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 US Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Lincoln Bloomfield at the Ashraf 3 conference.
Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield:
Residents of Ashraf 3, Mujahedeen e-Khalq, it is my honor to stand before you and greet you for the second time and to be in this wonderful country of Albania for the second time, but for the first time in Ashraf 3. Madame [Maryam] Rajavi, to you and to the NCRI and to the Mojahedin e-Khalq, thank you for your warm welcome. To the dignitaries, thank you for your excellent remarks and for your attention today. Clearly, this is an engineering and construction feat that shows how smart, how talented, how driven, how capable the residents [PMOI/MEK members in Ashraf 3, Albania] are. So, congratulations. That’s just one point.
Secondly, as you come in the entrance to this great facility you see that there is a message. It’s a symbol to the regime in Tehran that you have tried and tried and tried, and you have failed to stop the resistance. It’s a major symbol.
However, those two things are not the significance of Ashraf 3 in my humble opinion. If you heard Madame Rajavi this morning, she talked about a curtain of obscurity, an obscuring curtain. I heard that phrase and I know what you’re saying. Like many of you, I have looked into the allegations and the terrible things that have been said by the regime and by people in the West about the MEK and about the NCRI. As you know, the allegation of terrorism has been completely debunked. It is gone thanks to the work of four major court cases in France, the UK, the European Union and the United States, and other research we now know that no member for three generations of the resistance has ever been prosecuted or convicted of terrorism in a country ruled by the rule of law and due process. Not one person ever.
However, unfortunately, the obscuring curtain remains. What is it hiding? Because even when you eliminate the charge of terrorism, what do we hear in our home capitals? We hear that they are a cult. “They are a cult. You shouldn’t deal with them, they are a cult.”
Really? And how can we prove whether this is true or not? It’s a human rights allegation that says that you, the residents of Ashraf 3, do not have the permission to think for yourselves because someone is telling you what to do. This is the reason, ladies and gentlemen, that the United Nations Secretariat insisted that they could not interview the residents at Camp Ashraf in Iraq. They would not be free to speak for themselves. All because of that obscuring curtain, the allegation of cult, they had to be moved into this prison called Camp Liberty. That’s why they were moved, because they could not speak freely for themselves. How could we prove it one way or the other?
Well, let me tell you what the significance of this place is. I’ve been here for three days now. Like many of my friends, we had a dinner with a hall full of women from the Mujahedeen e-Khalq. Only women for one evening. We walked under the stars. We spoke to them personally, privately. We heard amazing stories of courage, of conviction, of pain, of separation, of the choice of a lifetime. These were the actions of people who are stronger than me, who have a strong heart, who have a mission in life and who have made a choice and they are dedicated to keeping that choice.
Ladies and gentlemen, the obscuring curtain has been removed today. If all of you go back to your countries, never again should we hear the allegation of cult. It is gone forever. You are free. It’s finished.
But that is not the only point of significance. There is one more element behind the curtain. And that is that because the regime has been accusing the Mujahedeen of being a human rights violator. They have obscured something very important.
You heard Mayor Giuliani this morning. Was he talking about Secretary Pompeo’s concerns, which are all legitimate but they are external concerns. Ballistic missiles, terrorism, destabilization, hostage taking. These are all aggressions against neighbors, which is proper for foreign policy.
But the biggest allegation of all is right here in Ashraf 3. It is the gross abuse of human rights. It is the crimes against humanity which are documented not only in your exhibits here but in your personal stories. Right now, the curtain of obscurity on human rights has been completely stripped away. Not only are the residents, people of free will, speaking for themselves with courage and with honor, dedicated to their countrymen of Iran, but they bear witness as Director Freeh said so well. They are the evidence that this regime is a monstrous regime, as [former Colombian presidential candidate] Ingrid Betancourt said, that must be brought to account.
So, we stand here with a new day. This is a free people who have proven we now know there is no evidence at all of terrorism or cult. And we can now bring forward the evidence from your personal stories and we can start to take the regime to account for all of the crimes they have committed for 40 years. Let it begin tonight. Thank you.