by Mahmoud Hakamian
As reports on social upheaval, labored progress, fundamentalist violence, and government retribution against Iranians at home, appear on headlines, Iranian diaspora and supporters of Iran opposition hastily preparing for June 13th gathering in Paris. Iranians and supporters of the Iranian resistance from around the world will gather along with some 1,000 political figures, activists, and religious leaders in Paris for the Conference for Democratic Change in Iran.
The conference addresses key issues facing Iran and the Middle East, including the state of human rights, the Iranian nuclear talks, the threat of Islamic fundamentalism, and the internment of MEK members at Camp Liberty. Speakers from around the world will outline these issues and explore possible institutional and organizational solutions.
The conference organized by multiple humanitarian and rights activists’ associations and non-profit organizations titled, “Regime Change in Iran, We Can & We Must”, highlights both the need and the capacity for change in the country right now. Already, the crimes committed by President Hassan Rouhani and his fundamentalist regime are being challenged by an incipient global push to create a free, democratic, non-nuclear Iran. If the past year is any indicator, the next twelve months should prove to be watershed year for Iran.
This past October, thousands of people protesting acid attacks on Iranian women created a global media frenzy and incited the outrage of the international community. In May, after more than one hundred people were killed in politically motivated executions in April, UN experts called upon Iran to end the death penalty once and for all. Increased destabilization in the Middle East and the rise of ISIS have also prompted a concerted international effort to bring an end to the Islamic fundamentalism that plagues countries like Iran.
Change is coming to Iran. Populist uprisings, nuclear negotiations, and increased attention from the UN and the international community have set the stage for a dramatic shift in the country. But the current regime will not loosen their grip on Iran willingly. “The regime is trying to destroy every aspect of the democratic process in the region,” states President-elect of the Iranian Resistance Maryam Rajavi.
On June 13th, Iranian communities are gathering in Paris to stand up to the religious dictatorship that has a hold on their country, and to call on Western nations to develop policies to address the rapidly changing dynamics within the region. The conference promises to lay bare the issues facing Iran and to galvanize the international community to expand its efforts to support a democratic, non-fundamentalist, and non-nuclear Iran as the only peaceful solution to the ever growing problem of Islamic extremism. Those already planning to attend the event encourage all those concerned with these issues to attend or to watch the event live on the thirteenth.
Mahmoud Hakamian is member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)