The third and last day of the “Free Iran World Summit” was held today, with this section of the conference entitled “End Iran’s Regime Systematic Human Rights Violations”. All participants in the Summit, organized annually by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), promised to increase their efforts to help the Iranian people to overthrow the brutal and theocratic regime that crushes them.
The main topics of discussion at the conference were:
- systematic human rights abuses by the regime
- the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners
- the immediate need to bring senior regime figures, especially Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, President Ebrahim Raisi, and Judiciary Chief Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje’I, to justice for the above topics
The first speaker was NCRI President Maryam Rajavi, who explained that Raisi is “the henchman of the 1988 massacre” and his appointment as president indicates that the regime is about to collapse under the weight of the people’s protests. She advised that this showed, once and for all, that there are no moderates in the regime and that appeasement with the “genocidal regime” has not worked.
She said: “As far as the international community is concerned, this is a test of whether it will engage and deal with this or whether it will stand with the Iranian people. We say to the world community, especially to Western governments, that Mullah Raisi is a criminal guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity in 1988. He is guilty because as one of the regime’s highest Judiciary officials during the last 40 years, he played a decisive role in the execution and murder of the Iranian people’s children.”
Rajavi noted that as Raisi has reported being proud of his crimes, it indicates that he will only continue his crimes and that they may get worse as his position in the regime rises. (He’s believed to be the next in line for Supreme Leader.)
She said: “On behalf of the Iranian people and their Resistance, I emphasize that the United Nations and the international community should recognize the 1988 massacre in Iran as genocide and a crime against humanity. I call on the UN Security Council to take action to hold the leaders of the mullahs’ regime, especially Ali Khamenei, Raisi, and Ejeii, accountable for committing genocide and crimes against humanity. The United Nations must not allow Raisi to participate in the next session of the General Assembly. This would be an unforgivable insult to the peoples of all countries who send their representatives to the United Nations.”
Following Rajavi is a long-time supporter of the NCRI and former Colombian Senator Ingrid Betancourt, who doubled down on cracking the myth of moderation in the regime, explaining that all mullahs are “part of this blood-thirsty monster” no matter what they say.
However, Betancourt vowed that the regime isn’t going to survive and that is because of the hard work of Rajavi and the rest of the Resistance, whom Betancourt praised for their consistent effort to free Iran.
She said: “It is because young Iranians know this that they are following you. It is because there is the face of a woman that has suffered and doesn’t give up that represents the strength and the good in sheer contrast to the evil faces of the mullahs that Iranians are envisioning today the end of their nightmare.”
Another friend of the NCRI, who has spent years advocating for them, is former US Senator Robert Torricelli, who spoke about the massacre, which he described as a “war on [the regime’s] own people”, and advised that any mullah who protested the crime against humanity – no matter how small the rebuke – was removed from power. This is a reference to the then-second-in-command who privately criticized the Death Commissions and was removed from power and put under house arrest.
He said: “We may have our differences on many issues in America, but when it comes to ending this regime and standing alongside the Iranian people, you cannot get a thin piece of paper between us on our resolve. It builds by the year. One voice, one policy, from one country.”
Torricelli called on the rest of the world to “take a stand”, saying that if the United Nation welcomed Raisi at the next General Assembly, “then the United Nations does not belong in New York”, because how could the Land of the Free host “terrorists, despots, and mass murderers”?
Former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi then insisted that the global community, especially the European Union, must stop appeasing the regime and start supporting the people and Resistance if they want to continue claiming that they value freedom
Fredrik Reinfeldt, the former Prime Minister of Sweden, explained that some 100,000 Iranian ex-pats now live in Sweden because they’d fled the regime, but highlighted that the majority able to get out of Iran are the academics, the highly-skilled, and the creatives, who can get hired elsewhere. He said that this had contributed to the country’s collapse, which is the direct result of the regime’s suppression.
He said: “The autocrats, the people with absolute power, are always afraid of their own population. They are always controlling their own people because that is the kind of paranoia that always evolves in this kind of country. We also see that where there is absolute power, we have seen that they want to show themselves as being more democratic.”
Reinfeldt then called on the rest of the world to stand up and support the Resistance in order to bring democratic elections to the country because “no one should have absolute power”.
The former Prime Minister of Ireland, Enda Kenny, then urged the UN and European Council to do more to confront the regime on human rights at every opportunity, citing gross abuses like floggings, disappearances, and executions.
Another former Italian Prime Minister and Director of the International Monetary Fund Carlo Cottarelli said: “Iran’s poor economic performance points at mistakes in domestic policies, lack of economic reform, and severe shortcomings in the economic governance framework. Over the last decades in the post-revolution era, the Iranian economy suffered from severe economic mismanagement, which added to the economic consequences of the political mismanagement.”
Then, former Belgium Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt explained that the regime will never transform into a democracy, no matter how much the West harps on about “hardliners and moderates”, which he described as a “hoax”.
He spoke about the “farce” elections that made Raisi president last month, advising that Raisi would not accept any of the needed reforms inside Iran, like nuclear inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal, because he hates democratic values and is under US sanctions for the killing of political prisoners.
Verhofstadt said: “I believe we should strive to revive the deal but not at any cost. I think it would be a fatal mistake to only focus on the nuclear threat and regard human rights violations as a secondary issue. We must pursue a dual strategy in which we put human rights higher on the agenda while trying to establish a safer environment in the Middle East.”
The next speaker was former Romanian Prime Minister Petre Roman said that the Iranian people and their Resistance give the world hope “for a peaceful and prosperous Iran”, especially now that the new Iranian president is someone known for “perpetrating crimes against humanity”. Roman called for UN investigations into these atrocities to support the people’s fight for freedom.
