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How MEK and Ashraf 3 have become a source of hope and inspiration for Iran’s youth

The entrance of Ashraf 3, home to about 3000 members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) in Albania.
The entrance of Ashraf 3, home to about 3000 members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) in Albania.

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, July 6, 2020—After the November 2019 nationwide uprising in Iran, in which the regime felt the danger of being overthrown, many of its officials and state media acknowledged the leading role of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) in the protests.

On Wednesday, January 8, Iranian regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei even lashed out at the MEK members currently stationed in Ashraf 3, Albania, and referred to a visit by former U.S. national security advisor General James Jones to the MEK headquarters. Khamenei was extremely angry over the role of MEK’s network in Iran in organizing the November uprising.

“A few days prior to the [November uprising], the issue about gasoline, in a European country, a small but very evil country in Europe, an American figure gathered with a number of Iranians, and they started plotting against the Islamic republic. Their plan was played out in what we witnessed a few days later in the gasoline [protests]. People were angry about the gasoline issue. A number of people came out in the name of protests, and when others joined their ranks, while their numbers were very low, these deceived people came out with a plot and carried out that very plan; to destroy and torch government centers, popular sites and start a war. This was a premeditated plot. And when I say a few days prior to these events, they were re-checking their plans because they had previously blue-printed their measures, preparing their people,” Khamenei said.

Albanian officials issued a firm response to Khamenei’s baseless claims.

But what’s important is that Khamenei implicitly acknowledged Ashraf 3 as a source of hope and inspiration for the young generation.

Further confirming this truth is the regime’s extensive campaign of demonization against the MEK members in Ashraf 3 and the presence of the Iranian opposition in Albania. In recent months, the regime has engaged in widespread efforts to defame Ashraf 3 and MEK members in Albania by creating TV series, writing fake stories, and employing foreign media to make baseless allegations against the Iranian opposition.

The main question is, why is the regime so hysterically afraid of Ashraf 3? There’s quite a bit of history behind this.

Ashraf 3 is the home to about 3,000 members of the MEK in Albania. For many Iranians it is seen as the capital of hope and symbolizes more than hundred years of struggle of the Iranian people for freedom. Before Ashraf 3, MEK members were in Ashraf 1 and 2, in Iraq. For more than two decades, Ashraf 1 and 2 had kept the flame of resistance alive inside Iran.

After the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Iranian regime tried in many ways to destroy Ashraf and kill all MEK members in Iraq. But through their glorious resistance, the members of MEK set an example for the people of Iran who yearn for freedom from the tyranny of the mullahs. Despite an all-out siege and several brutal massacres led by the Iranian regime’s proxies in Iraq, the members of MEK persisted in their ideals for freeing Iran.

In 2016, after a long international campaign led by NCRI President Maryam Rajavi, all MEK members in Iraq were relocated to Albania, to the chagrin and dismay of Iran’s mullahs who wanted to see every last one of the opposition members die.

Twenty months later, the members of the MEK started through enormous efforts and hard work to build Ashraf 3, the reincarnation of Iran’s beacon of hope and struggle for freedom. Shortly after its establishment, Ashraf 3 become the source of momentum for the free Iran movement.

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, and hundreds of international dignitaries from 47 nations came to support Ten-Point Plan of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

In tandem with the establishment of Ashraf 3, the MEK’s network inside Iran has grown exponentially in the past years. Resistance units and councils find inspiration in the endurance and persistence of MEK members in Ashraf 3. This beacon of hope has helped expand this network and has marked a major breakthrough, demonstrating the rightfulness and precision of this strategy during the December 2017-January 2018 and November 2019 nationwide uprisings and subsequent developments. This is how the message of Ashraf has been replicated in society and among the people of Iran.

Posters of Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) installed across the country, June 2020.

Posters of Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) installed across the country, June 2020.


The two major uprisings in recent years demonstrated the blazing readiness of the Iranian people to overthrow the regime and the November 2019 uprising proved the correctness and validity of the strategy based on resistance units and rebellious cities. The Iranian Resistance’s leader formulated and announced this strategy in 2013, after the massacre of MEK members in Ashraf.

The MEK members in Ashraf 3 have launched another passionate struggle for freedom, but their brilliant 40-year of resistance began on June 20, 1981, when the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) opened fire on half-a-million people in Tehran and murdered the young MEK supporters in cold blood; when 30,000 political prisoners were massacred in 1988, and when the Iranian regime’s proxies attacked and fired missiles on camps Ashraf and Liberty.

Therefore, as fear for the growing support for the MEK, the regime has focused its campaign on demonizing the MEK members in Albania, since it seeks its survival in the annihilation of the MEK. But by these acts the regime not only has failed but is vividly acknowledging the fact that this Iranian opposition coalition, the NCRI and the MEK, and its members in Ashraf 3, are the one and only viable alternative that can actually realize regime change in Iran and guarantee a smooth transition of power to the people.