The three-day Free Iran 2021 World Summit, which is organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), has started on July 10. The Summit, was the largest online international event ever for Iran’s liberation, connecting 50,000 locations in 102 countries across six continents, and had an audience of over one million people.
The conference, which is held annually and had to be held virtually for the second time this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, is dedicated to the cause of regime overthrow in Iran to establish a democratic society that protects the rights of all people. It was attended by former senior government officials, lawmakers, non-governmental organizations, top military officials, democracy activists, and Iranian ex-pats from across the globe.
It was held less than one month after the Iranian presidential elections that saw the installation of Ebrahim Raisi, infamous as the henchman of the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, due to the actions of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The election was widely boycotted across the country following a successful campaign by the Iranian Resistance group the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), who had proclaimed that the people must “vote for regime change”.
The first speaker was NCRI president Maryam Rajavi, who predicted that because of all the crises facing Iran right now, the people are on the verge of an uprising like those of 2017 and 2019, but this one could well see the overthrow of the regime.
She explained that the regime knows that the uprising is coming, which is why they’ve ensured that Raisi became President last month. They need him to take his previous crackdowns on dissidents during the 1988 massacre or the 2019 uprising and intensify it to crush the coming wave of protests.
Rajavi said: “Fake notions of moderation and reformism will lose color, and the only brilliant option remaining will be a revolution and the regime’s overthrow. To achieve this glorious objective, the Iranian Resistance’s asset and greatest backing are the furious masses who are not satisfied with anything less than the overthrow of this regime.”
She explained that the MEK’s internal Resistance Units increased their activities throughout 2020 and this is helping to break the repressive atmosphere of the regime, but that the international community must end their appeasement of the regime, which has helped the mullahs to stay in power.
Rajavi asked the United Nations Security Council to bring mullahs, including Khamenei, Raisi, and Judiciary Chief Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejeii, to justice for the 1988 massacre, prevent Raisi from entering the next UN General Assembly session, and subject the regime to international sanctions to protect not just the Iranian people but also the rest of the world.
However, she said that the Iranian people and Resistance must be the ones to overthrow the mullahs, rather than a foreign power.
She said: “To achieve freedom, we are not betting on chance or pinning hope on a miracle that will break the spell of repression. The campaign for the overthrow is something we build with our own hands and through immense suffering. We have illuminated the path that the oppressed society is eager to follow. Yes, the army of the countless hungry and unemployed people has nothing to lose. And this will lead to the rise of the great army of freedom.”
Following Rajavi was former United States Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, who spoke about how the US began issuing sanctions against the regime in 2018, to put pressure on the mullahs and relieve repression against the Iranian people who’ve been struggling for freedom since way before the 1979 revolution.
He said that anyone who believed that there are moderates in the regime is mistaken because the mullahs are “craven”, “brutal”, and “kleptocratic” rulers who kill Iranians in their thousands and install the murderers to leading roles.
No matter if the mullahs are being appeased by the West or under sanctions, they behave the same, so the US imposed sanctions for violations of the nuclear agreement and brought the regime to “its weakest point in decades”, which is why the mullahs needed to install Raisi as president last month. Pompeo stressed that the election was widely boycotted and that “very few people actually voted for Raisi”.
He then argued for the US to put “human rights and counter-terrorism” at the center of its Iran policy and hold Raisi accountable for his crimes against humanity, saying that interaction with him would be “tantamount to dealing with a mass murderer”. He also stressed that the Iranian people must be supported as they “fight for a freer and more democratic Iran”.
Prime Minister of Slovenia Janez Janša was the next to speak. He said that the international community should support the Iranian people in their fight for “democracy, freedom, and human rights”.
Janša further stressed his support for an independent United Nations Commission inquiry into the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, saying that it’s of “crucial importance” to shed light on the gruesome genocide, especially as Raisi became president last month.
The Summit then turned its attention to speeches from inside Iran, from people expressing support for the Resistance and overthrow of the mullahs, even though they are risking their lives because of the regime’s treatment of NCRI and MEK supporters.
Next up to speak was former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper who advised that the 2015 nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), helped to expand the reach of Iran’s terrorist network, and the desire by some Western powers to renew it has only emboldened the regime to abandon all pretenses of moderation in the election.
He said: “Raisi is the very person whom the regime has long entrusted to jail or kill anyone who is actually moderate in 1988, as one of the four members of the prosecution committee he ordered the execution of some 30,000 political prisoners. Shame on any government in the world that would sit down and try to negotiate anything with an administration led by Ebrahim Raisi.”
The next person to speak was former Speaker of the UK’s House of Commons John Bercow, who expressed solidarity with the Iranian people and their struggle for democracy, freedom, and rights.
He said: “I support the NCRI president’s 10-point plan for the country’s future… I assure you that you will prevail. You will succeed. You will win and the fascist bigots who oppress you will be hissed out of office.”
He further stressed that Raisi should be investigated for his crimes against humanity, saying that Raisi has a lot to answer for and “is the very embodiment of the bloodthirsty tyrant”.
Then, former Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini stressed that sanctions on Iran should continue because they are not hurting the Iranian people, but weakening the regime and its ability to oppress the people.
He said: “If we fall in the trap to sit around the table and to negotiate again, we just legitimize the regime, a recognition of their role and their role is unfortunately also the one to destabilizes the entire Middle East… My colleagues in Europe should seriously consider not sitting at the same table with the Iranian regime officials whatsoever. We have to be very frank and very strict in respecting our constitution and the charter of fundamental rights of the European Union.”
