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 United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) Special Representative Ad Melkert at the Ashraf 3 conference.
I’ll limit myself to just the one point that struck me upon arrival here in Ashraf 3. The one point being all the flags that are out there of so many countries that are represented here. What a change. What a change compared with a bit more than ten years ago when I arrived as the UN Special Representative for Iraq. It was hardly part of my brief that there was such a thing as Ashraf.
But it was a time in 2009 that the oasis suddenly came under attack. Ruthless attack. And I remember the pictures that the UN team had to take of the victims and of the destruction. The pictures that we see now in your impressive exhibition. And it happened in 2009, it happened in 2011, it happened in 2013.
And I am proud that we started to open the eyes of the international community for what was going on in Ashraf, and to open the eyes of the international community when Ashraf moved to what is rightly called a prison: Liberty. I remember meetings with the diplomatic community in Baghdad and people looking at one another, nobody wanting to take responsibility.
Until our Albanian friends came around and helped to resolve the stalemate.And this is my message to you. Your resolve has brought about being here in Ashraf 3, seeing all the flags that are welcoming us visitors from the whole world who support your cause. And I’m sure these flags will fly in the new Ashraf soon to come. Thank you very much.