Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, November 10, 2020—Marking the first anniversary of Iran’s nationwide November 2019 uprising that swept to over 190 cities throughout the country, Iranian youths in exile held a major online conference on Tuesday, November 10, vowing to continue the struggle for freedom in Iran.
The event commemorated the enormous bravery shown by the Iranian people during the uprising and the courageous network of “Resistance Units” inside Iran that continue to stand up to the regime stronger than ever before. The Resistance Units are a vast network associated directly to the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
Madam Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) was the keynote speaker at the conference during which global dignitaries called on the international community to hold senior officials of the mullahs’ regime accountable for their ongoing crimes against humanity.
NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi
“The uprising in November 2019 was neither indiscriminate nor spontaneous... It had no ties with any of the regime’s factions and no connections to any world power or government,” said NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi in her speech.
“On the contrary, the November uprising emanated from the Iranian people’s independent and liberating resolve.
Madam Rajavi described the killing of more than 1,500 protesters by the regime’s security forces as a crime against humanity and said: “[The regime’s Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei, [mullahs’ President Hassan] Rouhani, [secretary of the regime's Supreme Security Council, Ali] Shamkhani, Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and Basij commanders, and State Security Forces commanders must face justice for this massacre.”
Madam Rajavi stressed that despite the regime’s brutal suppressive measures, the Iranian society’s explosive conditions, pent-up discontent and animosity towards the regime are “at an all-time high,” and even the regime’s attempts to use the coronavirus pandemic to prevent its overthrow have failed to prevent protests.
“Wherever we look, we can see a widespread and powerful desire for the overthrow of Khamenei’s regime as discontent and protests are simmering in Iranian society,” she said.
The mullahs are banking on the revival of the policy of appeasement to prevent the overthrow of their regime, Madam Rajavi said in her speech. But they are in for a big disappointment.
“We believe and our people believe that the time has come for the overthrow of the mullahs’ religious dictatorship. The policy of appeasement cannot be repeated, and even if it does, it would not solve any of the regime's problems,” she said.
Íngrid Betancourt, former Colombian senator and presidential candidate
Other speakers at the event highlighted the need for a firm policy toward the Iranian regime. “We need Europe as the Union and each European leader to take an immediate and exemplifying stand by first, avoiding to sell weapons to the mullahs, and second, by not conducting any nuclear deal with Iran that would give a lifeline to this bloodthirsty killing machine,” Íngrid Betancourt, former Colombian senator and presidential candidate, said in her speech at the conference. “We must work together to make sure our leaders understand it is in our interest to recognize the Iranian people’s right to fight for democracy. We are all bound together in this quest for justice and freedom. No more appeasement for the criminal mullahs ruling Iran.”
“The international community must now intervene to stop the culture of impunity in Iran in order to prevent another massacre of dissidents in regime’s prisons,” British MP Theresa Villiers, former Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. “The responsibility and task of bringing lasting change to Iran lay with the Iranian people. The nationwide protests that have been ongoing since November last year prove that the people of Iran and their Resistance movement led by Madam Rajavi are up to the task and continue until final victory. The UK and other Western democracies must stand with them as the era of religious dictatorship in Iran is coming to an end.”
“I believe firmly that the international response to a crime of this magnitude was not adequate at all and we need to do a lot more. Re-imposing UN sanctions against this brutal regime is amongst them,” Norwegian MP Geir Sigbjorn Toskedal, Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said. “I think it is shameful to try to legitimize this regime. History has shown that dictatorships can never outlast the desire of the people who want to be free.”
Dr. Ramesh Sepehrad, Adjunct Faculty at George Mason University
The event featured speeches by members and representatives of Iranian associations across the world. In their remarks, they reiterated their support for the MEK and highlighted the opposition’s role, especially the Resistance Units, in leading protests and the struggle for freedom.
“Generation after generation, the people of Iran have stood and supported the MEK. The resistance has its roots in the Iranian society. The mullahs have not refrained from any tactic to eliminate the MEK, including terrorism, rocket attacks, demonization campaigns, and the execution of MEK members and supporters. All the while MEK members in Ashraf 3 and the Resistance Units inside Iran have become the regime’s nightmare. The regime’s demonization campaigns against the leaders and members of the MEK has only strengthened the Iranian Resistance,” Dr. Ramesh Sepehrad, Adjunct Faculty at George Mason University, said in her speech.
“After the November 2019 uprisings, one regime official said, “Only god saved us.” Our final word with the criminals ruling Iran is, God didn’t save you. Satan did. This time around not even Satan will save you. The Resistance Units will overthrow you,” Ali Fatemi, President of the Iranian Youth Association of Luxembourg, said in his speech.
Iranian community members also stressed the need for an end to the appeasement policy toward the regime, to address Tehran’s terrorist threats, and to stand with the people of Iran.
“We Iranian youth despise appeasement and appeasers who stand with the Iranian regime and don’t recognize our people’s rights. We will stand against the appeasement policy and will not allow any government to support the tyrannical goals of the regime. We will overthrow this regime,” Neda Amani, Iranian activist from Switzerland, said.
“Instead of economic relations with the Iranian regime to the benefit of the IRGC, western governments must designate the IRGC and MOIS as terrorist organizations and shut down the regime’s embassies. The mullahs’ time is over,” Elaheh Zabihian from the Iranian community in the UK said.
“The people pour into the streets to demand a decent life, but they are gunned down by the regime. The regime uses the worst kind of torture to humiliate detainees. This is the reality for 41 years in Iran. The regime knows it is living on borrowed time and its countdown to collapse has started. Who is lending this regime borrowed time? Unfortunately it is European states. To European leaders, stop putting your heads in sand and break your silence. I hope the Swedish government joins Madam Rajavi’s call for an investigation into the situation of political prisoners in Iran,” Fouad Eini, from the Iranian Community of Sweden said.