Then, it was time to turn to the live videos from Resistance members in Iran, who risked their lives to send out these messages because of the regime’s violent crackdowns on dissent.
One speaker from Ahvaz explained the problems that the people are facing because of the regime, including a lack of drinking water despite living near one of the biggest rivers in the country, while a caller from Tehran shared their hopes that next year Rajavi will make her address from Tehran’s Freedom Square.
Another speaker said: “During the past 40 years, the Iranian people have endured great pain and agony, and they are subject to brutal oppression by the rule of despotic models who have tried to silence our voices… your struggle is for their liberty and equality in a free Iran, and it has given us hope.”
Former US Senator Joe Lieberman then spoke about regime change as the only solution to the crisis in Iran, as everything else has failed and it’s “obvious” that the regime won’t change and the people of Iran, with help from the rest of the world, must change it.
He said: “I have never been more optimistic, my friends, that the regime in Iran is rotting at its core and is ready to fall. In August of this year, instead of entering the presidential office in Tehran, Ebrahim Raisi should be led to the docket at the International Criminal Court in The Hague and charged with crimes against humanity.”
Lieberman spoke about the fact that the regime has long tried to smear the “competent and capable” Resistance, which has always sought to reveal the regime’s crimes (i.e., nuclear weapons and terrorist actions).
He said: “How can world leaders, including America’s leaders, rationally negotiate with the regime that has killed thousands of American citizens and citizens of our allies and citizens, of course, of Iran itself? How could we negotiate with a nation that has constantly proven itself incapable of keeping its diplomatic promises, and how could we now possibly negotiate with a regime that has handpicked as its next president a mass murderer?”
Lieberman noted, as many others did, that Raisi’s presidency smashes the moderation myth, which is something that the Resistance and the people have been loudly saying is not true for many years now as they called for regime change.
He said: “Each of us who live outside Iran must now decide and plan what will we do to support the Iranian Resistance as it rises up in revolution. Here in America, we should work to convince the Biden administration that its own policies and values, which the President has said are to put human rights and democracy promotion at the heart of our foreign policy once again, must lead the administration to stop trying to negotiate with the evil government in Tehran and start supporting the people of Iran who want to overthrow it.”
Then, Robert Joseph, the former US undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, explained that the regime is now increasingly desperate in the face of increased calls for regime change.
He said: “The people of Iran are rising up. They have simply had enough. They have seen their beloved country become a prison to those on the inside and a pariah to those on the outside. The selection of Raisi as president is a reflection of the moral bankruptcy of the mullahs. Raisi is a documented mass murderer.”
Joseph called on the world not to do anything to extend the regime’s time in power as they would go down as “pure evil” in the history books. He said that the international community must support human rights, rather than repeat the mistake of negotiating with the regime as in 2015.
He said: “It is a common but false argument that stopping the regime from acquiring a nuclear weapon by re-joining the JCPOA must be the first priority. In fact, the resources that would flow to the regime would prolong the regime. It would prolong the repression of the Iranian people and it would also prolong the nuclear threat itself.”
Joseph further advised that there’s no point agreeing to a deal with the regime as they’ve reneged on every agreement they’ve ever made.
Former FBI Director Louis Freeh then spoke about how Raisi is “a documented suspect in war crimes”, as well as crimes against humanity. He called for the legal community and heads of states to push for the mullahs to be held to account for this.
He said: “Our government should keep [the regime’s criminal record] in mind as it tries to renegotiate a new pact [with the regime]. We will keep in mind this perspective which is a long view but a critical accountability issue that has to be addressed, and we will have the means and the will to do it and it will be the final act of justice against the regime that has abandoned any notion of justice.”
Then, former US National Security Advisor John Bolton, a long-time Resistance supporter, explained that it was obvious that Raisi would be the next president because the need to suppress protests was more important than the façade of a moderate wing in the regime.
He said: “I fear even an increase in internal repression since the people of Iran, and a continuation and even increase in belligerence internationally, in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. The real objectives of the regime in Tehran are not peace and security in the region. It is hegemony.”
Bolton explained that concessions towards the regime won’t improve the situation as they’re seen as a “sign of [the West’s] weakness”, which is why he said the US should not re-enter the nuclear deal.
He said: “The United States should not lift its economic sanctions. They should continue in place and we should aid the people of Iran who are legitimate opponents of the regime who seek nothing more than freedom and the opportunity to pick their own government. Our declared policy and its declared objective should be to overthrow the regime of the mullahs and replace it with a popularly elected government of the Iranian people.”
Then, it was the turn of several former political prisoners to describe the horrific conditions inside Iran’s prisons, especially focused on the 1988 massacre and Raisi’s role.
Matin Karim, who was just 15 at the time, described her first-hand experience of how Raisi treated political prisoners, which included torture and mock executions. While Saleh Kohandel, who spent 12 years in prison for supporting the Resistance, explained that he knew several people executed and advised that political prisoners were tortured and denied medical treatment.
Majed Karim described Raisi’s actions in Karaj prison, particularly those against students involved in the Resistance movement, describing the torture and execution of his friends on Raisi’s orders. Mohammad Farmani, who was arrested in 1981, further described how Raisi was involved in his arrest and the issuing of fake charges against him, as well as having to watch several executions.
The first two days of the Summit were the largest online event echoing the Iranian people’s call for regime overthrow and the establishment of a democracy in Iran. It connected 50,000 locations and featured over 1,000 politicians plus many more Resistance activists.