Iran.”
Dr. Matthew Offord, Member of the British House of Commons
“120 members of the British House of Commons and Lords have declared their support for the protests in Iran, and the ten-point plan of Madame Rajavi.
“I call on the UK government to join the maximum pressure campaign on the Iranian regime. It has deprived the regime of millions of dollars to fund terror campaigns. We must also join the call to extend the arms embargo on Tehran. Tehran must be denied the funds it needs ot suppress the people of Iran and engage in terrorism.
“The international community should look to the Iranian people and Mrs. Maryam Rajavi.”
Philipe Gosselin, Member of French National Assembly, Vice President of CPID Committee
“Thank you for your efforts. In 2018, the regime made a terror attempt against all of us at the Free Iran rally in Paris. The diplomat who was involved in the attempt is now being tried in Belgium. This is good news. All the agents of the regime must be expelled.
“This is a dictatorship regime. It has killed 1,500 protesters and 176 passengers on a civilian airplane. Millions of people are suffering from the Covid-19 outbreak because the regime does not take the necessary measures.
“Yes to a free and democratic Iran.”
Theresa Payton, CEO of Fortalice LLC, Cybersecurity and Intelligence
“We can change the future of Iran and the world. The Iranian regime is at the forefront of cyber warfare and we must stop it. It is using this front and terrorist activities to carry out its policies, to suppress citizens. Iran has attacked critical infrastructure of countries around the world. It hides behind fake personas and cyber operatives.
“The regime spreads disinformation and fake news on social media. Iran’s goal is to drive positive news about the regime on cyberspace. They wish to influence the media to discredit the opposition, the MEK. [Tehran] promotes fake news about its nuclear program, tries to portray its intervention in Syria and Iraq as humanitarian.
“Iran blocks websites and social media networks while tracking mobile devices. The Iranian people and protesters are becoming more creative and technical to make their voices heard.
“The U.S. must step up to address the cyber threat of Iran. We will never find a solution to a free Iran without dedicating ourselves to a new approach:
A comprehensive strategy to enable the citizens of Iran to achieve a free Iran
Financial backing and expert advice of social media campaigns to bypass the Iranian regime and promote regime change by the Iranian people
If the world acts now, Iran and the world will take a more positive course
Martin Patzelt, Member of the Human Rights Commission of the German Bundestag
“Forty years of crimes against humanity and corruption, killing and torturing the best people of the country. Our congregation today makes it quite clear that the Iranian people want change, want to have democracy and human rights, they want economic wealth.
“A revolution is announcing itself in Iran. The people in Iran don’t want the mullahs. The mullahs cannot change. The mullahs have to go if we want the inhuman conditions in Iran to change.
"The regime wanted people to forget the MEK. But the active role o the MEK prevented this from happening. We stand with you. The people of Iran should be allowed to live in freedom," said @MPatzeltCDU at the #FreeIran2020 online conference.https://t.co/Ve0ZNr4uBG— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) July 17, 2020
“The regime wanted the people to forget the MEK. But the active role of the MEK prevented this from happening. We stand with you and tell the world that the people of Iran should be allowed to live in freedom.
“Germany and the European Union must support the changing forces in and outside iran. An alternative that is peaceful is available. President Maryam Rajavi has a ten-point plan which expresses hope for the future of Iran. Free Iran would be a haven of security and peace for everyone in the world. The rain and violence will pass and the sun of freedom and humanity will shine on your country.”
Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich
“On the one hand, the dictatorship is getting weaker. On the other hand, the pressure put on the dictatorship has made it more aggressive in Syria, in Lebanon, in its efforts to obtain weapons. There are those of us who believe in freedom and believe the people of Iran deserve freedom.
“I am committed to do everything I can to help the people of Iran to have freedom and the economy you want them to have. “
Khalid Yamani, former Foreign Minister of Yemen
“I wish you success in defeating the dictatorship and freeing the people of Iran from dictatorship. The expansion policies of the regime through its terrorist forces is an extreme violation of international law. The regime of Iran is a threat to the Iranian people and the interests of the people of the region.