Former Chair of the Democratic National Committee Donna Brazile then told the Iranian Resistance that they should never give up because they were on the right side of this fight and had the support of the US Congress.
The chair of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Senator Bob Menendez then spoke about how Iranian people are suffering under a regime with no interest in anything but self-preservation, chaos, repression, and nuclear weapons.
He said: “[The Resistance’s] continued advocacy remains absolutely vital. It is a beacon of hope that one day the people of Iran, the United States, and indeed all the world will rejoice in an Iranian government that is at peace with the international community and works to secure a better future for its people.”
US Senator Jeanne Shaheen noted that the regime “lacks legitimacy”, which is why it oppresses its people and stressed that it should not be solely up to the Iranian people to advocate for a free Iran. She further explained that the US must prioritize human rights in its Iran policy.
US Senator Thom Tillis said: “The new president of Iran has been involved in interrogation, murder, torture, and issuing death sentences for democratic activists and opponents for years. Sanctions should not be lifted and negotiations with state sponsors of terror should always be avoided. My colleagues and I in Congress support your calls for a free and democratic republic in Iran.”
US Senator John Cornyn said that the US stands in solidarity with Iranians in their call for freedom and expressed his support for an “effective and bipartisan approach” to the nuclear Iran threat.
Hakeem Jeffries, who is Chair of the House of Representatives Democratic Caucus, then spoke about how the regime “brutalizes its citizens and exports terrorism” worldwide, so he applauded the Resistance for its determination to ensure “a free, secular and non-nuclear Iran”.
Of the recent election, Patrick J. Kennedy, former House of Representatives member, said: “Electing a mass murderer like Raisi shows that Khamenei and his mullahs have given up any facade of moderation. There’s no excuse anymore for denying the truth. We can’t be in denial for what the mullahs’ regime represents.”
Pandeli Majko, former Albanian Prime Minister, expressed his concerns over “human rights violations” in Iran, especially now that Raisi as president, and said that he stood with the Iranian people.
Then, Lulzim Basha, Chair of Albania’s Democratic Party, expressed support for the Iranian people’s fight for freedom and Rajavi’s efforts to create a free, secular, and democratic country.
He said: “The recurring acts of unprovoked aggression and violence by the Iranian government against its own people, against its neighbors, and the global community of nations have hurt countless Iranians and other people in the region and around the world… We stand firmly against the Iranian regime’s illegal and terrorist practices on our soil and its structured enterprise to export fundamentalism to Albania.”
French Foreign Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie also thanked Rajavi for fighting for freedom and democracy in Iran, saying that the Iranian people “should be able to choose their own destiny”.
Former British Trade Minister Liam Fox said: “We have to deal with a dangerous, draconian, destabilizing regime which suppresses its own people and exports fanaticism and instability to its own region and beyond.”
He explained that the regime oppresses the Iranian people, exports violence, provokes conflict, and poses a nuclear threat to Israel, so the world must stop appeasing it.
Giulio Terzi, former Foreign Minister of Italy, said that the West must take heed of the regime’s appointment of Raisi, most known for “heinous and bloody repressions against any opposition”, and that if politicians continue to meet with Iranian leaders, they should remember the Iranian people’s “extreme suffering”.
He further called for a new Euro-Atlantic front to confront the threat from Iran and that the West should look to the Resistance’s strength and steadfastness.
The next speaker was human rights advocate Martin Luther King III, who is the son of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King said that he was concerned about human rights and freedom in Iran, quoting his father’s famous saying “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.
He said: “I wholeheartedly support legislation in the United States Congress to promote freedom and human rights in Iran. House Resolution 118, which expresses the Iranian people’s desire for a democratic, secular and non-nuclear republic of Iran also condemns violations of human rights and state-sponsored terrorism by the Iranian government.”
Congressman Joe Wilson, a co-sponsor of House Resolution 118, said that the mullahs “rely on terrorism against the [Iranian people and] the international community”.
Congressman Brad Sherman, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said: “The Iranian people are forced to live under an autocratic and corrupt regime that targets its own people, and is the chief state sponsor of terrorism internationally from Syria to Lebanon, Gaza, Europe, South America, and across the globe.”
He stressed that the world should not forget about the regime’s crimes and that the Iranian people are working towards “a new chapter in that great nation’s history”.
Congressman Tom McClintock, who serves on the House Judiciary Committee, said that the regime must be held to account before it inflicts more violence on the people, especially the members of the Resistance who have consistently exposed the crimes of the regime, including its nuclear weapons programs
He said: “Although the Iranian regime has become more oppressive and extreme, the international resistance to them has become stronger and more resolute. The more the story of Iran is told of its proud ancient heritage of freedom and civilization, and its current curse of despotism and terror, the more the world has rallied to its cause.”
Congresswoman Judy Chu said that the Summit sends a “powerful statement” to the mullahs that their repression is unacceptable, especially now that Raisi, “one of Iran’s most brutal killers”, is president.
Former US Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said that the Resistance’s “perseverance will never ever be silenced”. She then thanked Rajavi and the Resistance for sending a message to the regime through the election boycott last month that the people are “fed up with the broken promises, the economic incompetence, the systemic corruption, the disrespect for human rights, and the misogynistic treatment of the women of Iran”.
The Summit will continue through Sunday and Monday.