“The people of Yemen stand with you against this dictatorship. We support the ten-point plan of Mrs. Rajavi.”
6:30 PM CET
Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
“In Iran, the regime and the virus are united against the people. No country was so quickly overwhelmed by the virus. The regime’s priority is the backing of its terror network and its nuclear program.
“The ayatollah’s regime has breached almost all of its commitments under the JCPOA (formal term of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). But the regime is not strong. It is weakened. Corruption is rampant. Street protests continue to break out across Iran.
“The regime is ready to fall and be replaced. The NCRI has adopted a ten-point plan. I can’t tell the Iranian people who their leader should be. But this ten-point plan is something that all good people want for their country.”
Michele Alliot Marie—MEP, former French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Defense, Justice, Home Affairs
“What we have in common is the will to stand for human values, democracy, peace. That’s what we want for Iran. We want them to benefit the freedom of spirit, of the possibility of being religious or secular.
“We are also worried because we are living in a dangerous world. In Yemen, Iran is playing a dangerous role. We’re also seeing the terror case being investigated in Belgium, which is reason for worry. It is up to the Iranians to choose their government. But we wish for them to join the club of nations.
“As a woman, I want to see the Iranian women pursue their ambitions as citizens. It is really important to have an open door for women in government. I admire what you do for the people of Iran and wish you success.”
Patrick Kennedy, former Member of the US House of Representatives
“The virus of religious fascism has made the people of Iran very sick and has cost millions of lives. It needs to be extinguished. We know the principles of the NCRI and MEK, and they will provide the vaccinations.
“Freedom, human rights, will extinguish the awful insidious virus of religious fascism. It’s great that we have organizations like the NCRI and MEK to bring that about. This is a fight of all human beings. We know that Iran, as the leading state-sponsor of terrorism, is a threat to justice and peace everywhere around the world.”
7:30 PM CET
Pandeli Majko—Minister of State, former Prime Minister of Albania
“Ashraf in Albania, you’re part of our family. The MEK is the flag of the future freedom of their country. The MEK are the unwritten rule of freedom. They are the flag of hope. Today is a good day to be reminded of our responsibility. Hope to see you in Tehran.”
Lulzim Basha—former Mayor of Tirana, leader of the Democratic Party of Albania
“We are committed and in solidarity with the Iranian people’s aspirations for freedom. The Iranian regime has shown unprovoked violence against its own people and the international community. Today’s event is a testimony that the international community is united against the threat of the Iranian regime.
“We stand against the Iranian regime’s terrorist efforts on our soil. We support the Iranian people’s goal for a secular, democratic and non-nuclear country.
“We stand with the people of Iran who continue to hold legitimate and peaceful protests against the regime. We have faith that a better future is within reach for the people of Iran. You can continue to count on our full support.”
Message of Sali Berisha, former President and Prime Minister of Albania
“This summit finds you, the resistance, as the only real hope of reaching a free Iran. The reasons behind the mullahs’ psychological war prove that they are weaker than ever and closer to the end they deserve.
“I am proud to support your movement and that Albania is your second home today. Complete severance of diplomatic ties with the regime of Iran is a necessary step.”
Michael Mukasey, the 81st U.S. Attorney General
“The Iranian regime has for years used agents with diplomatic credentials to carry out acts of terror. The regime fears the NCRI and the threat they pose to the regime of Tehran.
“The belief of the Iranian people is that the regime is entirely rotten to the core. The most restrictive sanctions must be snapped back against the regime. The regime’s nuclear efforts have not abated. It continues to support terrorism.
“The only way to end the regime’s behavior is to end the regime.”
Tom Ridge, former Governor of Pennsylvania and First U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security
“The men and women of Iran pursue happiness. We should consider what we have accomplished today, and the message we send to the Iranian regime.
“We say to the regime and to the people of Iran, and the people of the world, that we stand with Maryam Rajavi and the goal of regime change in Iran.
“Covid-19 could not deter the world from gathering for the cause of freedom in Iran. If a global pandemic is ill-equipped to silence us to keep us from gathering and support freedom, then the mullahs can’t possibly do it. They tried again and again, and they’ve failed. Over decades and decades, they’ve imprisoned and tortured thousands and thousands of your fellow citizens to silence the call for freedom, for regime change, and they’ve failed.
“They will continue to fail, their grip of oppression grows weaker every day. The voice of freedom grows stronger and louder every day. And this gathering shows the global support for the NCRI and MEK grows larger and louder every day.
“I look forward to the day when I can join all of you in Iran.”
Former FBI Director Louis Freeh
“This event is not an anniversary. We’re looking to the future. We’re pursuing a goal and achieving new milestones every day. And today, we took another step in that direction.
“The wind is moving the forces of freedom in Iran. The regime is collapsing. The people are fed up with the oppression of the totalitarian regime.
“It’s no surprise that the regime that signed the JCPOA could not be trusted and cannot be trusted with another agreement.”
Regarding the regime’s crimes against MEK members, Freeh said: “There has to be accountability. Someone has to make the decision to hold these criminals to account. These are crimes of the most serious nature. They rival what happened in Nazi germany and Bosnia. We need a world-class documentation center to gather the evidence. At some point, these people should be brought to justice.
“Thank you Madame Rajavi for your great leadership.”
8:00 PM CET
Jack Keane, former Vice Chief of Staff of the US Army
“I fully support your resistance movement and your drive for freedom. The maximum pressure campaign is working. The regime is weaker than ever.
“The people are holding the mullahs responsible for what is happening. The momentum is gaining. We can see it. We can feel it.
“Yesterday, in Behbahan, the people were in the streets, chanting ‘Shame on you Khamenei, leave our country,’ and ‘No to Gaza, no to Lebanon, we sacrifice our lives for Iran.’ That is always inspiring. These people don’t want to die, but they’re willing to. It is about the future of their children and their grandchildren and their love for their country. This is true love and honor and can never be taken for granted.
“We in America are inspired by the Iranian people’s raw courage and by Maryam Rajavi’s leadership.
“Mullahs, get lost. Free Iran. Free Iran.”
Linda Chavez, former White House Director of Public Liaison
“We’ve seen uprisings across Iran. People pushing for a better economy, but also more importantly for freedom, to be able to live in a country that honors civil liberties. We’ve seen the toll the pandemic has taken. There are people dying every day because of the collapse of the medical system and the indifference of the regime. Even the regime’s effort to build nuclear weapons is collapsing.
“There's no question that the regime is collapsing. But the question is, who will take its place? We know who the regime fears. We saw it in the bombing attempt at the 2018 Free Iran rally in Paris. Why is it that the regime fears Madame Rajavi? It’s for the simple reason she stands for ideas of liberty.
“I am here to say to the regime, your time is coming. Your days are numbered. And those who will replace you will do it with the strength of their ideas.”
Theresa Villiers—Former Secretary of State for Environment & Northern Ireland and Conservative Member of Parliament
“We all know that the human rights situation in Iran continues to be appalling and the Covid-19 emergency has been added. The novel coronavirus crisis is being used as an excuse to increase repression. The survival of the regime appears to be much more important to them than dealing with the pandemic.
“This is a crucial opportunity to keep the pressure on this brutal and repressive regime and to send a message of support and solidarity to the people of Iran that we share their goal for a free and democratic Iran.”
David Jones—Member British House of Commons and former Secretary of State for Wales
“We call on the UK government to stand firm against the Iranian regime. Maryam Rajavi is the legitimate ambassador of the Iranian people, and she should be recognized as such by the British government.”
John Prichard, Bishop of the Church of England
“The regime is sweeping up members of the Iranian Christian community. We resonate with many of our colleagues and call on our government to hold the regime to account for its human rights abuses and do more at international human rights organizations to end the impunity that human rights violators enjoy in Iran.”